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

Mochi Cafe 萬豚屋, Hong Kong

Mochi Cafe is located in Tsim Sha Tsui and specialise in eating Udon soup that is served in a hot stone bowl.

You place your order by marking it on an order form and handing it to the staff. The order form is written in Chinese. So if you don’t know how to read Chinese characters then you probably want to take a local with you who can.

There are variety of udon which the menu is titled as handmade udon. I ordered their black sesame pork udon soup, where the pork chop is coated in a black sesame instead of a normal batter coating. The pork chop was tender with a slight crispy outside with the taste of black sesame.

It was good that the pork came separate from the udon soup, otherwise it would had been a soggy and over-cooked pork chop. The udon soup itself was piping hot and the broth was full of flavour.

萬豚屋 Mochi Cafe

(Not Sponsored. Menu correct at the time of dining)

Mochi Cafe 萬豚屋
G/F, 19-23 Hart Avenue, Tsim Sha Tsui
尖沙咀赫德道19-23號地舖

Ichiryu

The team behind Shoryu Ramen bring us their latest venture, Ichiryu Hakata Udon House which specialise in serving freshly made udon. For those who are not familiar with udon, it is another type of noodle which is white, thick and chewy. It is usually served as a noodle soup like ramen but in a much lighter broth.

The restaurant is located near Tottenham Court road tube station and offers the option to eat in and take-out. However, the menu is limited for take-out so not all udon are available to order.

On my first visit I decided to use their take-out service, where you can walk straight to the tills and place your order. The waiting time was not long for them to put together my order and that is what you want to expect from a take-out service, especially when you do not have much time for a lunch break.

Ichiryu

I ordered the Tempura udon soup (£10), which came with two big prawns, kamaboko fish cake in a tsuyu bonito soup.  As it was take-out the tempura coating was soggy by the time I got back to the office. But the presentation was still looking fairly good when I open the lid.

Ichiryu

On my next visit I decided to eat-in as the Tonkotsu udon soup (£11) was unavailable for take-out. It consisted of BBQ pork slices and ontama egg in tonkotsu pork soup.

I felt the texture of the udon was nice and chewy. I preferred the udon over my first visit which had a much more sticky texture.

The broth was rich in flavour and the highlight for me was the ontama egg. The runny yolk made it great to dip the udon. Just how I make my udon soup at home!

Ichiryu

Ichiriyu offers a range of tempura which you can additional order to go with your udon.

Ichiryu

With my tonkatsu udon I ordered a portion of prawn tempura (£3.80 for 2 pieces). This is served on a separate plate which meant it did not get soggy in the soup. The tempura batter was crunchy and definitely better not sitting in the soup.

Ichiryu

Ichiryu is a casual canteen style dining place and the service I got for both eat-in and take-in make it a place to consider for lunch. Although, a bowl of udon soup at Ichiryu is at a price that is comparable to Koya Bar, I still think it is expensive. This would have to be a lunch treat for me as I could not afford to spend £10 every day for lunch.

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

Ichiryu
84 New Oxford Street,
London,
WC1A 1HB,
UK

http://www.ichiryuudon.com

Koya

I have only recently heard about Koya, which specialise in Udon (a type of Japanese noodle). It is not the first place in London that serves Udon but you do not see many place here that specialise in freshly made Udon. So I could see the excitement of people and a reason that there are queue of people wanting to try out what this place has to offer.

When we arrived there was a small queue outside the restaurant but we did not have to wait too long before we manage to get a table. To our delight we even got the counter seat area where it was facing the kitchen. We could see the action going on in the Kitchen.

The restaurant has been decorated simple and has this Japanese feel about it from outside and inside. All the tables and chairs are wooden and with the wall covered with the menu. It brought back those times when I was in Japan and the table sharing with unknown people also remind me of Hong Kong, as it was typical to be sharing tables in small restaurant.

