Looking for the best ramen in London? Want to find sushi near you? We've found the best Japanese restaurants in London and the UK. After, check out our podcast with chef and author Tim Anderson on the 10 things you need to know about Japanese izakaya.


Best Japanese restaurants in London

Apothecary, Shoreditch

Though its concept is a bit different from the more traditional, informal izakaya you might find in Japan, Apothecary does bring the social aspect of these Tokyo bars with its two softly divided spaces — a sophisticated dining area serving ‘drinking food’, spilling into a smart bar with live DJ sessions over the weekend. The spacious restaurant is contemporary and bright, with Shoreditch-worthy exposed brick, sleek crescent-shaped booths and wooden partitions, and a clear view of the kitchen assembling its Japanese-inspired small plates: buns, sushi, tempura, yakitori-style skewers and sashimi arrive promptly at the table as they’re ready. Highlights on the menu are yellowtail tiradito, combining the fresh fish with zingy yuzu-soy and jalapeño prawn dragon sushi rolls with crisp tempura in the centre; and the vegan grilled cauliflower with a perfectly paired black sesame sauce. It’s worth trying a side of furikake rice, too, with its umami depth from the nori. Pair these with one of the impressive drinks offerings: plum wine from Japan’s Yamagata Prefecture, or a punchy cocktail, like the sweet pea spritz (tequila shaken with sweet pea syrup and absinthe) or sesame old fashioned. apothecaryeast.co.uk

A woman eating sharing Japanese small plates

Temaki, Brixton

Temaki, standing for, Te (hand), Maki (roll) has an intimate yet lively feel to it, hosting only 18 covers at a time indoors. The open kitchen brings a sense of connection between the diner and the skilled, humorous chef (Shaulan Steenson) who multitasks, eloquently chatting through the menu while crafting the Temaki. There’s a prevailing joyful atmosphere as the waiting staff are brimming with enthusiasm and knowledgeable about the menu and even more excited to explain about the drinks. We were recommended the Sumi clear Junmai sake which was light with a savoury finish, followed by a sansho peppercorn gin which was topped with filtered lime juice — a sweet yet tangy dream. On to the hand rolls, there are eight to choose from, made fresh to order, alongside meticulously plated small plates. We loved the yellowtail sashimi, which was fresh and tangi from the ponzu with chillies sourced locally from the markets in Brixton. A standout was akami tuna temaki with a nikiri soy filling — not to be missed. If you’re in south west London, or are in the market for a new, fun experience to dive into an interactive Japanese cuisine, Temaki is the place to visit. instagram/temakihandrollbar

Hand rolled sushi from Temaki

Humble Chicken, Soho

Humble Chicken’ name gets straight to the point. This intimate Soho restaurant, the first from chef Angelo Sato — ormerly head chef of Michelin-starred Restaurant Story — is all about grilling every part of the bird (from gizzard to thighs) over binchotan charcoal (a high-quality charcoal used in Japanese cooking). Start with a selection of refined snacks, including a delicate, umami miso foie gras tart and creamy freshly made tofu with tangy kimchi, before diving into the yakitori menu with gusto. Skewers — smoky, juicy, delicious — arrive speedily from the open kitchen, with highlights including meatball with salty tare sauce and egg yolk for dipping, rib with spicy miso and chives, and (our favourite) absurdly tender chicken oysters with smoked garlic and ponzu. Larger plates include crispy chicken leg with rice, and save room for dainty desserts such as deconstructed strawberry cheesecake, and purin, a Japanese dessert akin to a creme caramel, and just as delicious.

