For me, Jason Atherton is one restauranteur that does everything right. I loved Pollen Street Social, City Social and Berner’s Tavern and when I heard he was opening an Asian restaurant I was super excited and immediately accepted the invitation to dinner at Sosharu with my blogger friends Steph and Ayushi.
The restaurant is based on an Izakaya, or a Japanese pub-style restaurant, a concept that is currently gaining popularity in London with other versions popping up in the city. The interior is casual but still sleek and is intended to replicate a traditional Japanese minka house and give a zen feeling of intimacy.
The name actually fits the theme of Jason’s other restaurants, meaning ‘to socialise’ and it would obvs be rude not to kick off our little social with bubbles for Ayushi and I and sake for Steph.
As Ayushi is a vegetarian we ordered a mix of fish and also lots of veggie options from the menu that reflect different aspects of Japanese cuisine such as sushi, sashimi, tempura, yaki grill and hibachi grill. Steph and I started with tuna, scallion tobiko and sushi rice open temaki – and it turned out that we were starting on a high as this was our absolute favourite dish of the night. Such beautifully prepared tuna, a thin layer of rice and delicious crispy shell. We only had one each but I could have eaten five of them!
Scallop tartare with peas, sesame and lemon puree was unlike anything I’ve ever had before in a Japanese restaurant. The raw fish was silky smooth and the puffed rice made a tasty contrasting texture.
Tempura broccoli with kimchi dressing was an excellent vegetarian dish, and despite being a vegetable it was hard to convince ourselves it was low in calories as it was covered in a delicious cheese.
A simple vegetable salad came with a tangy tomato miso but the star vegetable dish was a pale aubergine with an aka miso glaze. I’ve said before miso aubergine is one of my favourite dishes but often it can go horribly wrong and be overly sweet. But this was just the right level and not too saccharine, with the flesh of the aubergine being totally melt in the mouth.
Next was an incredible dish of sukiyaki wagyu beef, glass noodles, leeks and shitake mushroom which we cooked ourselves at the table on a bunsen burner type contraption. As you can see from the photos, the marbling on the beef was just exquisite and the sauce had a slight creamy texture without being overly heavy.
Ayushi had a light and fresh avocado salad with Asian pear topped with tofu dressing as we ate the meaty option. Where possible British produce is used and the dishes on the menu are seasonal, allowing for the freshest ingredients that can be sourced.
The mixed mushroom salad with salted kombu and toasted buckwheat was my least favourite dish of the night as I thought the mixture tasted a little gritty however the mushrooms will still firm and well-cooked, a similar dish at Yumi Izakaya a couple of weeks before was a little soggy.
Sea bream sashimi with shichimi crispy potatoes followed and it was another super dish with clean flavours and a zesty dressing.
An assortment of sashimi including prawn, lightly seared salmon and tuna was utterly delicious, though the portions of raw fish were a little small.
Though we were really full, the bloggers in us couldn’t help but order the highly Instagrammable matcha mille crepe and matcha sorbet. Sweet layers of pastry bursting with creamy matcha custard, we definitely did the right thing in ordering it – and that’s coming from someone who isn’t the biggest fan of matcha! After our truly sensational meal the waitress showed us Kisetsu which is kind of a mini restaurant within the main space, it’s a chef’s table where you can enjoy a tasting menu while watching the chefs at work. Downstairs is the bar, 7 Tales, which reflects the night time ambiance of a bar in Tokyo.
No surprises, but Jason Atherton has done it again. The restaurant was a hit for all three of us with a casual, fun atmosphere, out-of-this-world food and top notch service; it’s somewhere I’ll be returning to again and again. Rather excitingly, there will soon be a Jason Atherton restaurant in Victoria and I can’t wait to check out my new local!
64 Turnmill Street
EC1 M 5RR
020 3544 0822