The service was on a bit of a down side which I am not sure if it was where we was sitting was a bit separate from the main restaurant. But we had to call a staff to get a menu and to place an order. The only menu we could see was the special menu that was on hand written on a blackboard. We stuck to the main menu which was two sides. On side was the range of Udon on offer and on the other side are don (rice bowl), small dishes and drinks.

As Koya is known for Udon that is what we stuck to. There are a range of hot udon in hot broth,  as well as different variety of cold Udon. There are cold Udon served with hot broths or with cold sauce to dip or with cold sauce to pour. The range of cold Udon was appealing but I wanted to go back to the simple Udon soup.

I went for Buta Miso (pork and miso Udon soup) –  £8.50. Additional to this I decided to added Onsen Tamgo (poached egg) – £1.50, from the choice of extra topping. When it arrive it was a whole egg in it shell and I wad thinking could this really be a poached egg or when they mean poached egg it is just a raw egg. But to my surprise when I cracked it open there was a poached egg that slipped perfectly on to my Udon. It was cooked to my perfection with the yolk still a little runny. This is exactly how I like to have my Udon at home!

I thought the poached egg brought my Udon to live and made it more exciting. The pork was like braised pork that was covered with miso sauce, which took me a few wiggle from my chopstick to work out if I got the right Udon. The broth is a clear light one but my miso slowly mixed in to the clear broth to covert it to a miso broth which gave it a stronger taste.

The Udon itself was a chewy and was at the right texture so it was not too soft from being soaked in the broth.

We also ordered a Tempura Udon (Prawn tempura Udon soup)- £9.00. You get a giant King prawn that was beautifully fried in a light batter.

As well as Udon, we also tried the fish and chips (cod tempura and lotus root chips) – £7.00. This was a clever Japanese style fish and chips, that smell and tasted like you expect a fish and chips to taste like. With this dish you get a dipping which had an acidic lemony taste that comes with a small plate of chopped spring onions and radish to add to it, just like you do with cold noodle. This dipping was a good compliment to the cod tempura and the lotus root chips.

I do like the cod tempura as it was lightly battered and therefore allow me to still have the taste of smooth juicy cod. I much prefer this then a heavy battered cod!

For drinks we ordered the hot Japanese tea – £2.20 per pot. But there are choice of cold Oolong tea, hot ginger (according to the mean homemade), apple juice, coca cola and also a range of wine shochu, beer and sake.

Overall, a great experience which made me felt for a while I was on vacation in Asia somewhere. Although, the service was not totally on top and I probably be happy if had the choice to have not paid all of the £3.04 service charge for two. I would not say it is a cheap eat since the drinks and service charge can add up to easily go over £10 per head. But it has something different to it which you cannot find elsewhere in London at the moment. It will be interesting how Koya will be in the future………

Koya
49 Frith Street,
London,
W1D 4SG

http://www.koya.co.uk/

Tomatoes ketchup egg udon

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Ingredients:

  • Fresh tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • 2 eggs
  • Ham
  • Shallots (use onions if you cannot find shallots. But I prefer shallots as it has a lighter taste)
  • Udon
  • Tomatoes Ketchup
  • Salt/Pepper (for taste)

Methods:

  1. Whisk the 2 eggs together and then fried it in a heated oil pan to make scramble egg. Cook the scramble egg just right, where you can still see some moist and then put on to a plate one side to be use later.
  2. Cut in to small chunky pieces the fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, ham and shallots.
  3. In a heated oil pan add the shallots, fresh tomatoes, cucumbers and ham. and fry it for a while. Then add the udon* and mix together.
  4. Add the scramble egg made earlier and mix together.
  5. Finally, add tomatoes ketchup to it and mix it together. If you feel it require more taste then you can add some salt and pepper to it.

* If the udon has come straight from the fridge it might be quite hard, therefore I suggest you first cook it in boiling water to soften and this will make it easier to fry it.

You do not have to use the same ingredients, so you can have it with just vegetables with egg or substitute the ham for other meat of your choice. I have just grabbed ingredients that I could find in my fridge.