Saturday, 19 May 2007

So Japanese

Cowie and I went to So Japanese in Piccadilly last week on the grounds that our TasteLondon card gave us 50% off and the menu had wagyu beef on it.

Typically, I arrived later being kept late yet again by work. Tom and Cowie were already sitting at our table surrounded by white walls and no other diners. They're going to have to offer even more than 50% off! Having said that many oriental restaurants often seem empty but somehow they must do OK...

The menu was very exciting... the wagyu beef, grilled over coals from Mount Fuji had been getting me going since Cowie had sent me the link 4 days previously. I remember Miles telling me all about the way that Wagyu cows are played Mozart, fed beer and massaged in order to create the most succulent beef you can imagine. Apparently all these embellishments help to disperse the fat throughout the meat giving it the marbled effect you can see below:

We started by sharing a tuna tataki, smoked duck and walnut salad and a delicious scallop and crab tartar. We were bowled over by the quality and freshness of the food. The tuna was simply sublime - delicate, light, straight forward. The duck salad got finished off almost as quickly but wasn't quite up to the tuna's impeccable standards. I got the impression the duck had been waiting around too long... like Cowie normally has to when we meet for dinner. The crab and scallop tartar was placed in front of me, which was very unfair on the others because they barely got a look in! Smooth in texture and subtle of taste this dish was divine. It must have used the freshest sea food imaginable. We also had some delicious tempura vegetables which were light and crispy and some super sushi and sashimi.

Between the 3 of us we shared some blackened miso cod and some sizzling wagyu beef. The cod was firm at first and then yielded with even the gentleist prod of a chop stick. It had clearly been cooked by someone who knows exactly what that are doing. I wouldn't be surprised if they had perfected it whilst working at Nobu. In fairness, the cod upstaged the wagyu beef, which was tasty and moist, but given its star billing, was a bit bathetic.

Throughout the meal we were attentively looked after by an excellent staff who had little else to do but make sure we were having the best time possible. It's just a shame that it was so quiet as some bubble and atmosphere would transform So Japanese into somewhere that wouldn't need to offer 50% off!

At 30 quid each, we were highly impressed with. Almost all of their cooking was excellent. And for the discounted price you can forgive them for the slightly iffy duck and the underwhelming wagyu beef. At full price however, you'd have to think carefully about whether it would be worth going back.

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