loti eats | ichibuns
Ichibuns, the Japanese ‘super diner’ bang in the middle of Chinatown, isn’t an easy one to miss thanks to its pumping soundtrack, open kitchen on the ground floor and Japanese posters and cartoons covering the walls. The place has been open just over a year but they’ve recently had a menu revamp, with chefs Brendan Fong (ex-Mr Wong) and Endo Kazutoshi (ex-Zuma) taking charge of the hot and cold dishes respectively.
It’s still fast food given a luxury twist (like wagyu beef in the burgers), with dishes inspired by the rockabilly culture that emerged in post-WW2 Japan, although the menu has been streamlined to bites, sushi, burgers and udon. Spicy tuna crispy rice, two rectangles of golden crunchy rice topped with an orange spicy tuna mix, was our fave from the small plates although the prawn and chive gyoza were great too.
The sushi is all classic with just the slightest of twists; the prawn tempura maki rolls came with red pepper and unagi sauce, and the salmon and avo rolls had a wasabi mayo for dipping rather than wasabi paste. Though the udon did look good we went down the burger route, trying out the spicy chicken karaage bun and it ticked all the boxes; the crunch you’d expect from great fried chicken and the appropriate amount of sloppiness you want from a proper burger.
Though the menu is concise, there’s still enough choice to please everyone, especially if you’ve got people craving different things. Both the burgers and the sushi were equally well done, which is no mean feat. And Ichibuns has also removed all single-use packaging from the restaurant in an effort to be even more sustainable, and we do like that.
22 Wardour Street, London, W1D 6QH
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