There’s Asahi on draft and a small selection of sakes, wines and Japanese whiskies, but it’s the cocktails that deserve most attention on the drinks list, including a tangily fruity lychee martini; a silky Nikka whisky, coconut milk and oolong highball, and a sultry miso and coffee old fashioned. humblechickenuk.com

A spread of skewers at Humble Chicken

Tokyo Pizza, Little Venice

This cavernous, neon-lit little restaurant in the middle of London’s Maida Vale also has an outdoor terrace that was heaving on the warm evening we visited. ‘Japanese’ and ‘pizza’ might not be two words that instantly go together but when our attentive server describes the style of food as ‘izakaya’ — Japanese drinking snacks or bar food — it makes sense. The pizza is Neapolitan-style extra thin crust with a puffed-up chewy rim. It ranges from the safe option of marugerita (sic) to bling toppings like wagyu, short rib or lobster tail all given an extra Tokyo twist with toppings like mizuna, yuzu and sesame. They also pride themselves on ‘mochi’, a Japanese dough or dense bread made from pounded glutinous rice, and the incarnations we tried were a butter-drenched garlic bread version and a cracker-based nacho combo with raw salmon, guacamole, and green chilli. Lots of other snacks and rice bowls are available and alongside our well-priced and adequately potent sake and Japanese whiskey-based cocktails, we nibbled on sweet and sticky tabasaki-glazed chicken wings. tokyo-pizza.co.uk


SUMI, Notting Hill

The bright and airy space, with pale wood panelling, large windows and outdoor decking, perfectly suits the calm practice of SUMI’s sushi chefs. Watch them prepare stunning courses of fresh nigiri on bouncy and neat rice mounds, and wrap wafer-thin sheets of nori seaweed round the likes of minced red tuna and fermented mooli, or diced scallop with delicate purple hanahojiso flowers to make signature temaki rolls. Menu highlights are the seaweed salad coated in a creamy tahini dressing with toasted almonds, and a ceviche showcasing seasonal sustainable fish among a picture-perfect plate of peppers, corianders, marigold and a zingy yuzu dressing. Superb seared Japanese A4 wagyu is served with charred puntarelle and a jug of yuzu onion sauce. Finish by gliding a bespoke wooden spoon through the matcha mille cake’s thin layers of vibrant green, matcha-infused double cream and ultra-fine crepes. Don’t skip cocktails — the popular kawaii ne is a delicate mix of sake, local Portobello gin, lychee and yuzu, while the smoky boulevardier offers a much punchier blend of peaty whisky, umeshu plum sake, Antica Formula and Campari. sushisumi.com

Sushi served on a slab on a wooden table at Sumi

Junsei, Marylebone

Aman Lakhiani trained in the finest Japanese restaurants in Tokyo and Barcelona before opening his own yakitori venture in London. Junsei means ‘pure’ in Japanese, reflected in the restaurant’s cooking techniques — delicate chicken skewers are grilled over binchō-tan oak white coal, coated simply in salt or the house-aged tare sauce. Choose the omakase chef’s table experience to watch the chefs spoon house tare sauce from the pot and hammer charcoal to create sparks. Start with a spoon of barley miso-topped cherry tomato, followed by the chef’s selection of delicate yakitori — chicken breast wrapped in a shiso leaf with fermented plum paste, yuzu-laced tempura mushrooms stuffed with chicken, and umami-rich tsukune meatball skewers served with an egg yolk and soy dipping sauce. Donabe ginger rice bowls take 45 minutes to prepare, being cooked from scratch on the stove in Japanese ceramic pots, then topped with the likes of sea bream, burnt orange and sesame seeds.

The Gin2 cocktail is a must-try for its unique combination of refreshing gin granita capped with a warm gin and ginger-infused meringue-like foam. Or the Bincho Sour is a twist on the classic with Akashi whisky and plum syrup. junsei.co.uk

Koya Ko, Hackney

Tucked away off buzzing Broadway Market, Koya’s casual, friendly little sister follows suit from noodle bars found in Japan’s train stations, with a tachi-gui (standing-while-dining) element alongside seats for customers to slurp bowls of springy udon and tuck into donburi rice bowls. Pop in for the famous English/Japanese breakfast of hot udon topped with egg, bacon and butter soy mushrooms, or traditional neba-neba breakfast rice bowl with fermented soy beans, pickled seaweed and okra and onsen tamago egg. After midday, there’s crunchy chicken kara-age with spring onion sauce and steaming bowls of udon in dashi broth. Try new menu additions, such as slow-braised beef shin on hot noodles slathered in chilli oil, the KO salad of cold udon with pickled aubergine, and plenty of mini-don rice bowls to enjoy on the go. koya.co.uk

