Breakfast at Tiffany's ... I'd rather have dinner at Asakusa!
Asakusa on Eversholt Street is not a restaurant that you would notice as you walk pass (I only worked a 3 minute walk away!) but once you get yourself there, it is somewhere you would want to come back again and again. The understated exterior and décor of the restaurant may not look much but the food more than makes up for it. Don’t forget to book! – there was still a queue when we left at 10pm on a Wednesday night.
We had booked a week in advance and had been very much looking forward to trying as much on the menu as possible. Upon arrival at 7.45pm for an 8pm booking, the restaurant was getting full quickly and we were given our table and our menus which looked tired but this did not dampen our enthusiasm as we tried to decide on what to eat having ordered our tea which turned out to be what I think was toasted brown rice tea which smelled divine.
We ordered quite a few dishes to share between us as we noticed that compared to other Japanese restaurants that we have been to, the prices were very reasonable and at the lower-end of what we had expected. Between the two of us we ordered:
Mixed sashimi platter – consisted of salmon, tuna, mackerel and another fish that we did not recognise (£12.00)
Buta no kakuni – simmered pork belly (£6)
Black miso cod (£6.00)
Chicken hearts on skewers (£2 for 2)
Chicken skin on skewers (£2.50 for 2)
Grilled ox tongue on skewers (£2.50 for 2)
Chicken Karaage (£6) – the chicken came on the bone
Wafu Steak (£6.50)
If that sounded like a lot of food, it is because it was a lot of food. The whole meal was very enjoyable and though there have been many reviews commenting on the slow service, I found the pace to be perfect and it is a nice change to be in a restaurant where you are not rushed away for more customers! The food came endlessly for 90 minutes with one dish after the other and each one tasting as delicious as the one before but the winner of the night was definitely the black miso marinated cod and for £6, it was a bargain as it easily costs three times as much in other restaurants. The other stars was the sashimi platter which came out with generous thick slices of beautiful fish which melted in your mouth and the various skewers were yummy – the chicken hearts were gorgeous in the special sauce, the chicken skin was crunchy and more-ish and the ox tongue was flavoursome!
The chicken karaage was standard fare and it came on the bone which I wasn’t sure added much to it and by the time the wafu steak arrived right at the end, it was probably amazing as everyone says it is but because we were just so full, I think that we did not give it the justice it deserved – a major case where our eyes were definitely bigger than our stomachs.
The disappointment of the night was the buta no kuni (simmered pork belly) but not saying it wasn’t good as the pork was just so soft and the sauce was great with rice but it just did not quite meet expectations . We felt that the dab of mustard in the sauce detracted from it so maybe if you like mustard, you would like the dish more than we did but we both agreed that it wouldn’t be something that we would order again.
On top of that, we share a miso soup (the best miso soup I have EVER had!) and a bowl of white rice and I have to admit that I did not memorise the prices so the prices given above are approximate and the total bill for 2 that night was £56 including service which I’m sure you will agree, represents good value – especially for food of this standard.
As we did not try the tempura, agedashi tofu or nasu denku, I will definitely be returning as I did have severe food jealousy of the others that had ordered it!
If you like Japanese food then I definitely recommend that you try Asakusa as the food really does live up to the hype and it won’t burn a big hole in your pocket. As I mentioned before, remember to book because it is very cosy and all the food looks so good, you do not want to spend time queuing outside. Go with a hearty appetite and you will not be disappointed. It’s a real shame that they don’t open for lunch otherwise I may have discovered this hidden gem earlier.