We went for Japanese the other week and it was delicious. Even yummier with the 30% off the food bill from Toptable. It's not often that we have a good Japanese meal other than a quick bowl of noodles and we have a lot of that and it's boring! So with the pending meal at Nizuni, I laid down a few ground rules:
- No noodles (a no-no when there are so many other yummy things that we can order)
- No rice (same rule as noodles but sushi is OK because sushi is sushi)
Agedashi Tofu - my order because I love it. But before I could even say "Boo!" SM had gulped two thirds of this down. Believe me I was horrified! First, I thought we were sharing this meal and secondly - keep off my special dish!! It turns out SM thought this was miso soup (SM's special order). It left me slightly speechless. Seriously, how does someone who had lived in Vancouver for a year and pratically lived on sushi and Japanese food get agedashi tofu and miso soup mixed up? Totally not impressed. The dish was nice though. Light crisp batter, yummy salty tentsuyu broth. My only little niggly complain would be the use of firm tofu. I missed the silken smoothness I would usually expect.
Beef Tataki with pear gherkins, capers and ponzu sauce - as it came so well recommended. It looked really weeny when it arrived. OK, let's go instead with 'delicate'. It sounds much nicer. The serving may have been small but it was delicious. The beef was utterly tender, the capers and gherkins lent a lovely tang. Two thumbs up.
Tempura Moriawase - because anything deep fried is always welcomed at our table. Light as air batter, crisp and none of that heavy greasiness. The vegetables retained their veggie integrity and the prawns had that lovely fresh crunch.
Nasadengaku. Aubergine, good. Miso, delicious. Aubergine with miso, vegetable bliss. SM and I are very fond of aubergine and the nasadengaku was spot on. Not too oily, not too salty, not too sweet. Just a complete balance of flavours.
I was a little surprised when SM agreed to a order of Sashimi Mori Ni - the chef's selection of 14 pieces of sashimi. Normally the closest SM would get to a piece of raw fish would on top a blob of sushi rice. Surprised as I was, I wasn't about to disagree. The serving was generous and the fish very fresh. I'm a happy bunny but there is a little matter that confuses me. No matter how many times I look back on my photos of this dish, I can't make out how the serving is 14 pieces. I'm pretty darn sure it's 15! The scallop that the chef cut into 3 pieces instead of 2 :) I gain 1 extra bit ... apparently.
The salmon skin make rolls with spicy mayonnaise (sakekawa) were a bit of a hit and miss. A hit with with SM but a miss for me. The skin was chewy and really too much of a bother to enjoy.
The Dragon Roll, on the other hand, with its fresh crab meat, cucumber and avocado topped with eel was supremely good. The roll on its own would have been nice but it was the eel that made it.
Sweet, rich with a slight char from the grill. So, so good.
Our food came out in 2 lots with the maki rolls and the sashimi coming out slightly later than the rest. Not that it really mattered since the first few dishes came out really quickly but I was stuffed even before half our meal made it to us. I know SM was gleefully hoping I would concede defeat but seriously, that was never going to happen. Me? Concede food defeat? Never!
Overall it was lovely evening. Food was good and the staff were friendly but slightly slow at times. The downsides would be the table arrangements - with all their space, they could surely leave a little space between tables? I heard every bit of conversation both our neighbours were having. It gets more than a bit uncomfortable after awhile. Also, they might want to rethink their flooring. We heard and felt every thudding step every member of staff and every customer took past our table.
Other than that, it was all good. Really :) It does get a get a little better thoug. The bill came to a total of just over £70 for the two of us without drinks and with the 30% discount we paid about just over £50. Rather good I should say. Don't you?
22 Charlotte Street, London, W1T 2NB