Plates of udon at Koya Ko

Sachi at The Pantechnicon, Knightsbridge

Top and tailing this destination design, shopping and eating complex is Elder, a Nordic-inspired rooftop space, and now Sachi, the atmospheric Japanese restaurant on the lower ground floor. While just a few moments from busy Knightsbridge, its dim lighting, Japanese garden decor and hidden booths make it feel like another world. Overseen by executive chef Chris Golding (whose experience includes Zuma and Nahm), the menu features regional Japanese dishes using the best British ingredients, such as Scottish scallops and lobster and Cornish monkfish, many cooked over fire on the robata grill. Among favourites such as sashimi, nigiri and maki rolls, agedashi tofu, tempura and a magnificent nasu (miso aubergine), discover some unique dishes such as seabass with lava salt and seabuckthorn, butinako — a rich pork belly braised in barley miso — shortrib with fermented mushroom and black garlic, and luxurious wagyu with beetroot and miso. The sommelier will guide you through each course, explaining the source and complexities of each saki as you go. Finish your meal with a sakura cocktail (gin, vermouth and peach) in Sakaya, the tiny whisky bar. pantechnicon.com/sachi

Sashimi selection from Sachi at The Pantechnicon

The Fuji Grill at Beaverbrook Town House, Chelsea

Take a counter seat to see sushi master Goemon Ishikawa at work as he prepares an exquisite omakase (chef's choice) menu at this plush new Chelsea hotel. Around 20 bite-sized dishes are prepared with skill, precision and imagination and offered with short introductions and suggested wine pairings. From the first dish of red bream with pickled kohlrabi through to a dinky dessert of matcha cake with poached pear, there are intriguing combinations of Japanese and British ingredients. Highlights are hamachi with smoked aubergine purée and caviar; texturally interesting squid and cauliflower; home-smoked salmon and British finger lime; and six-day dry-aged akami zuke, chu toro and o toro (tuna). The meal closes with a 'cheese' course of ankimo (monkish liver) with chutney and fennel cracker and a bowl of delicate clear broth. While the entrance to the restaurant is through the lively hotel bar, the restaurant itself is quieter and soothingly art deco in style with walls featuring pictures of Mount Fuji. There are two sittings, 6pm and 8.30pm, with counter space for just six guests. beaverbrooktownhouse.co.uk

Bisushima, Trafalgar Square

Find this slick Japanese restaurant on the top floor of the Page8 hotel, a stone's throw from Trafalgar Square, and see the full menu being prepared at the counter or ring-side booth. Its scale, DJ action, and imaginative cocktail list makes for a buzzing night out, but never detracting from top-class cooking from a large open kitchen. Along with classic sashimi and sushi, black cod, tempura shrimp and chicken kara-age there are more unusual, seasonal and signature dishes with luxe touches such as tuna sashimi with burrata and truffles, a lobster and cauliflower purée starter with tosaku jelly and grilled dry-aged eel and egg truffle risotto. The huge terrace make it a popular summer spot, too. bisushima.com

