Sen Nin – Upper Street, Islington, London

We decided to treat ourselves to a teppanyaki dinner, which neither of us had tried properly before. Sen Nin were doing a weekday special feast menu which consisted of 4 courses for £30 per person. There was a Miso or Tom Yum soup to start, Japanese tapas next, then the Teppanyaki course and a finished off with a dessert.

We weren’t really sure what to expect – all I knew is that we booked the chef’s table so that we could watch him to the cooking in front of us.

It was a quiet Wednesday evening in the restaurant, which I guess was why they had a deal on during the week. There were a few tables of people in the restaurant, but we had the chef’s table to ourselves.

I ordered the Tom Yum soup and Jack ordered the Miso soup. They were served in little Japanese soup bowls and were nice but nothing to shout about.

IMG_2181

For our Japanese tapas dishes we chose the seafood option. There was a seabass ceviche, a tuna tartare and calamari. These were presented gorgeously on a long dish so I was very impressed when it came out. Taste-wise, again, they were all nice enough. The tuna was a little stringy and didn’t really melt in my mouth the way I thought it should, the ceviche and calamari were nice though.

IMG_2182

IMG_2183

IMG_2185

Next was the Teppanyaki and out came our Chef who explained it all to us! We had ordered the scallops and the fillet steak to share with some rice and vegetables.

He was great! This is what we had been waiting for! He chatted and joked with us the whole time that he was cooking. And he wasn’t JUST cooking, he was doing tricks with all the food! At one point he let Jack get up and try out a trick as well.

It was great entertainment for the evening. He didn’t go wild and make a massive flame on the stove but he was fun nevertheless.

IMG_2194

IMG_2198

The scallops and steak with the fried rice and the vegetable stir fry on the side were the best part of the meal by far. Nice flavours but I think the entertainment of it being cooked in front of us definitely made us enjoy it more.

IMG_2203

For dessert we got a mixture of 3 mini dessert pots and a duo of red bean and matcha ice cream and shared them all. I love matcha ice cream so that was the best bit for me (matcha is a glorious time always!) – the rest was okay but I don’t think I would have missed out if I didn’t have them.

IMG_2204

I wouldn’t necessarily be running back for a weekday set menu – but perhaps would come again to see what the weekend is like for the chef’s table teppanyaki as that was definitely good fun.

 

http://www.sen-nin.com/

Advertisements

Ippudo -Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong

IMG-20160818-WA0038

IMG-20160818-WA0039

After some shopping around TST (Tsim Sha Tsui) in Hong Kong which is a great area for shopping, Jean and I were famished and came across a cute little Japanese ramen bar in one of the shopping malls.

We were seated by a lovely Japanese waitress and on the table in front of us were all the cute little trimmings including; a sesame seed grinder, a garlic crusher and two little salads.

IMG-20160818-WA0040

IMG-20160818-WA0042

We decided that all the starters sounded so delicious and we would just order loads of them and just share one bowl of ramen – which ended up being a good shout because we got to try a bit of everything.

We got the calamari, the fish roe stuffed chicken wings, the gyoza and a bowl of their spicy pork ramen. The calamari were perfectly cooked – still soft (not rubbery) and the batter was a light and flavourful dusting (not the thick tasteless batter that you can get sometimes). The wings were lovely and crisp on the outside and the gyoza were lovely too. The ramen was super spicy but tasty all the same.

IMG-20160818-WA0043

IMG-20160818-WA0041

The perfect no-frills-restaurant for a post-TST-shopping-spree-dinner.

http://www.ippudo.com.hk/en/

http://www.openrice.com/en/hongkong/r-ippudo-hk-tsim-sha-tsui-japanese-ramen-r52892

 

Tonkotsu – Southwark, London

Keeping to the ramen theme (and the recent wintery, cold and rainy weather in London) – Another great ramen place to go is Tonkotsu. They have a couple of restaurants in London now, including one in Hackney which has over 60 different brands of whiskeys to offer and one inside Selfridges in case you are hungry during a shopping spree.

We went to the one in Southwark. We went there late on the Thursday night and it had a really calm, chilled out vibe.

They make their own noodles from scratch and they make their own broths etc, but what they are famous for making are their own brand “Eat The Bits” Chilli Oil that they serve in their restaurants.

20160413_211436

We started the meal with pork gyozas and fried squid which were both delicious. The gyoza had a tasty and juicy middle and I loved that the squid was not thickly battered and was instead lightly coated.20160413_211442

20160413_211454

For main we shared a chilli chicken ramen which was absolutely perfect to warm our bellies for the cold evening. The chili oil was delicious to pour over it as well.20160413_212524

20160413_213854

Lovely meal and well priced.

http://www.tonkotsu.co.uk/

Bone Daddies – Soho, London

The last time I did a blog post about Bone Daddies was a while ago. So it is time to give an updated one (with much better photos compared to the ones taken on my old phone – thank you technology evolution).

Come rain, snow, icy wind and cold English weather – this is the place I crave.

