Take a look at Japanese foodie experiences happening in London this summer!
Instead of the usual restaurant-focused round-up, this time we’re looking at all things Japanese food-related currently going on in London, including sake classes, Japanese beer and whisky tastings, and street food pop-ups. See below for more information on the closest Japanese foodie experience happening near you.
Teapigs Matcha Tea Terrace at Harvey Nichols - only until May 28th!
Harvey Nichols and luxury tea brand Teapigs have teamed up for what is truly a matcha made in heaven with this Teapigs’ matcha green tea pop-up hosted on Harvey Nichols’ fifth-floor terrace.
Perhaps the most alluring part about the pop-up is that since matcha is a well-acknowledged superfood, you won’t need to feel any guilt about chowing down on the enticing variety of matcha-infused food and drinks on offer such as eggs benedict, crepes, and cocktails.
You can find the terrace on the fifth floor of Harvey Nichols, 109-125 Knightsbridge, London, SW1X 7RJ. For more info see the Harvey Nichols' website.
YO! Sushi and Street Food Pop-up at Boxpark Croydon
Launched on April 27th, YO!
’s brand new concept in Croydon re-crafts traditional izakaya (Japanese pub) recipes especially for the pop-up environment, with sharing dishes that are ideal for its casual, convivial atmosphere.
The menu was inspired by YO!’s Executive Chef Mike Lewis’s regular trips to Japan, and has been carefully crafted to bring diners some of the greatest tastes from across the country, encompassing a range of flavours from spicy and fruity to tangy and umami.
Featuring an innovative, bold and flavour-packed menu drawing inspiration from all over Japan, YO! will bring brand new dishes and food trends to Croydon such as:
- Ramen-In-A-Roll - seared pork belly, tonkotsu mayo, burnt garlic oil and crisp ramen noodles
- Chicken Katsu Sando - crispy fried chicken thighs in panko crumb sandwich
- Hirata Donut - soft-serve ice cream with crisp donut pieces, kinako soybean powder, pistachio, and miso caramel
- JFC (Japanese Chicken Wings) - crispy-fried chicken wings served up with Furikake Fries in sriracha spiced mayo
- Takoyaki - Osaka’s number one street food of deep-fried octopus balls
- Pork Belly Teriyaki
- Salmon & Orange Ponzu Tataki
Mike Lewis says, “YO! Boxpark is the perfect place for us to explore our Izakaya (Japanese pub) inspiration, allowing us to innovate and introduce playful sharing style dishes. From sushi to street food… [i]t’s all the type of food and drink that can be enjoyed and shared in the communal eating area, just like the back streets of Japan.”
Even better for environmentally conscious Japanese food fans, YO! Has put sustainability firmly at the the centre of the concept. Not only has the menu itself been designed to aspire to zero food waste, but all the fish is 100% responsibly sourced, all the food packaging used is recyclable, and the menus themselves are made from recycled paper.
Shoryu New Oxford Street Now Open
Launched in 2012 by the team behind the Japan Centre
, Shoryu Ramen
has been recommended in the Michelin Guide 2014, 2015, and 2016. It specialises in Hakata tonkotsu ramen, from the Hakata district of Fukuoka city on Japan’s charming southern island of Kyushu.
Located just moments from both bustling Oxford Street and Tottenham Court Road tube station, the new Shoryu is ideally situated for either a quick refueling stop after a successful shopping spree or a more leisurely pre-theatre dining experience.
As well as the usual excellent range of ramen noodles, the new venue also offers guest udon (thick white floury noodles) either hot or cold, as well as sides such as their signature shoryu buns, yakimono (grilled dishes) including yakitori, and matcha and yuzu desserts.
Contemporary Japanese at Dinings SW3 - from mid-May
The first Dinings establishment opened it doors for business in Marylebone in 2006, making this new addition the second London site (there’s also one in Tel Aviv). It will feature two dining bars, a ten-cover sushi counter, and a cosy secluded courtyard for more intimate private gatherings.
The Dinings signature seafood selection will be present and correct, including a Japanese version of a fruits de mer platter loaded with sushi, sashimi and heaps of other raw delights. With its Josper grill, Dinings will also cater for robata-grilled dishes, including soy-marinated Chilean seabass with Japanese pepper and Dover sole with butter soy and wasabi salsa.
From the bar, there’s a seasonally-changing saké menu for those who like a tipple with their meal, while for those who prefer to stick with the soft stuff there is an impressive curated list of Japanese teas.
New Japanese Restaurant in Leeds by D&D London
Restaurant D&D London will open a new rooftop restaurant named Issho
(meaning ‘together’ in Japanese) in Leeds on 21st June. Entirely in keeping with its name, the new restaurant will serve a menu dedicated to dishes that are easy for sharing.
Executive Chef Ben Orpwood drew on his extensive travel experience throughout Japan to create the new menu: “I’ve been lucky enough to travel to Japan several times and have worked in Asian restaurants across the globe, from Turkey and Dubai to London and Australia. My experience has certainly helped shape the menu at Issho and create eye-catching dishes that are full of flavour.”
