Food and the city..the hags are here to eat and then tell you about it!

Sunday, May 01, 2005

ASAKUSA

265 Eversholt Street. London. NW1
Nearest Tube: Mornington Cresent
Telephone: 020 7388 8533
Opening Hours: 6 to 11:30pm (Mon – Fri)
6 to 11pm (Sat)

Shop frontInside - downstairs

We love going to this place. I don’t know why we left 3 months since our last dining experience there, but somehow, that just makes it taste even better. The problem is partly because of their short opening hours, making a reservation at the times you want even harder. Nervertheless, we scored a booking for 9:30pm on a Saturday night.
Inside
This is one of those Japanese places frequently visited by their own kind. Although on this particular night, there seemed to be a whitey invasion…goddamit…now they know too! There are two floors to this charming cosy place. Menus (Japanese writing only) line the walls as well as Japanese posters advertising beers and sake. The place oozes ambience. Walls

Grand Master Wee was in charge of the proceedings. As usual, far back in the eons of time, he introduced us to this culinary find. Thank you Wee…we are truly grateful for your expertise (and I pay you back by slobbering all over your car window! What was that about?)

Experience has taught us that it is far better to order many small dishes rather than ordering just a few starters and a main each. The mains are good, don’t get me wrong…but they are extremely filling.

The Agedashi Dofu (£2.90) came first. This is deep fried tofu wallowing in a sweet soy sauce nectar. This is gorgeous and divine. Silky smooth tofu…need I say more.

Agedashi Dofu
My favourite came next, Nasu Dengaku (£3.30). This is deep fried aubergine with soy bean paste. An explosion of flavours here – salty with the sweet. Eat the skin of the aubergine too – you must leave nothing to waste.
Nasu Dengaku

Tori Karaage (£4.50) is deep fried chicken skin on skewers. For the narrow-minded, I know what you’re thinking. I think I’m quite narrow-minded when it comes to alternative parts of animals. But after you get over the small chicken feathers (you can hardly notice them), you can appreciate why it’s finger lickin’ good. It’s rather like eating the crunchy skin of a KFC chicken. You have to sprinkle Japanese chilli flakes to fully appreciate this dish.
Tori Karaage
Yasai Tempura (£4.30) was an assortment of large prawns and vegetables delicately battered in tempura with its dipping sauce. They do it very well here.
Yasai Tempura
An assortment of sashimi landed. A myriad of raw fish– tuna, salmon, mackerel and swordfish. Not as fatty and as generous as the sashimi of Cho San. But still managed to hit the G-spot with us.
Sashimi platter

Sashimi Moriawasse (£8.50) is gorgeous. A cold dish of vegetable and raw salmon and swordfish tossed in their own special sauce. A wonderful refreshing dish, all the more so when chased with a gush of Japanese beer (Sapporo, Asahi, Kirin - take your pick)
Sashimi Moriawasse

Sake Teriyaki (£4.80) is a must-try. It is a salmon head baked in salt. By the time we finished with it, it looked like an autopsy specimen. It was that tasty. I love picking at fish, trying to find that hidden area which no one else has discovered yet. Then to taste that succulent flesh…what a rewarding treasure hunt.
Sake Teriyaki
Salmon handrolls are raw salmon packed with rice into a seaweed cone. Always good. By the time we finished this, we were contemplating ordering more, to really satisfy our satiety. But then, two dishes came which really got us rolling around in blissful fullness.
Salmon Handrolls
The Unagi Nigiri (£4.00) must be tried – honestly. They were very cute to look at, like presents, all attractively presented on the plate, with a ribbon of seaweed tied around each. To eat….ohhhhhh….wow….very sweet, tender. It seems to automatically make your eyes roll back in ectasy.
Unagi Nigiri
The Salmon Onigiri are massive triangle of rice wrapped partially with seaweed. Inside is cooked salmon. Not much salmon, but if you aren’t a fan of raw fish, and want a filler…look no further. This is the dish that broke the proverbial camel’s back. Looking around the table, my diners had a glazed look with their lips partly open. They were short of breath from their bulging gastric contents impinging on their diaphragms. A truly magnificent meal.
Salmon Onigiri
Prince consort, always determined to break the barriers of his own gastric capacity, ordered yet another dish. Kitsune Udon with bean curd. I had a little bit of the soup and udon. Extremely flavoursome dish I’m sure. Hard to tell though when you’re at peak capacity, threatening to over-spill.
Kitsune Udon with bean curd
Grand Master Wee and his lovely (very tolerant, kind and patient – to whom I would like to publicly apologise to) partner ordered cold soba noodles. This was again very attractively presented and I was told, very very good.
Cold Soba noodles with tempura
The Other Hag and myself are great believers of the Gastric Compartment theory. Basically, this means our stomach is divided into three compartments – one for entrees, one for mains and one of desserts. So when Diarrrhoea Dent and our international correspondent Miss A. Wong (green tea icecream connoisseurs) decided to order the green tea ice-cream, we lept upon the gastronomic band wagon too. To come to think about it…so did the rest of the table. The ice cream was creamy with only a hint of ice particles. Very refreshing after a massive meal. Miss A Wong told me to quote her, but I can’t remember what she said now. Something to the effect of “georgeous”, “stupendous”….something like that. Oh….Diarrhoea Dent leaked (hehehehe) an important snippet of information for all you green tea affectionados out there – you can get a very good version at Waitrose.

All in all the damage came to £22 per person. There were eight of us in total and we had ordered a double of everything. Of course this included beer and other beverages. Not bad huh, for a slap-up authentic Japanese gastric fest.

Remnants of destruction

HRH

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6 Comments:

Anonymous TW said...

hmmm...just to let you know that we did not feel our usual morning growl from the stomach.. we were still full from that 9 course feast!! And only for 22 pounds...can't wait to go back!!

10:21 am

 
Anonymous PrinceConsort said...

i know what you mean tiger wee... skipped breakfast and lunch the next day!!!
back for more next weekend perhaps??

9:05 pm

 
Blogger Culinary Hag said...

Reading this review makes me crave for more Japanese food. I am craving me some Udon noodles for lunch....if only they had some japanese down this end of the world..

TOH

10:46 am

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well you can't get any where I work...sob sob

HRH

4:50 pm

 
Blogger hashley brown said...

This place is fantastic. I love it. It's the closest the i've found in London to the little izakaya I used to sit and get drunk in in Kobe. Mmm..

Have you tried:
Ryo Ramen - Brewer Street, Soho
Nara - D'Arblay Street, Soho (good and cheap ishiyaki bibimba lunch sets)
Arigato - Brewer Street, Soho (good japanese supermarket that does tasty o-bento)

6:21 pm

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My mouth is watering...5 minutes ago I just made a booking for when we head over to London at the weekend! Thank you for the photos and descriptions.

6:55 pm

 

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