Ginza Onakada

Ginza Onakada was previously known as Matsuri which is located in London St James. The restaurant has gone through a total transformation with a new name and a full renovation. It has moved away from the concept of teppenyaki to bring back traditional Japanese food.

The whole restaurant has been modernised with a sleek entrance. It is no longer focusing on teppenyaki but they have retained a small section that can seat around 4 people. Also there is a small sushi bar room where you can enjoy a sushi experience up close with the sushi chef.

We were seated in the main dining area where you can order from the a la carte that includes a range of sushi and robata.

Gina Onakada

We started our lunch with the Cornish crab meat chawan mushi (£12). This is a traditional savory custard flavoured with bonito soup. The taste reminded us of dobin mushi. A light clear soup that is served in a clay teapot which was available at previously known Matsuri and still is on the menu at Ginza Onakada.

The chawan sushi was beautifully steamed and arrived pipping hot at our table. 

Ginza Onakada

The sushi assortments comes in a choice of 8 pieces (£32) or 12 peices (£50). The 12 pieces worked out to be more expensive for each piece of nigiri as it came with more premium fishes. Our selection included one price of o-toro as well as one piece of seared Wagyu beef.

Each sushi was beautiful with good quality cuts including a lovely melt in your mouth o-toro. Even the Wagyu beef melt in your mouth which made it a good pairing as nigiri.

Ginza Onakada

This was follow by Inaniwa chilled udon with prawn and vegetable tempura, served with traditional dipping sauce (£28). The udon was a delight to have which was thinner and flatter than regular udon. It was cooked perfectly to a texture that was not too soft and still has that chewy texture. A dish that is refreshing which make it great for the warmer weather. 

Ginza Onakada

Ginza Onakada serves a selection of meat and seafood from the robata including Kobe beef (ranging from £130 – £145 depending on the cuts) and Japanese Wagyu beef (£71-£86 depending on the cuts). We opted for the Wagyu fillet beef (£86) which was expensive but it was really good. Each piece of beef just melt in your mouth and was truely good piece of Wagyu beef.

Ginza Onakada

So far every dish we had was impressive and each one was organised by the restaurant to come at the right time and in the right order.

However, I was slightly disappointed with dessert selection where there was no traditional Japanese dessert. The choices were more French inspired with the use of Japanese most known ingredients – matcha. Back in the days of Matsuri I would always looked forward to their Fireball ice cream. It is a shame that Ginza Onakada no longer on the menu although this is a dessert for teppenyaki.

Although dessert selection was not attractive we did try the chocolate fondue served with matcha ice cream mochi. I was expecting the chocolate fondue to have a melting centre. However, I am not sure if the restaurant had meant for it not to have a melting chocolate centre or it was over-cooked. 

Ginza Onakada

Overall it was a wonderful experience with impressive service. Apart from the dessert it was good food that was well executed. But dining at Ginza Onakada does come at a price which is not affordable to many of us.

I was there during the 50% off soft launch period and spent around £60 per person including service charge and green tea. This meant on full price we would had to pay around £120 per person. Even with the offer this meal I consider a special treat.

Ginza Onakada
15 Bury Street,
London,
UK,
SW1Y 6AL

https://onodera-group.com/uk

Cafe Damoa (Bingsu – shaved ice dessert)

Cafe Damoa is a casual cafe located in Golders Green (north west London), that serves Korean and Japanese food. It is also a place for Bingsu (Korean shaved ice dessert).

Cafe Domoa

For those who follow me will know what is bingsu (also known as bing) because it is actually not ice but milk that is turned in to snow that you can eat. You expect a light fluffy texture that goes creamy like ice cream when it melts in you mouth.

Domoa offers a variety of bingsu and in two sizes – small and large. Options of flavours includes Red bean, Strawberry, Blueberry (£7.90/£12.50), Oreo…etc

The Matcha (£8.90/£12.90) bingsu comes with red beans, mochi, corn flakes and a scoop of matcha ice cream. If you do not want a particular toppings the cafe is happy to exclude them or serve them separately.

Cafe Domoa

The Mango (£7.90/£12.50) bingsu is my current favourite at Damoa. The shaved ice is made up of fresh mango pieces, a scoop of mango ice cream and sprinkled with mango sauce.

When you compare the bingsu with the one at Shibuya, then Shibuya bingsu lead. That is why they are known for their bingsu in London.

I felt that Damoa’s matcha bingsu lacked green tea flavour. It was just the matcha ice cream that had the green tea flavour. May be they could had sprinkle matcha powder over the shaved ice. However, Damoa’s mango bingsu was delicious and the flavour was better than the mango bingu I have had at Shibuya.

Cafe Domoa

As well as bingsu for dessert the cafe also serves waffles which can be ordered on its own or as a set which come with coffee or bubble tea. Yes you heard it! Damoa also sell Bubble Tea (£3.40) with a choice of topping (tapioca pearls and popping boba).