The menu in question will feature a range of tempting dishes inspired by Japanese and Asian cuisine and created using the very best of fresh Yorkshire produce - even just reading about them has got our mouth watering! How about Wagyu pastrami; steamed prawn and salmon gyoza with white soy and mustard; or duck breast with pickled nashi pear and a spring onion sauce?
For sushi fanatics, it will also include an impressive range of sushi, such as seaweed-wrapped maki rolls with crab, salmon and tiger prawn tempura. A robata grill will take pride of place in the main dining room, serving mouthwatering slow-grilled charcoal dishes - sample dishes include Maple glazed pork belly with fresh apple and wasabi, and barley miso lamb cutlets with smoked aubergine and cucumber.
Finally, the restaurant’s very own bar, Kori, will serve sake and Japan-inspired cocktails with catchy names such as Matcha Sour, Suntory Fashioned, and Monburan (chestnut) Martini on its al fresco terrace offering stunning rooftop views over the city.
Sake Masterclass at Anzu - Monday 12th June
Lauded by Japanese chefs for its high umami content (the fifth taste) and its ability to subtly enhance the food with which it is paired, sake is steadily gaining a notable following among western chefs, wine enthusiasts, and gourmands alike.
Find out what all the fuss is about in this masterclass held at swanky Japanese dining room and bar Anzu
(1 Norris Street, SW1Y 0BZ), located in the newly opened St. James’s Market quarter just behind Piccadilly.
The event will be led by Oliver Hilton-Johnson from Tengu Sake
, who specialise in bringing premium quality sake to the UK market, sourced from seven esteemed, award-winning Japanese kura (sake breweries).
He will talk about different sakes, the customs and cultural history of the drink, and how it is made. Each sake will be accompanied by a carefully selected dish from Anzu’s kitchen. Tickets cost £45 per person.
Japanese Whiskies Masterclass at Tonkotsu Mare Street - Tuesday 20th June
An absolute must for bonafide Japanese whisky lovers, join David Wrigley, Anzu’s resident whisky boffin, for this unmissable tasting of several rare Japanese whiskies, including Hakushu Bourbon Barrel, Yamazaki Puncheon, and Miyagikyo 15yo.
The event will take place at Tonkotsu Mare Street (382 Mare Street, E8 1HR), one of Tonkotsu
ramen’s east London venues. Wrigley will expertly guide drinkers through some of his all-time favourites, skillfully matched with delicious dishes from Tonkotsu’s kitchen. Tickets cost £40 per person.
Beer Masterclass at Tonkotsu East - Wednesday 21st June
Welcome in the long, beer-fuelled hazy nights of summer with this guided tasting and food event held on the terrace at Tonkotsu East (1a Dunston Street, E8 4EB), another of popular ramen chain Tonkotsu
Beer expert, brewer and writer Melissa Cole will talk about beer and brewing in this intimate evening event, which will see participants tasting five beers from some of the UK’s finest breweries, each expertly paired with a dish from Tonkotsu’s kitchen, whether it’s gyoza, fried chicken or their fresh ramen noodles, made in-house every day.
The evening will finish with a welcome digestif in the form of Japanese whisky, and the chance to be among the first to deliver your verdict on an unusual new whisky barrel-aged beer. Tickets cost £30 per person.
Cherry Blossom Pop-up Still On at Roka
While the blooms may have faded in Japan itself, cherry blossom season is still in full swing at Japanese restaurant Roka
(Charlotte Street, 37 Charlotte St, W1T 1RR) until 7th June. Practice some belated hanami (flower-viewing) under a canopy of powdery pink blossoms in Roka's subterranean interior.
Accompany your devotions with some dishes from the impeccably designed food menu, washed down with a cherry blossom themed cocktail or two. Try the Sakura Sour (a peach and whisky concoction) or sip their take on an Old Fashioned, made from sherry and plum-infused saké and whisky.
Japanese-inspired Shibui to Open September
This casual fine diner is one to watch. Founder Elizabeth Haigh (née Allen) gave London a tantalizing sneak preview of what to expect of Shibui in January this year, via a residency at Marylebone’s Carousel
Not quite encapsulated by any one English word, the Japanese adjective “shibui” is can be variously translated as “tasteful”, “refined” or “quiet”, and refers to things that are sober and not flashy, yet undeniably stylish in design (ironically, it’s the same “shibu-” as in place name Shibuya)
In keeping with its naming, Allen’s intention is to apply the principles of “shibui” to less exalted foods, carefully and subtly elevating them to a more refined level. That means combining the likes of buttermilk chicken with caviar, on a menu which draws its inspiration from both Asia and Europe, and features plenty of BBQ options.
Allen studied her craft under Neil Rankin at Smokehouse Islington
, before earning a coveted Michelin star at Pidgin
in Hackney just last year, meaning big things are expected of this rising star in her solo venture later this year.