Jack and I went recently. Hidden away in a small side street in Soho, it’s got a cool, casual, light rock-type vibe, but not too in your face and I think their food, their service and their atmosphere is fantastic for a modern, big city, ramen bar.

We got a starter of wild soft shell crab tempura £9.40. If you haven’t tried this and you are a fan of seafood – well then you are most definitely missing out. I wasn’t a massive fan of the ginger sauce on the side but I dipped them into soya sauce instead and they tasted absolutely stunning. The crunch of the tempura coating on the outside and the softness of the crab on the inside is a gorgeous contrast.

IMG-20160525-WA0008

IMG-20160525-WA0005

Then I got my Bone Daddies bib on ready for my ramen!IMG-20160525-WA0009

We got the Tonkotsu Ramen £11. Tonkotsu is a pork bone broth which is usually cooked for about 20 hours until the soup goes a milky white. Absolutely beautiful and it must have so much goodness in there.

Ramen is a particular type of Japanese wheat noodle that usually comes in a pork broth that has cooked for so long that it has become creamy and it is absolutely gorgeous. What makes a ramen dish exciting are all the little colourful parts of it – The spring onions, the meat that falls apart, the bamboo shoots that give a sweet crunch, the fresh beansprouts, the nori (seaweed) and those melt in your mouth, soya dipped, runny yolked eggs! ARGH GET IN MY MOUTH NOW! (Sorry I got a little carried away there).20150920_134959

IMG-20160525-WA0007

If you haven’t been to Bone Daddies yet – try and make it there for some gorgeous, feel-good, Japanese comfort food.

http://www.bonedaddies.com/peter-st-soho/

Sticks ‘n’ Sushi – Covent Garden, London

After a Psycle class (which if you haven’t tried, you must! It is brilliant! http://psyclelondon.com/), Eleena and I headed out for some dinner and a catch up at Sticks ‘n’ Sushi in Covent Garden.20150902_210339For our sticks we ordered the Bacon Wrapped Asparagus (£3.20 each), Mixed Yasai Vegetables in Teriyaki (£2.50 each), Chicken Wings (£5 for 2 pieces).

I definitely recommend the chicken wings. They were beautifully grilled with a slight sweet teriyaki sauce and so tender that they just fell off the bone.20150902_212051For our sushi we ordered the Mini Maki De Luxe £23 which was made up of 4 Hell’s Kitchen, 4 Ebi Panko, 4 Shake Aïoli, 4 Salmon Ceviche, soya sauce, wasabi and pickled ginger. There were a whole mixture of flavours on this platter of rolls.

The Hell’s Kitchen Roll is made up of Tempura shrimp, avocado, spicy sauce, topped with tuna & barbecue sauce. As you bite into it, you first taste the softness of the tuna partnered with the creamy spicy mayo, you then came across the crunchiness of the tempura ebi which is a lovely battered shrimp.

The Ebi Panko Roll is made up of Tempura shrimp, spicy sauce, topped with avocado, sesame & tsume soy. It again has the same textures as the Hell’s Kitchen but instead of tuna, you come across thinly sliced avocado which again is soft and melts in your mouth before you bite into the crunchy shrimp.

The Shake Aioli Roll is made up of Snow peas, avocado, cucumber, miso-aïoli, topped with seared salmon, sesame, tsume soy, chives & trout roe. The vegetarian middle of the sushi mixed with the ever-so-slightly seared salmon along with the rice created a lovely balanced mix and the salted flavours of the trout roe completed it.

The Salmon Ceviche Roll is made up of Red onion, cucumber, avocado, topped with salmon, coriander & lime marinade. It had the beautiful refreshing taste of a Peruvian Ceviche dish. The red onion was not obvious or overbearing, in fact, it wasn’t even noticeable and blended nicely with the rest of the ingredients. All the sushi we had was really good and I would definitely recommend this platter, but I think this roll was my favourite. 20150902_212059

 

20150902_215330We ordered the Dark Sweets dessert set which was made up of Black sesame ice cream with nougatine, Marcel chocolate cake with crystallised white chocolate, bergamot orange crème brûlée, dark fondant with chocolate caramel & peppermint heart topped with hazelnut brittle £10.

They didn’t have the sesame ice cream so they gave us coconut ice cream instead which was really refreshing and light and was my favourite dessert on the platter. The creme brulee was also very light and refreshing with a thin but crunchy top. The chocolate cake was quite dense and rich but because it was only small it was great and he fondant was like a thicker, creamier, after eight. Although it was a creamy dark chocolate – the mint lightened the flavour of the fondant mixture.

All in all, a great meal!

http://www.sticksnsushi.com/

Watami Casual Restaurant – Hong Kong

Jean and Chris recently moved to Hong Kong and when I went there to visit my family last Christmas, they took me to a lovely Japanese restaurant called Watami.

Chris had just come back from a trip around Japan and when they found this restaurant they realised how authentic the food is and reminded Chris of his Japan trip.

The menu is huge and everything looked amazing and I just wanted to try it all so we ordered quite a bit…

We had some Scallop Irodori Sushi ($28HKD), which were so fresh and naturally sweet.