Cafe Domoa

Damoa does not only serve drinks and dessert. They also offer a range of savoury dish such as sushi, noodle soup and bibimba dupbap (rice and salad). I have not yet had the chance to try their savoury dishes to be able to share with you.

(Not Sponsored. Menu and price correct at the time of visit)

Cafe Damoa
32 Golders Green Road,
London,
NW11 8LL,
UK

https://en-gb.facebook.com/Cafe-Damoa-170800179961870/

DOZO Soho

Dozo is a Japanese restaurant with two branches in London and one of these is located in Soho. The restaurant serves a range of sushi including morden sushi maki rolls that are known as Dozo rolls.

We tried the Tiger Maki (8 pieces) – tempura prawn, tobiko, cucumber, avocado & lettuce (£13.80).

Dozo Soho

My favourite is the Volcano Maki (8 p pieces) – eel, leeks, bonito flakes, eel sauce, avocado & mayonnaise (£15.80). Combination of all the different flavours with Japanese mayonnaise makes a sauce that is addicting.

Dozo Soho

As well as sushi the restaurant also offers a selection of noodle and rice. We tried their Curry Tori Don deep-fried chicken cutlet in breadcrumbs with Japanese curry sauce on rice (£8.80). I felt the curry sauce was on the watery side. Compared to the sushi the presentation of this dish was lacking.

Dozo Soho

Overall sushi was better than their non-sushi dishes and it will be the Dozo rolls that you will want to order when you visit.

Dozo Soho can be a popular place and I do advise that you make a reservation. We did turn up and managed to get a table for three people with no wait. However we only had the table for an hour and half.

Dozo Soho
32 Old Compton Street,
Soho,
London,
W1D 4TP,
UK

http://www.dozosushi.co.uk

Tombo Poké & Matcha Bar, Soho

Tombo opened a second store a few months ago in London Soho. The store has a much smaller menu than their original cafe in South Kesington. The Soho branch concentrate on serving Poké, their popular Matcha drinks and desserts. 

Poké are basically sushi bowl served in a contemporary way. Tombo offers it with black and white rice or courgette noodles. The courgette noodles is the lighter version which is nice alternative to a salad in the Summer weather.

There are a variety of hot and iced matcha drinks including teas, latte, matchiato, juices and milkshake. It is defintely a place for matcha lovers.

The most popular items on Tombo’s menu has to be their dessert. Their matcha soft serve ice cream comes in the choice of a cone, pot, sundae (£5.40), manaka (£3.90) and affogato (£6)

Tombo sundae comes with matcha soft serve, red bean paste, matcha brownie, rice crispy bottom and a waffle stick. The matcha soft serve  is less milky than places like Tsujiri and has a stronger green tea flavour. It is perfect for those who prefer less milky and stronger matcha flavour soft serve.

Although it is not as milky, the soft serve is still creamy and not watery base like the one I had at Kanada-Ya. The ice cream itself was not too sweet but I did find the matcha brownies very sweet.

Tombo Matcha Sundae

Getting a soft serve does not come cheap, even on its own the price starts at £3.50. The sundae itself in the takeaway portion is even more expensive as it priced at £5.40. But the price is comparable to other places in London that serves matcha soft serve. It is defintely a luxary ice cream.

(Not Sponsored. Menu and prices correct at the time of visit)

Poké & Matcha Bar – Soho
28 D’Arblay Street,
W1F 8EW,
London,
UK

http://www.tombopoke.com

Tsujiri London – Matcha drinks and dessert

Tsujiri is a Japanese traditional tea brand which serves its matcha (green tea) tea in variety of desserts and drinks. It is originated in Japan and has branches in Singapore, Canada and now in UK.

Matcha ice cream seem to be getting popular in London, especially with the Oriental community. It is no surprise as it is an Asia flavour. There seem to be madness with any thing containing matcha.

The shop is small which is located in the Soho area of London. There are only a few seats which are usually filled during the busy hours. But when there is so many people it can get stuffy that you would rather just eat on the street or at a nearby park.

Tsujiri is popular for their soft serve ice cream which comes in two flavours, Matcha (£3.95) or Vanilla (£3.45) in either a cone or cup. You can also opt to add toppings for additional charge – Kinako (roasted soy beans powder), Red Bean, Kuromitsu (dark sugar syrup), Shiratama (mochi), Marron Glace (sugar syrup chestnut candied).

Tsujiri London

If you want some thing a bit more fancy than the Matcha Sundae is a good choice. There are three to choose, Crispy Sundae (£4.95), Shiratama Sundae (£5.45) and Chiffon Cake Sundae (£4.95).

Tsujiri London

The Chiffon Cake Sundae consist of corn flakes, a piece of green tea chiffon cake, red bean paste and of course matcha soft-serve ice cream.

