Our fave Japanese joints in town
Jugemu is located on Winnett Street in Soho and if you weren’t looking for it you’d walk right by without noticing. It’s tiny, with just a few stools around the counter and a couple of tables and the day’s sushi menu is scrawled on oblong bits of paper and hung up over one wall. You order via tick box menus and we really rate the prawn dumplings, the takiyoki – chunks of octopus fried in balls of batter – the duck teriyaki, and the eel omelette, and that's before you've even got onto the sushi.
3 Winnett Street, Soho London W1D 6JY -
Piccadilly Circus Leicester Square
Tokimeite is a high end joint from renowned chef Yoshihiro Murata, who holds seven Michelin stars across his three restaurants in Japan, and with wagyu beef tartare, soft shell crab sushi rolls and premium sashimi, it's one to save for a special occasion, or for when you're just feeling particularly flash.
23 Conduit St, London W1S 2XS, United Kingdom -
Jason Atherton does Japanese. Sosharu is an izakaya-style Japanese restaurant that covers a range of specialities such as temaki, hibachi grill, yaki grill and tempura. Stand-outs are the sea bream sashimi with shichimi and crispy potato, and the taco-like Temaki, crispy shells filled with tuna tartare and topped with a very addictive spicy mayonnaise. Finish it all off with the very instagrammable matcha mille crepe with matcha ice cream.
64 Turnmill Street, London EC1M 5RR, United Kingdom -
As well as serving authentic Japanese washoku (that’s cooking to you and us) Sakagura also boasts one of the largest selections of sake and Japanese whisky we’ve seen in the city. The menu has a good spread of dishes, including a tuna tartare served in a traditional fisherman’s tray – a true work of art - yellowtail sushi, short rib katsu curry, and charcoaled blackened lobster with moshio brown sea salt. If you're new to sake, the sake tasting menu is a great way to learn about the different styles.
8 Heddon Street, London W1B 4BU, United Kingdom -
At lunchtime, Yuzu has a conveyor belt system so city workers can grab a quick lunch but at night the belt is covered up with heavy wooden boards and the menu expands to offer a full dinner experience. There’s some of the best sushi in London here, rom tuna nigiri to salmon & avo tobiko and yellowtail sashimi with ponzu jelly. Then there’s the small plates: fresh prawn gyoza; black cod with miso sauce; and pork belly with miso aubergine. Desserts are no less impressive and we love the lemongrass creme brûlée topped with raspberry coulis and the bonsai-tree shaped chocolate with pear.
7a Artillery Passage, London, E1 7LG -
Liverpool Street Liverpool Street Liverpool Street
Jidori is inspired by yakitori joints across Tokyo, and it's simple but bloody good. The small plates section includes crack-like addictive Koji fried chicken with nori salt and lemon, crab and corn croquettes and katsu scotch eggs and we loved the tskune minced chicken yakitori. Swing by at brunch time for a monster chicken katsu bun, dirty rice and bacon okonomiyaki.
89 Kingsland High Street, London E8 2PB, United Kingdom -
Black Roe Poke Bar & Grill has a menu inspired not only by Hawaii – the home of poke – but also by Japan and Southeast Asia. The menu is divided into three parts and as they’re all small sharing plates you can order a good amount from each without overdoing it. From the poke, go for the super fresh and zesty marinated chopped ahi tuna and yellowtail; from the appetisers, the confit duck leg salad with rocket, pine nuts, pomegranate, diced pineapple is a must; and from the mains the Cajun-style blackened seabass is a definite winner. Take our advice and grab the table in front of the open kitchen right by the window as you walk in – that's where the action's at.
4 Mill St, London W1S 2AX, UK -
Located just a stone’s throw from Oxford Street Kiri makes for a very cosy post-shopping stop off, where you can hunker down with some Japanese sharing dishes, beers and sake. Top picks are the thinly sliced octopus with ponzu cress salad; apple-smoked yellow fin tuna tataki; diver caught seared scallops with ponzu salsa; and the pork belly hirat
22-23 Woodstock Street, London W1C 2AR, United Kingdom -
Cubé does things a little differently, with a mix of very traditional Japanese dishes plus some European influences – the bulk of the menu is arranged into Hot and Cold tapas sections, with one dish mixing Udon noodles with black olive and truffle pesto for instance. The fatty tuna and eel sushi were two of our faves and defo go for the small cubes of pork belly, really soft and tender and seasoned with a great big whack of rosemary – we’d go back for this alone.
4 Blenheim Street, Mayfair, London W1S 1LB, United Kingdom -
Located on the Clerkenwell side of Old Street, Monohon serves just six types of ramen, including three soup-less ones, one of which is served chilled. The Spicy Tonkotsu - creamy pork bone broth with thin noodles, bean sprouts, spring onions, slow cooked pork belly and spicy miso pork mince - is a winner and you can customise it to your liking, choosing level of spice, how hard you want your noodles and how big you want the bowl to be. Slurping = essential.
102 Old St, London EC1V 9AY, United Kingdom -
Old Street Old Street
It's very Japanese at Ginza Onodera with some private sushi rooms hidden behind wooden sliding doors and a big open kitchen with counter seats and a robata grill on display. The menu also leaves you spoilt for choice; we love the tempura, melt in the mouth Japanese beef, chicken yakitori, and a lightly seared slab of fatty tuna cooked on the robata.
15 Bury Street, St. James's, London SW1Y 6AL, United Kingdom -
Machiya is run by the same people behind Kanada-Ya although there’s not a bowl of ramen in sight. Order the tsukune, grilled chicken skewers, to snack on before you get stuck into their grilled eel, which is one of the best in London, and their huge tonkatsu. Add a glass of Dassai sake and you are good to go.
5 Panton Street Soho London SW1Y 4DL -
Sushi is very much the focus here – the clue’s in the name – with the most of the action centred around the long wooden sushi bar on the ground floor where you can see the chefs slicing, blowtorching and plating the fresh fish. The modern flavour combos like BBQ tuna with parmesan, razor clam ceviche with ginger and whisky jelly, and butterfish with a thin sliver of foie gras on each slice is what sets this place apart.
114 Great Portland St, Fitzrovia, London W1W 6PA, United Kingdom -
Hot Stone Sushi Bar on Chapel Market specialises in meat and fish dishes that you cook at your table on – yes, you guessed it – a hot stone. There’s also a good selection of sushi, sashimi, maki rolls and snacks as well as a bibimbap section. The restaurant is owned by two very friendly brothers; Padam the head chef is Japanese and trained in Japan before doing the rounds at London’s best sushi restaurants, so it’s safe to say he knows his stuff. With counter dining and a good sake list- with the option of a tasting flight – Hot Stone Sushi Bar has all the ingredients for a great little Japanese dining jaunt.
9 Chapel Market, London, UK -
Angel King's Cross