In Review

The best Japanese restaurants in London

The capital’s Japanese culinary scene is not to be missed

London’s Japanese food scene is thriving, and the delicacies on offer in 2019 go well beyond sushi rolls and ramen noodles. Here are some of the best places to get a true taste of Japan.

Umu - 14-16 Bruton Place, W1J 6LX

Chef Yoshinori Ishii mixes locally-sourced ingredients with classic Japanese dishes at his two Michelin-starred Mayfair hotspot. Trained for nine years at the legendary Kitcho in Kyoto, Ishii sources nearly all his fish from Cornwall and Scotland. Other produce, including native Japanese herbs and vegetables, is delivered fresh every day from an organic farm in Sussex. 

Engawa - 2 Ham Yard, W1D 7DT

Not only is Engawa one of the few menus in London to boast authentic Wagyu beef, it is the only UK restaurant to import the whole cow. Butchering in-house means diners have a range of cuts to choose from. Continuing the premium theme, the five or three-course omakase menu features the chef’s daily selection of fish, Wagyu and vegetable, with complementary wine pairings chosen by the in-house sommelier. 

The Araki - 12 New Burlington St, W1S 3BH

The only three-Michelin-starred Japanese restaurant in London, The Araki is a Mayfair must-visit. Chef Mitsuhiro Araki relocated his Tokyo sushi bar (also a triple Michelin earner) here in 2014, serving up traditional Edomae sushi - and that’s it.

Minimalism is the order of the day here as the restaurant only offers one fixed sushi menu. Until now, each piece has been created by Araki himself, but all good things must come to an end - the sushi master has moved back to Japan, passing his knives off to his deputy, British-Chinese chef Marty Lau. Michelin food experts will be reassessing the restaurant sometime before October, when Lau will be attempting to keep the coveted status.

Nobu - 19 Old Park Ln, Mayfair, W1K 1LB

If you have not yet made it to one of Nobu’s 38 restaurants, spanning five continents, you’ve at least seen a paparazzi shot of celebrities leaving one. However, when you sit down at London’s original location on Old Park Lane, you certainly don’t feel like you’re in a chain. The Japanese-Peruvian fusion menus are individually stylised for each location, and options on Old Park Lane include Yellowtail Sashimi with Jalapeno and Tea-Smoked Lamb Anticucho.

Tokimeite - 23 Conduit St, London W1S 2XS

Named after the Japanese word for butterflies in the stomach, Tokimeite marks Michelin-starred chef Yoshihiro Murata’s entry into the capital’s high-end Japanese cuisine scene. The inventive restaurant employs a range of traditional Japanese techniques for its hyper-seasonal menu. The spot is owned by Japan’s agricultural cooperative, Zen-Noh, which flies in the country’s best produce and rare seasonal delicacies, making the already unique dishes that extra bit special. 

Yashin Ocean House - 117-119 Old Brompton Rd South Kensington SW7 3RN

Upon opening, renowned patron chefs Yasuhiro Mineno and Shinya Ikeda based their restaurant around utilising all parts of the fish, using traditional methods to serve roe, flesh, skin and everything in-between. Take a seat on the summer terrace, and enjoy fish the way it was intended, fresh from the ocean.

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