Tsujiri London

If you are like me who some time want a drink but still want an ice cream than the float (Small £5.45/Medium £5.95) is a good option. There are six to choose, O-matcha float, Houjicha float, Yuzu float, O-matcha milk float, Houjicha milk float and Red bean float. All of them comes with a choice of vanilla or matcha ice cream. It is definitely a good choice to get cool in the warm weather.

Tsujiri London

There are also a variety of drinks including hot or cold ice tea and latte. For some thing to cool down in the warm weather but more on the icy side than the ice blended (Medium £3.95/Large £4.45) could be the one. Just like the float it comes in six different flavours. however if you want some thing a bit more tradition than there is O-matcha.

(Not Sponsored. Menu and prices correct at the time of visit)

Tsujiri London
47 Rupert Street,
London,
W1D 7PD

http://tsujiri-global.com

Kanada-Ya Green Tea Ice Cream

Kanada-Ya has not only captured people of London for their ramen but also their Matcha (Green Tea) soft serve ice cream, which is only served at their Haymarket branch.

Kanada-Ya (Haymarket)

Matcha (Green Tea) is their standard flavour, along with a second flavour that changes daily.  Black sesame was the other flavour on our visit which did not take our fancy, so we opted to just try the matcha flavour.

Kanada-Ya soft serve ice cream was not as creamy as other soft serve ice cream I have tried. It came across to me more watery which you could find it more of a refreshing  soft serve ice cream.

Kanada-Ya (Haymarket)

For my review of the ramen at Kanada-Ya click on the link on the following link: https://chechemui.wordpress.com/2015/12/07/kanada-ya-london/

(Not sponsored. Menu and prices correct at the time of dining)

Kanada-Ya (St Giles branch)
64 St Giles High Street,
WC2H 8LE,
London,
UK

Kanada-Ya (Haymarket branch)
3 Panton Street,
London,
SW1Y 4DL,
UK

https://www.kanada-ya.com

Gyoza Bar

Gyoza Bar is located in the heart of Covent Garden and is about a 1 minute walk from Leicester  Square tube station. The restaurant has been brought to us by the same team behind Murukami which is their sushi restaurant located next door.

The restaurant feels casual and has a modern design of the use of wood. Where it is located it could make this a suitable place for a quick bite if you heading to any of the theatres around the area.

As named Gyoza Bar, you would had expect to see a large selection of gyoza. But when I first glanced at the menu the ramen selection was actually larger than the gyoza. To me this was really a ramen bar.

Gyoza Bar

There are five different gyoza to select on the menu. Each one you can choose to have them deep-fried, pan-fried or steamed. We tried the Ebi Dangojiru (£9.50) which is a prawn gyoza that is served in a soy based broth. The pastry was thin which is what you would expect from a Japanese gyoza, but I thought the dish lacked flavour.

Gyoza Bar

Pork Gyoza yakimono (£7.50) is pan-fried gyoza served with two different dipping – garlic vinegar and umami soy.

Gyoza Bar

As well as the Japanese style gyoza under the small plates you will find the Samosa wrap (£8.50) which is another dumpling dish. This is deep-fried pork dumplings which you wrapped in lettuce with avocado, tomato salsa and spicy mayo. I thought this was refreshing approach to eating dumpling and I felt it worked.

Gyoza Bar

Gyoza Bar

We tried the bao on the menu which are all served with lenkon chips (lotus root). These are like the Taiwanese/Japanese bao which has been popular in London these days.

Chicken katsu bun was breaded chicken in bun served with lettuce and tonkatsu bun. I found this breaded chicken dry and could not remember tasting any sauce. The char siu bun is char siu pork in bun served with lettuce and pickled jalapeno. Both steamed bun texture was not soft enough compared to London’s specialised bao shops. The only thing I liked about both the bun dish was the lenkon chips.

Gyoza Bar

The ramen noodle soup can not match place like Kanada-Ya, Ippudo or Muga. At Gyoza Bar all noodle soup comes in a choice of soy or miso broth. The miso broth was disappointing as the miso was not mixed in properly. So when I tasted the broth on the right side it tasted like bamboo or cane water. It was not until I got to the right side of the bowl that this was where I found the miso flavour.

Gyoza Bar

Gyoza Bar

We completed the meal with the Apple cinnamon dumpling with vanilla ice-cream (£4.50). It was a good concept but I found the filling was dry. It does not compare with a McDonald’s apple pie. Yes, how could I compare with McDonald but its true.

Gyoza Bar

In my view that if this is a gyoza bar then there needs to be a larger variety of gyoza or dumplings dishes. There are some good dumpling ideas on the menu and I feel that it should be the focus point. But the ramen section takes most of the menu and this seems to take the main focus.

If you want a traditional Japanese ramen then this is not the place, and I would suggest heading to Muga ramen, Kanada-Ya, Ippudo or even Shoryu. However, if you want gyoza then this could be a place to consider.

(Not sponsored. Menu and prices are correct at the time of dining)

Gyoza Bar
63-66 St Martins Lane,
WC2N 4JS,
London

http://gyozabar.uk