Small delicate sushi on a long white plate

RAI, Fitzrovia

Previously Hot Stone, RAI is an elegant venue offering the same pared-back décor – wood panels, green tiling and a beautiful traditional mural – with chef Padam Raj Rai remaining at the helm. He makes his passionate presence known at each service when he comes out to greet diners in an enthusiastic flurry. Only the menu has had a makeover, now a set 10-course omakase tasting experience with the option of supplementary sushi and wagyu courses, showcasing exquisite ingredients of the highest quality; sweet amaebi prawns and hand-picked Maldon rock oysters are dressed with caviar; tiny cubes of homemade tofu are doused in 10-year-old soy sauce; and vibrant wasabi is hand-grated at the table. Presentation is stunning, with a sashimi trio balanced on a bespoke, hand-carved driftwood platter. Flavour combinations are playful and inspired, for example hand-dived Orkney scallops with British parsnips, and Scottish smoked salmon tartare served in a yuzu miso alongside slices of British pear then coated in a blanket of 60-month aged parmesan. Choose the sake and wine pairing and you’ll be treated to Baron de Marck champagne, (known for its tiny bubbles), a delicately tart umeshu plum sake, and a light and sweet Daiginjo sake. rairestaurant.com

A trio of snacks on wooden blocks with two glasses of champagne

Dai Chi, Soho

This unique restaurant in Soho is slick, with comfy leather seats and nods to Japanese ryokan furnishings, such as bonsai, lantern-style lighting, plenty of dark wood and floor-to-ceiling prints of entrances to Japanese izakayas.

Cocktails at the team's original Dalston restaurant Angelina are outstanding, and this spot doesn't disappoint. Choose from highball-style drinks including Shoga Enlightenment with tart yuzu sake and lemongrass syrup, or a salty pear and ginger shrub with smoky mezcal. There's also a tsukemono martini with sake and pickled carrot, and Japanese gin shines in the negroni-style Ponzi Scheme.

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The six-course omakase menu is a succession of sublime 'kushikatsu' skewers and small bites. Things kick off with roti tacos topped with tobiko tuna tartare and raw Hamachi tuna with truffle soy. Deep-fried skewers are inventive, including flavours like bitter shiso leaf, black ibérico tomatoes, aged rib-eye steak and king trumpet mushrooms, the latter topped with fresh carabineiro prawns and spicy 'nduja sauce. Other highlights include succulent karaage chicken, butterflied cod and sweet heritage tomatoes doused in 20-year-old balsamic, with matcha panna cotta with a burnt white chocolate crumb to finish. daichi.london

The London Foodie Supper Club, London N1 (Islington)

Luiz Hara is a Japanese-Brazilian, Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef who gave up the world of investment banking and now hosts Japanese supper clubs in his Islington home. Cooking for around 30 people several evenings each week, he serves an eight-course tasting menu, featuring classic Japanese dishes alongside his own nikkei (a fusion of Japanese and South American) creations.


London Foodie Supperclub Chilled Green Tea Soba Noodles

Dinings, Marylebone, London W1H (Marylebone)

They may have larger branches in swanky Knightsbridge and Tel Aviv, but the compact original site of Dinings on Harcourt Street continues to impress those lucky enough to secure a place (bookings are still essential). Opened a decade ago by Masaki Sugisaki and Keiji Fuku (ex-Nobu), Dinings focuses on izakaya-style cooking, incorporating authentic Japanese and European cuisines to create delicious small plates in a relaxed atmosphere. The kitchen creates seasonal sushi and sashimi dishes using spankingly fresh seafood from Scottish and Cornish day boats. Try spicy chilli garlic Scottish salmon and fresh coriander miso soup; ‘suzuki’ sea bass topped with yuzu-infused daikon pickle, and hand-dived Scottish scallops with Cornish sea salt and lemon.


Endo at the Rotunda, London W12 (White City)

Restaurant critic Giles Coren called his meal at Endo “probably the most perfect meal I have eaten in a restaurant in more than 20 years as a critic” – high praise indeed for this Japanese restaurant on the eighth floor of the Helios building, the old BBC television centre in White City. Alongside hot dishes of lobster shabu shabu (hotpot) and grilled wagyu beef, there is first-class tempura (seafood and vegetable) and nigiri such as spider crab with truffle and three types of tuna with ‘signature’ seaweed.