20131223_124157

We had a Japanese style Thin Crust Pizza Topped with Pork and Teriyaki Chiken ($53HKD), which was light and crispy and finished with some Japanese mayo and spring onions over the top.

20131223_124349

Also a Pork Rice with Egg Yolk in Stone Bowl ($53HKD). The egg yolk was raw and when we mixed it all up with the rice and pork in the stone bowl it all cooked together. The pork was smothered in a tasty sweet sauce, which flavoured the white rice nicely.

20131223_124358

Assorted Tempura ($68HKD) is always a good time. Mixing the radish and wasabi with the sauce and dipping the crispy bits into it. Its always lovely. The key to a good tempura is the batter – it needs to be light and thin and crisp, which this was.

20131223_124507

The Kanai-Style Takoyaki ($43HKD) was delicious. I am a huge takoyaki fan. It was soft and creamy with a little piece of octopus inside and covered in a sweet brown sauce, Japanese mayo and fish flakes. DESLISH!

The Cesar Salad with Spring Egg and Bacon ($53HKD) was fresh and refreshing. The egg was poached and the yolk spilled all over the salad, which was something different from a normal Cesar.

And, of course, we had some Edemame Beans ($26HKD).

A great meal and a great catch up with old friends. If you are in Hong Kong I would definitely recommend to go check it out!

http://www.watami.com.hk/en/

Shoryu Ramen – The Battle of the Soho Ramen Bars, London

As the winter approaches and the grey, rainy, months that London is infamous for begin, where the sun stops shining and the birds stop singing – you can find sanctuary in the warmth of the new craze of the Ramen bars in Soho.

Ramen, Hirata Buns and Japanese Tapas seem to be what all the cool kids in Soho are eating these days. So, one rainy Friday evening Claire and I decided to try out Shoryu Ramen, just down one of the side streets off Shaftsbury Avenue in Soho, London.

They don’t take bookings but if you get early enough you will definitely get a table – but by 8pm a queue begins at the door. As you walk through the Japanese Noren door curtains, you’ll be greeted and taken to your table through the wonderful smells in the restaurant. The waiters/waitresses really know the food and are happy to help you decide what to order.

As it was still happy hour in the restaurant (£5.00 per cocktails during happy hour), we obviously had to have a cocktail to start off the evening – we had a Wasabi Martini, which was sweeter than I expected but delicious all the same. With an open kitchen, you can see your food being freshly made by the chefs – and the wonderful smells coming out of the pots and pans are mouth-watering.

Image

We wanted to try everything on the menu but ended up ordering the Pork Belly Hirata Buns (£4.00 for 1 or £6.00 for 2), Tempura Soft Shell Crab (£7.00), and for the mains I had a Tokyo Shoyru (£9.90) and Claire had a Tori Kara-Age Men (£10.90).

Image

Hirata Buns are the new talk of the town with their sweet, fluffy, yet sticky buns, shaped like pita bread and filled with either fish, pork, chicken, prawn or mushrooms. We ordered the bbq pork belly which had a lovely bbq sauce, cucumber, salad leaves, and a Japanese mayonnaise.

Image

Tempura Soft Shell Crab are an incredible invention. These soft shell crabs are dipped into a tempura batter (shells stay on) and it is deep fried and served with a sweet, sesame soy-sauce on the side to dip. Crunchy on the outside, soft and meaty and seaside flavours on the inside – you do not even notice the shell of the crab as it just blends with the batter.

Image

Tokyo Shoyu is made with the original thin Hosomen Noodles, which are the original Ramen egg noodle and have a great bite to them. Soaked in a soy and pork broth and then decorated with some bbq pork, nitamago (a delicious soft boiled egg seasoned with soya sauce – my favourite bit of the noodles), nori (a crispy seaweed), picked bamboo shoots, naruto fish cake (which have a completely different taste to the western fish cakes that are made with potatoes; instead these have a much bouncier and smoother texture to them and a much sweeter flavour), spring onions and bonito flakes (salty, fish flavoured flakes) sprinkled over for a finish. The broth was absolutely heart-warming – It tasted like miso soup, but with the flavours of the pork stock coming through. Ramen are an art form in Japan and these came looking absolutely stunning! On the table there is chili oil, sesame oil, fresh garlic and a garlic crusher, and other condiments to make the soup your own.

Image

Image

Claire ordered the gluten-free noodles with her Tori Kara-Age Men, which tasted very much like a softer Vietnamese pho noodle.  have to admit that this was not to my taste. I am more of a ramen girl. The broth is a miso soup made with shitake mushrooms and konbu soy and it is decorated with fried chicken (tori kara-age is a Japanese friend chicken), nitamago, kikurage (a jelly textured, black fungus mushroom), nori, kelp, mushrooms, spring onions and a naruto fish cake. It had a very earthy flavour to it and was also very tasty.

Image

Image

Exactly how I would imagine a little ramen bar in Japan to be like and we headed back out into the rain with very warm and happy bellies.

http://www.shoryuramen.com