Monday, 20 April 2009
Mura Japanese Restaurant, 10 Seymour Place, W1H 7ND
London is lacking in good quality Japanese restaurants, at least of the reasonably-priced variety. However, if you’re the type who has Kobe beef in sandwiches, of course you’ll disagree with the previous sentence.
When a friend mentioned that he was going to have dinner at a Japanese restaurant close to where he lives in town, the bf thought that it might be a good idea to go along and try out a new place.
There weren’t many other diners in the restaurant when we were there. At a guess, possibly 30% filled. However, if you thought you got in at the right time and that you’d be getting quick service, you’d better try that one again.
The waiter was one of those who didn’t beat about the bush.
‘You share? If sharing, order together, food comes one at a time.’
He wasn’t joking about that. The food did come one at a time. Perhaps even one at three or five other time (zones).
Japanese pickles £2.50 – crunchy aubergine, Japanese cucumber, daikon
This was the first dish to come to the table. Polite as ever, no one really touched it, thinking gleefully instead of their food which were on the way (oh so wrong). Five minutes later, some nibbling began. Another five minutes later, the plate was empty.
La di da …
Let’s have another look at the pickles while we’re waiting.
Chilli squid £3.75
By the time this dish arrived, everyone was past caring which dish was whose. It was pretty much first (chop)sticks first serve. The squid might look as though it couldn’t afford the full 15 minutes in the tanning booth, but despite that, it tasted good. Either that or we were too hungry to be judgmental.
Fried tofu £3.25
More commonly known as ‘agedashi tofu’, this is one of my favourite dishes in a Japanese restaurant. Deep fried tofu served hot, usually in a tentsuyu broth (made with mirin, dashi and sho-yu or Japanese soy sauce) and daikon.
This version required us to dip the soft little tofu cubes in the cup, which would have made for a hilarious chopstick-tofu-on-table-with-sauce sketch, if not for the fact that we were all Chopstick Extraordinaires.
Seared tuna £5.75
The starter ordered by my friend, which was really nice and tender. Each piece was nicely seared on the outside, and pleasantly pink on the inside as you can tell. Only 5 pieces though, so we had one each.
Yakitori grilled chicken £3.75
The secret ingredient that makes a yakitori really delicious is the little piece of chicken skin in between each piece of marinated, tender chicken meat. This one was really delicious, with the sweet and tangy marinade coming through the chicken.
Seafood salad £4.75
When I ordered this as my main dish (why did we not listen to the waiter’s advice), I asked for it to be served all at once, ie whatever was cooked first could be brought first.
I guess the kitchen took this to mean that it should be served half an hour before everyone else’s mains.
Which then meant that I had to pick at the dish, while everyone tried to not look at the dish, while I tried to not pick at the dish, while everyone was hungry. In any other circumstances (ie if we had a table full of food), I would have shared it with the others.
As it was, there was no food on the table at that point.
(Many many minutes and lots of chat later)
Seafood udon £6.75
This looked the biggest portion of all the dishes we had, and the 2 friends having this couldn’t finish theirs. I’ve had seafood udon in other places before, although they didn’t look that similar to this one as it looked almost like it had been mixed in sauce rather than stir-fried in it.
Chicken katsu £6.95
Deep fried chicken, served with Japanese curry which is a much milder version of the curry commonly eaten. The bowl of rice that came with the dish was so small, I had to peer into the bowl to see if any rice came in it.
Beef teriyaki £7.69
The beef pieces were very tasty, with the slightly sweet, slightly tangy, teriyaki sauce as a bril accompaniment. Though it could have been slightly more tender, at this price, it was quite good value (without the waiting, preferably).
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