It’s a deceivingly big space, with rows-upon-rows of wooden tables and speakers in every corner blaring out rock ‘n’ roll in true Bone Daddies style. Our waitress knew the menu well and advised sharing a main (there’s only one on the menu at any time), and six-or-so sides. Although it’s still Japanese cuisine, don’t expect slurpy bowls of noodles – it’s on-trend fusion food (“what they’re eating in Japan right now,” we were told), with a heavy input from Italy.
Food comes out as it’s ready, so our main of USDA beef picanha was last. Incredibly tender and pepped-up by a side of kimchee tare butter, it was well worth the wait. And not willingly shared. As for the sides, the winner was sticky sweet miso aubergine, made more interesting with a topping of bubu arare – little Rice Krispies-style balls that popped in the mouth.
Juicy prawn toast ‘masquerading as okonomiyaki’ (a savoury Japanese pancake) is another must-order, and contender for best prawn toast in London. One of their most popular dishes, mentaiko mac ‘n’ cheese with cock scratchings, was underwhelming (the kind of dish we could make at home), and inferior to fried nanban style red mullet, delicately cooked and served on top of a zingy salad.
We strongly advise sharing a dessert – never has a slice of French toast been so large, or so satisfyingly squidgy. It’s made with roasted whole soy flour (‘kinako’) and comes with a swirl of soft green tea ice cream. As for drinks, try one of their in-house cocktails for a bit of fun – we loved pouring our bottle of Bone Daddies punch over a tumbler of dark and gold rum.
Bullseye: Definitely the miso aubergine. Get one each.
Misfire: Because it’s so busy, you might have to share a table with strangers…
Meet the chef – Mark Edwards
The best thing on my menu is prawn toast masquerading as okonomyaki. Without it there’d be riots!
In my fridge there’s always avocado, Parmesan cheese, Dijon mustard, butter and dry cured bacon.
My most-used cookbook is Smoke and Pickles by Edward Lee, because it’s full of quick and easy recipes, each one with its own interesting background story.
My favourite 15-minute supper to make at home is miso soup, made with water, dashi granules, miso paste, dried seaweed and spring onion.
I know I shouldn’t admit it but my guilty pleasure is chocolate!
I love eating out at Barrafina in Soho because its great to watch the slick service unfold right before your eyes.
If you gave me a tenner I‘d spend it on salted caramel chocolates from Hotel Chocolat… I’d get as many as I could!
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