Salmon covered in a glass dome of smoke at Endo at the Rotunda, London White City

Sho Foo Doh, London N6 (Highgate)

After a successful stint in London Fields, the nomadic and innovative Sho Foo Doh has moved on to the Duke’s Head in Highgate for a two-month residency in October and November (2019) before moving on again to an as yet unconfirmed location. Sho Foo Doh specialises in Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki (light and savoury pancakes) such as pork, kimchi and cheddar or jalapeño salsa and black beans. Other menu highlights include Japanese tacos (tuna, avocado, wasabi mayo and coriander on crispy wonton skin), sesame-panko-crusted deep-fried cauliflower with miso tahini dip, and a burger of panko sardines, Worcestershire sauce, yuzu tartare and iceberg lettuce in a bun with lotus crisps. “If it ain’t fun, we ain’t in it” is the motto of Sho Foo Doh owner Fumio Tanga, who learnt how to cook from a master okonomiyaki chef in Hiroshima before moving to London at the age of 18.

A man holding two okonomiyakis at Sho Foo Doh Highgate

Robata, London W1 (Soho)

Located on Old Compton Street in the heart of Soho, Sonny Huang’s Robata restaurant specialises in robata grill cooking, a Japanese tradition that was first introduced by ancient fishermen who took boxes of hot coals with them on their boats to cook the food that they gathered from their day’s catch. The menu is broken down into five sections – small plates, raw and sushi, bao buns, robata skewers and robata large – and diners are encouraged to share dishes. Stand-out plates include miso aubergine topped with pickled shimiji mushroom and red chilli; sweet soy glaze and spring onion pork belly skewers; and Chilean wagyu smoked and cooked over burning hay. Robata also serves an extensive selection of sake and sake-based cocktails including the Umetini (Roku gin, umeshu plum sake and orange bitters). Head chef Charles Lee worked in a number of Michelin-starred restaurants during his career before arriving at Robata, and his menu shows the diversity of Japan’s food, highlighting traditional cooking techniques and contemporary flavours, along with using high-end British produce.


Bao at Robata Soho

Akira at Japan House, London W8 (Kensington)

The eponymous modern restaurant from acclaimed chef Shimizu Akira is founded on his trinity of essential Japanese cooking principles – food, tableware and presentation. Guests at the restaurant on Kensington High Street are immersed in authentic ‘omotenashi’ hospitality as chefs prepare dishes with seasonal ingredients over blistering robata flames alongside a wide selection of immaculately crafted sashimi and sushi. The dining experience is further enhanced with bespoke ceramics and glassware personally sourced by Akira from artisan makers across Japan.


Bento boxes and sushi for Omakase at Akira at Japan House, London Kensington

Tonkotsu, London (various) and Birmingham

With 10 sites across London (and one at Birmingham Selfridges), Tonkotsu’s modern Japanese ramen bars serve homemade noodles, broths, gyoza and sides, as well as a small but high-quality selection of sake, cocktails and craft beer. Using mid-century noodle-making machines imported from Japan, the chefs make three different types of ramen noodle – tokyo, tsukemen and tonkotsu – and each has been developed to enhance different stocks. Diners can watch the noodles being made fresh each day inside the Haggerston restaurant, while in another archway across the canal, chefs make the stocks, gyozas and sides from scratch. Check out dishes such as prawn and baby squid popcorn, miso mushroom ramen and crispy duck hiyashi (noodle salad) with ponzu dressing.


A bowl of prawn tonkotsu ramen at Tonkotsu

Takahashi, London SW1 (Wimbledon)

Ex-Nobu chef Nobuhisa Takahashi’s eponymous Wimbledon restaurant can only accommodate five tables, which he says is “to ensure that our customers enjoy the peak temperatures, flavours and textures of our food”. The food at Takahashi marries Japanese tradition with the Mediterranean diet to create modern and healthy dishes high on flavour. “In each dish, we look to achieve a harmonious balance of healthy values, beautiful presentations and clean flavours,” says co-owner Yuko Takahashi, who points to the super-fresh sashimi and sushi selections as well as signature dishes like scallop carpaccio with yuzu salsa, and crispy pork belly with aubergine miso.


