It’s taken London some time to see beyond the realms of sushi and sashimi when considering Japanese food. Still, the good news is that the few restaurants that do combine food preparation with entertainment, just as in thousands of restaurants across Japan, the results are impressive. Better than many of the sushi establishments that dot the capital that’s for sure. So next time you consider eating Japanese skip the sushi an go hibachi.
Always popular and a great place for celebrity spotting, Benihara on the King’s Road offers an exciting take on Japanese dining. Bringing food and entertainment together, Benihara claims to have launched the food culture to the west when it opened a store in New York in the sixties. Hibachi courses of prawns, chicken, salmon or tuna filet steak are served at lunch or dinner in this Chelsea hotspot.
77 Kings Road, London, SW3 4NX
020 7376 7799
The super cool Roku is a great place to sit around the robata grill and watch seafood, poultry, meat and vegetables prepared in full view. In warm weather he glass walls open into the street outside creating a semi-alfresco setting for the media types which frequent the restaurant.
37 Charlotte Street Fitzrovia, London, W1T 1RR,
020 7580 6464
A sophisticated twist on the traditional izakaya, Zuma aspired to be simple and reflect Japanese traditions. Still being such a popular huge celebrity hangout and indulgently designer interior, a meal at Zuma is anything but minimal.
The robata grill allows guests to take a seat and see the chefs preparing dishes such as sake grilled chicken wings, jumbo tiger prawns with yuzu pepper and grilled asparagus with wafu sauce and sesame.
5 Raphael Street
London, SW7 1DL
020 7584 1010
A firm favorite with locals and celebrities, Jade Jagger and Cheryl Cole have both added some ultra-cool points to its credentials. It is also supposed to be the first restaurant Will Smith, Nicole Kidman, and Laurence Fishburne visit when they hit town.
But celebrities aside, meals prepared on the teppanyaki grill include wagyu beef, beef sirloin or a delicious salmon with French beans and shitake mushrooms. Sake lovers will revel in the diverse selection, which offers a variety of flavors, complexities and vintages, ranging from around £5 a glass to almost £1,000 for a carafe of Inochi Crystal.
26 Albemarle St, Westminster, London, W1S 4HY
020 7495 5999
5 Sake no Hana
The lounge bar tucked away in Sake no Hana’s sleek interior offers an elegant and intimate space. The bar menu includes a range of small dishes such as the king crab and rice cracker croquettes, broad bean karage, and char-grilled teriyaki chicken wings and a great selection of tempura and yakitori plates. A great and discrete place to get a taster of all things Japanese.
23 St. James’s Street, London, SW1A 1HA
020 7925 8988