Asakusa

Ambiance

A snug little gem right by Mornington Crescent station, I wouldn’t have noticed it if I were just walking by. Despite looking crowded inside, the restaurant actually seats quite a few as there is also a basement. Felt authentic the moment you walk in because most of the staff are Japanese. I would definitely recommend making sure your order is correct, as the server we had one time mistook karaage for croquette – and it was our fault for not paying attention – but it just dampened the experience a little when we couldn’t exchange it for what we really wanted.

Drinks

You can expect the usual Japanese offerings, plum wine, sake, beer. I really needed the beer one day after work to take the edge off, but the food is so good that as a general rule I’d rather be able to taste all the flavours than the drunkenly slurring through it.

Value

The pricing is very fair, I would say it’s great value for the authenticity and quality you’re getting (in London, anyway). The boyfriend and I have ordered appetiser-sized dishes (£2 – £6) in combination with a couple of larger dishes (£9 – £15) and always a few pieces of nigiri (£2.50/piece). The nigiri sounds expensive but it’s as fresh as what we’re used to in Vancouver, and all the smaller appetisers are very fair for the intricacy of little flavours. Considering takeaway items from itsu and wasabi cost almost just as much, given the opportunity I would always rather spend my money at Asakusa.

Food

It was all so good, the dishes were the right proportions for the flavours. I’m like a kid in a candy shop when I go because the menu is extensive enough for you to order new items every visit.

At the top of my recommendations list so far are:

  • stewed pork belly
  • hamachi kama (grilled hamachi cheeks)
  • grilled quail eggs
  • ochazuke
  • your choice of nigiri (I like tuna, and when I’m feeling fancy, toro)

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