One of the best things about London is being able to find authentic food from pretty much any country or region. That isn’t to say though that there aren’t imitations. Unfortunately for every Asakusa, there are ten Wagamamas. Still, part of the fun of discovering new places to eat is in whether or not they will be true to form. One place I had heard about through the grapevine was Eat Tokyo. I’d heard several people say “this is the real deal” or “it’s the best Japanese food in London”. However I’m pretty critical of cuisines I know well, and I’d also heard some not-so-great reviews, so I decided to take these opinions with a pinch of salt. In fact I’d resigned myself to never visiting the restaurant “chain” (they currently have 6 locations in London). Yet last week V.A and I found ourselves unsure of where to go for dinner after our SHOW DRY salon visit. Low and behold, there was Eat Tokyo on our Zomato app with a 4.6 rating. So we decided to give it a go.
First off, let me say, the Notting Hill location is small. VERY small. In fact we were lucky enough to get the last table, right next to the front door. The layout of the kitchen and seats – this location features seats where you can watch the sushi chefs at work – reminded me very much of a typical izakaya. Even though the restaurant was full, the staff were efficient. We were given the ginormous menu (really guys, it’s too much) and took our time looking through it. I took charge and ordered a whole selection of my favourite dishes for the both of us, as V.A wanted to try something new. This included: Natto (fermented soy bean – Japan’s marmite), Unagi Don (grilled eel on rice), Wakame-su (pickled cucumber and seaweed), Agedashi Tofu (fried tofu in a tentsuyu broth), Salmon Sushi Rolls and Karaage (fried chicken). The chef also accidentally made us some natto sushi, which we were given for free.
As for the food, was it authentic? Everything apart from the wakame-su (it should have been sunomono) tasted exactly as I remembered it from Japan. The flavours and textures were all there, but something was lacking. Unfortunately whereas Eat Tokyo excels in bringing authentic Japanese dishes to London, it did not excel at bringing good quality ingredients and well cooked food to our table. The karaage wasn’t bad and neither was the age-dofu. However the unagi was overcooked and chewy, the sushi was cold, the natto didn’t come with a side of tare or mustard, and the wakame-su wasn’t pickled, and had ginger on top?! Overall not a great experience, but not one that I regret. I won’t be heading back anytime soon, but if I had nowhere to go I’d probably give them another chance.
You can read more of my restaurant reviews on Zomato.