Although we had plans to go to Eat Tokyo for dinner (our second attempt), we got sidetracked and ended up next door at Kyoto Restaurant instead. I was in the mood for sushi and I had read good reviews for this place. Our welcome was friendly and as we had come bang in the middle of dinner time on a Friday evening we were given the table right next to the door, where we had to side to side. Not the most comfortable seats in the house but it gave us a great view of the sushi chefs at work.
I was torn between sushi and noodles. I had planned on sushi but the greedy monster inside me demanded noodles. One of each surely be over the top? I settled for the Kaki Fry (deep fried oysters at £6.50) from the appetiser section and the dragon roll. I love deep fried oysters and when I have Japanese with my mother at home, we usually have an order of this. However, I was really quite disappointed when it arrived. Each oyster had been cut in half! It made the dish look bigger but it meant that every delicious bit of oyster succulence was gone - deep fried out. Like most deep fried foods, one always looks for a crisp exterior and a juicy centre. Not for these oysters here. Other than that the dish wasn't too bad. There was a reasonable number of oysters. Fried, perhaps, a little too crisp. There was also little bits of potato crisps served with the oysters with a little dish of donkatsu sauce.
As we were being seated I saw an order of the Dragon Roll (£7) being sent out and knew that I had to order it. I think it was the eel sitting on top of the roll that did it for me. The roll was a basic Californian roll (crab stick, cucumber and avocado) but that the eel and the sauce really did make it more delicious. I'm not quite sure what the sauce was, the menu stated it was iso sauce, whatever that is. Slightly sweet, it really complemented the eel.
Stuart stuck to his standard order of Californian Roll (£4.80), which were slightly smaller than mine but with the same filling with an extra bit of tobiko rolled into the rice.
As his main, Stuart had another favourite - Chicken Yakisoba (£6.50). We were both slightly surprised when it arrived. The noodles looked like the stuff out of an instant noodle packet with its slight curve in the noodle structure. Whilst we assumed that the usual buckwheat flour noodles would be used, the restaurant used the term 'soba' a bit more generally to mean thin noodles. Although it tasted alright, there was a bit too much thick cut onion and beansprouts was barely cooked with a very evident raw flavour. Stuart, who is usually so easy to impress, was barely satisfied on this occasion.
The sushi here is definitely very good and the prices rather reasonable. However, after having lived in Vancouver, where sushi and yakisoba is plentiful, cheap and reasonably good, Stuart has found it a little hard to adjust to what can be found in London. If we ever make it back here, we'll be sticking to the sushi and leaving the food from the kitchen well alone. What also irked me slightly was that although there seemed an adequate number of waiting staff, service was slow. No one brought us menus until I asked for them and from our vantage point in front of the sushi bar, we also noticed how slow the completed dishes was being picked up by the waiting staff and sent to the tables. No doubt service is friendly, but the pace should really pick up.
26 Romilly Street, London W1D 5AL
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