Best Japanese restaurants in the UK

Koj, Cheltenham

Izakaya-style grazing dishes are served in the intimate dining room at Koj, the Cheltenham restaurant run by 2012 MasterChef finalist Andrew Kojima. Signature favourites on the concise menu include crispy shiitake; steamed buns filled with tempura soft-shell crab, pickled fennel and yuzu mayonnaise; ‘Koj’ fried chicken with sesame mayo; and burned white chocolate with miso ice cream. Upstairs, in Bandana Monkey bar, the drinks list includes Japanese beers, sake, shōchū and whisky, and a unique list of Japanese-inspired cocktails including Kojinori (Kojin gin with lime, tonic and nori syrup) and Okinawa Old Fashioned with bourbon, pedro ximénez sherry and shiso vinegar. Andrew has also collaborated with Bristol microdistillery Pyschopomp to create a Japanese-inspired gin and with Hillside Brewery to create two beers, Bandana Monkey and Topknot Fatboy.


Fried Chicken at Koj Cheltenham

Hana Matsuri, Leeds

Described by Vice magazine as “Britain’s best sushi restaurant”, this modest, bookings-only outfit on Meanwood Road in Leeds showcases the exemplary knife skills of sushi chef Kaoru Nakamura. Although there is an à la carte menu and a set-lunch option, most people go for the omakase menu, where the diners leave it up to the chef to cook for them depending on that day’s ingredients. Hana Matsuri only uses fresh fish sourced mainly from Cornwall and the menu changes daily depending on availability.


Eatchu, Bristol

What started out as a street-food stall in Bristol is now a permanent space in the city’s bustling St Nicks market. Run by husband and wife Guy and Victoria Siddall, Eatchu specialises in gyoza, or “happy little dumplings” as they refer to them. The gyoza are made on the premises using seasonal ingredients and free-range meat from a local butcher. Meaty versions include pork with Kenko mayo, tonkatsu sauce and furikake or chicken with rayu oil and spicy sea salt. Veggie options include triple mushroom with mustard dressing, nori and pickled radish. Guy and Victoria also run gyoza masterclasses and have a mobile gazebo that pops up at weddings, corporate catering events and craft-beer festivals.


Edamame bean and gyoza bowl at Eatchu Gyozas Bristol

Kushi-ya, Nottingham

Chefs Simon Carlin and Tom Clay started Kushi-ya (which translates to ‘skewer shop’) as monthly supper clubs around Nottingham but the concept turned into a bricks-and-mortar restaurant in October 2018. Kushi-ya is all about Japanese-inspired skewers, small plates and snacks, with most of the menu featuring dishes cooked over charcoal on a yakitori grill. All the meat is free-range and ethically sourced and regional, where possible. Order local favourites such as beef with black garlic mustard and tsukune (chicken meatball) with egg yolk and tare sauce or ‘tiramiso’, a Japanese twist on the classic Italian dessert. Wash it all down with sake, whisky or Japanese-influenced cocktails such as the yuzu margarita or miso dark and stormy.


Sliced beef at Kushi-ya, Nottingham

Edamame, Oxford

Peter Galpin and his Japanese wife, Mieko, set up Edamame in 1998 with the intention of creating an inviting, hole-in-the-wall eatery for guests to enjoy authentic Japanese home cooking. The couple offers three different menus that rotate according to a fixed weekly schedule so that they can serve a wide variety of dishes using the freshest ingredients. There are no reservations and tables are shared to help keep the prices low and the seating efficient in what is a tiny restaurant. Edamame offers a lunch-only menu Wednesday to Sunday lunchtimes, a sushi-only menu on Thursday early evenings, and a dinner-only menu on Friday and Saturday early evenings. Peter says: “We are delighted that for the last three years the Japanese government has awarded us with exclusive recognition as being Oxford’s only truly authentic Japanese eatery.”


