Japanese Journey at London Restaurant Festival 2014

It is the London Restaurant Festival again and as always, there is so much to do. It gets better each year with more events and more restaurant deals. I was well delighted when we were invited to the Japanese Journey at London Restaurant Festival. It was the most delightful Saturday of eating and drinking through Japanese food and whisky.


Japanese Journey: How it Works?


If you are wondering how this works, you will receive a Japanese Journey passport once you've bought your ticket. There will be a list of six restaurants with a simple map provided in the passport so you can plan your journey accordingly. There is no schedule to the trail. It is pretty free and easy, as long as you complete it between 12pm-6pm.

All meals will be served with a choice of Suntory Yamazaki Distiller's Reserve Highball, or Suntory Hakushu Distiller's Reserve Highball. So yes, you will be having 6 long glasses of whisky and soda over ice throughout the Japanese Journey.

Below is the list of six participating Japanese restaurants for the trail that will give you a few different perspective of the Japanese cuisine. I definitely came across some that I will return to fairly soon.


TONKOTSU - SOHO

Twitter: @tonkotsulondon
63 Dean Street, London W1D 4QG

We started off with the first stop at Tonkotsu which we were served three different types of gyozas and a glass of Suntory Whisky each. Please also see my earlier post on Tonkotsu East for a full review.

Fresh, home-made gyoza dumplings, filled with pork, prawn or shiitake

  

SHORYU

Twitter: @shoryuramen
3 Denman Street, London W1D 7HA

Inside Shoryu

Here at Shoryu, we were given two choices, as shown below.

Wagyu Beef Hirata Bun

The white steamed bun was soft and fluffy, filled with thin slices of juicy and flavourful wagyu beef yakiniku (grilled meat) with shiso, daikon & shimeji.


For those of you unfamiliar with Japanese ingredients, wagyu beef is meat from Japanese cattle, known for its quality and intense fat marbling which is highly desired. Fat marbling in beef is important in providing flavour, moisture and tenderness. Although the hirata bun above looks plain, it delivers in flavour, and juicy tenderness.

- Shiso is a type of herb belonging to the mint family, widely used in Japanese cuisine.
- Daikon, also known as mooli is a white winter radish.
- Shimeji is a type of mushroom from East Asia.



Taster size Kotteri Tonkotsu

The Koterri Tonkotsu is the signature ramen of Shoryu. Kotteri ramen is characterised by its rich, thick, heavier and more oily soup. The thick and richer soup coats on the noodles when you slurp away. Simply delicious.


STICKS 'N' SUSHI

Twitter: @sticknsushi_UK
11 Henrietta Street, London WC2E 8PY

Sticks 'n' Sushi has a modern ambience suited to its location. They serve sushi and sticks (grilled yakitori sticks) with a unique concept combining Japanese and Danish cuisine, influenced by the half Japanese and half Danish roots of the founders. The food were beautifully plated as in the pictures of their very well presented menu. 



Sushi Plate: Salmon sashimi, Tempura shrimp with avocado, tuna and spicy sauce, Ebi panko roll of tempura shrimp avocado, sesame and tsume sauce; Monti Carlo rolls of avocado, cucumber, cray fish with miso aioli and trout roe.

Colourful, fresh and flavourful with multiple textures make the plate of sushi very interesting.

Sticks plate: Edamame with spicy miso sauce; chicken breast topped with chili dip, teriyaki and spring onion; Bacon wrapped asparagus



CHISOU

Twitter: @ChisouLondon
4 Princes Street, Mayfair, London W1B 2LE

Chisou is known for its traditional and authentic Japanese cuisine with an extensive list of sake where most of them are not available in the UK. The food is elegant, as you would expect from a detail oriented Japanese restaurant.

The entrance filled with many different types of sake

We had perfect seat at the sushi bar watching the chef at work

Spicy Hamachi Carpaccio - Kagoshima line caught yellow tail carpaccio win a spiced dressing

Such a delicate plate of carpaccio that was fresh and perfectly balanced. Sublime. 

Gyu tataki - thin slices of seared rare beef fillet with ponzu sauce and daikon



KUROBUTA

Twitter: @KurobutaLondon
17-20 Kendall Street, Marble Arch London W2 2AW


Kurobuta Sampler

The Kurobuta Sampler includes BBQ Pork belly buns with spicy peanut soy sauce, Jurusalem artichoke chopsticks with truffle ponzu, Smoked duck tataki with burnt ginger amazu, Nasu dengaku with caramelised walnuts, and Salmon nigiri with bernaise salsa. 

BBQ pork belly buns

We all agreed that the BBQ pork belly buns were fabulous. I suppose this is their signature dish since Kurobuta, the name of this restaurant means 'black pig' in Japanese. In Japan, kurobuta pork is the king in flavours and tenderness in the pork world. This bun has certainly lived up to its expectation.

KANADA-YA

Twitter: @kanadaya_LDN
64 St Giles High Street, London WC2H 8LE


It is a shame that the queue was too long when we arrived so we hopped on to other restaurants on the trail first. By the time we got on to the fifth one, we were all too full to carry on to Kanada-Ya to complete our trail. The owner was very kind to let us return with the passport to try their popular ramen another day. I shall update this post once I have been back to try their Original Ramen or Moyashi Ramen. I heard they have one of the most original Ramen in London.


More About Japanese Food


Since this is a Japanese Journey post, there are a few articles and links that I think is useful to expand your knowledge about Japanese food.

Ramen Glossary
Guide to Ramen Styles by Serious Eats


London Restaurant Festival 2014

8-27 October 2014
Twitter: @LRF_2014

Japanese Journey
Chicchetti Trail (Italian)
Tapas Tour
China Town Tour
More Events


Remember to checkout Hecticophilia and Wander to Wonder's write up for more about Japanese Journey. If you are more interested in the Italian Food trail, The Awkward Blog, Whatever Gets You through the Day and My Little Italian Kitchen has recently been on it so that's where to find out more.

P.S. : I am aiming to post reviews for both The Balcon and Winter Gardens that I have recently been to on the London Restaurant Festival in the next days so do remember to check back.
    
Enjoy the rest of the London Restaurant Festival!

*Thank you NuffnangUK for the complimentary ticket.

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