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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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/

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Ippudo -Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong

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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.

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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.

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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

 

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.

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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

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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/

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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/

Koya – The Soho Udon Bar, London

I love a good noodle bar in the cold and wet London winter weather. The warmth of the restaurant with its steamy soup bowls is always a great tummy warmer.

So, Emma, Charlotte, Pam and I found ourselves in Koya this specific evening. It exactly how you would imagine a noodle bar in Japan with its planks of wooden menus covering the walls.

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Now, I am usually a Ramen girl but Koya is a specialist Udon bar. Ramen is a thin and curly egg noodle, which I absolutely adore as I feel that it really absorbs the flavours of the soup. Udon, on the other hand, is a thick rice noodle, which I very rarely eat, but if you are going out to eat Udon, then Koya is definitely the place to go.

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We started off the evening with a bowl of duck offal (£8.90) and a plate of tempura squid balls (£8.90). Adventurous!

The offal was actually very nice – a mixture of chestnuts, liver and gizzard in a thick sweet soy sauce. Not to everyone’s taste, but if you enjoy top to tail eating it is lovely, if not, the menu is quite big and there is lots of other things to choose from.

The tempura squid balls were different than I thought they would be – they were better. They were mixed with spring onion with a light batter that stayed slightly crisp even after dipped in the sauce.

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Then we dug into the Udon – a Kamo (£13.30) and a Butajiru (£11.80).

The Kamu is Udon served in a hot chicken broth with sliced duck breast and duck meat balls. Meat balls in soup can turn out quite dry but all the duck in the soup was cooked perfectly – the breast still slightly pink just the way it should be.

The Butajiru is Udon served in a hot miso soup with pork and vegetables – also gorgeous. For me, a noodle soup is as much about the soup as the filling, and the soups were great.

We had some Tanuki (bits of tempura batter £0.60) to sprinkle into our Udon soups, which added a bit of extra texture.

I will still say I am very much a Ramen girl, but the dishes were great and its a cute little tummy warming bar. A must try.

http://www.koya.co.uk/