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The windows, all fogged up from the warmth inside, hid the small, claustrophobic restaurant from sight. It hid it so well anyone could easily pass it by without even realizing anything is there. Specializing in “Japanese tapas”, the place certainly is reminiscent of Japan. Not only due to the size and the fact that you share a cubic meter with 5 other people, but also due to unusually high number of Japanese customers.

Location: Kirazu, Soho, London

Head chef: Yuka Kikuchi

Cuisine: Japanese

Camera: iPhone 6 (I know, the quality of my pictures has suffered lately)

I have long said that London has a problem when it comes to Japanese restaurants – very few compare to the actual deal back in the homeland. Even more, Japanese restaurants these days tend not only not to employ Japanese staff, but I rarely see any indigenous customers. We ended up here by chance alone, hungry and not able to find a free table – and it was a great sign the moment I heard Japanese being spoken all around me. From the staff to many of the clients – including a very rowdy and drunken group of Japanese salary-men at one table – it just made it feel much more authentic.

The chef, Yuka Kikuchi, can be seen busily cooking behind the kitchen counter, which is part of the room – adding to the general Japanese feel of the place. My co-foodie had a bit of a chat with him and was told to look him up in Sidney. Why do I never get invited anywhere?

You get a list of all the food and you just get to tick off whichever you want – pretty straight forward. The Calpico I had was great – you’d think that they would all be the same, but this one was fizzier than most which just added that extra oomph to what is a usually delicious beverage produced by lactic acid fermentation. The food was pretty good too – the tempura batter was crisp and nice, the chicken teriyaki was amazing – but there were a few hits and misses, one or two over-salted dishes and the fish roe thing we ordered was just nasty.

Maybe I just dont like roe.

PS: Can’t remember the prices because Yi paid for the food. Thank you Yi!

Grade: Sainthood

Kirazu on Urbanspoon

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