Seven Lucky Gods, Bristol

The latest Bristol venture for local restaurant group Hyde & Co (who also own The Milk Thistle, Pata Negra, Hyde & Co, Bambalan and The Ox), the aptly named Seven Lucky Gods has exploded onto Bristol's food scene since opening at Wapping Wharf in May 2019. Taking inspiration from the izakaya bars of Tokyo, Seven Lucky Gods serves up sushi, fusion-style small plates and cocktails in a series of converted shipping containers. Menu favourites include the iberico pork katsu sando, chicken katsu curry arancini and the signature Korean fried chicken.


Seven Lucky Gods Tempura Bowl by Kirstie Young

Yuzu, Manchester

Yui Nagami of Manchester’s Yuzu restaurant says the reason it stands out from the crowd is the freshness and the fact everything is made from scratch. “The uniqueness of our food is that we make everything on site, including the soy sauce-based sauce that comes with all the sashimi dishes, the teriyaki sauce and the ponzu that accompanies the karaage. The fish is delivered every day and meat is marinated at least several hours before serving – the prep is the most important part of our operation.” As well as claiming to serve the freshest sashimi in the city, dishes such as teriyaki salmon served over Japanese rice in a donburi bowl and traditional chicken katsu has helped Yuzu retain its place in the 2020 edition of The Good Food Guide.


Japan Street Food, Paisley

Recently expanded from 12 to 50 covers due to its growing popularity, this Japanese restaurant and sushi centre in Paisley town centre concentrates on the sort of staple hot dishes traditionally served by street-food vendors in Japan, as well as wide selection of sushi and sashimi. Try the beef garlic teriyaki and pumpkin katsu.


Sushi and gyozas at Japan Street Food, Paisley

Kyoto Kitchen, Winchester

This Michelin-rated restaurant is run by experienced chef Shunji Irokawa, who qualified as a cook in 1972. Opened in 2012, Kyoto Kitchen is an intimate family-run restaurant that has received wide recognition for its high-level, diverse Japanese cooking. There is a focus on sushi and sashimi, but the broad menu covers both traditional and modern bases in its delivery of little plates, tempuras and grills. The Winchester Roll includes locally smoked local trout wrapped in wasabi leaf and served with fresh wasabi grown locally in the first wasabi farm in Europe.


Kyoto Kitchen Winchester Roll with Wasabi

Harajuku Kitchen, Edinburgh

In the heart of Edinburgh – but named after a district of Tokyo – Harajuku Kitchen specialises in traditional family recipes cooked by owner-chef Kaori Simpson, who has been shortlisted in the ‘best street-food chef’ in the 2019 olive Chef Awards. This compact modern Japanese bistro serves tempura, noodle dishes, sushi and sashimi, as well as main courses such as tempura aubergine curry; tofu teriyaki and pork gyoza dumplings.


Bincho Yakitori, Brighton

Based on the back-street bars and izakayas of late-night Tokyo, Brighton’s Bincho Yakitori is a no-frills Japanese yakitori joint serving an ever-changing menu. Dishes include sea bream tempura served with a sauce made of wasabi and local seaweed, and grilled iberico pork kushiyaki skewers. Leave room for the miso chocolate tart with houjicha (roasted green tea) ice cream.


Three plates of skewers at Bincho Yakitori, Brighton

Issho, Leeds

From the spectacular spiral staircase at the entrance to the statement bar adorned with cherry blossom, this contemporary bar and restaurant is an ode to Japanese design. The open-plan kitchen adds atmosphere to the sleek dining room, with chefs preparing mounds of sushi, and vegetables charring over coals on the robata grill.

The large menu is designed for sharing – crunchy squid karaage is served with a rich, sweet black garlic aïoli, while mixed tempura (giant prawns, asparagus, courgette sticks) comes with a delicate shisho dashi dipping sauce. Neat lies of grilled unagi (eel), yellowfin tuna and salmon are served atop still-warm mounds of sushi rice.

Head chef Joe Grant has a magic touch with the robata grill, the highlight being sesame-crusted lamb chops slathered in an umami-rich miso and gochujang sauce.



Words by Mark Taylor and Alex Crossley

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