5 of the Best: Omakase Menus in LondonBy Angelica Malin
Omakase meaning “I’ll leave it up to you”, is the Japanese tradition of letting the chef take control of the entire meal – from appetisers to dessert. Common practice in Japan, the omakase menu allows the chef to showcase seasonal ingredients through a series of inventive dishes and special sushi. Fancy a memorable dining experience? Here’s 5 of the best omakase menus in London:
The Lowdown: Jidori in Covent Garden put together a smashing £30 per person menu which showcases the whole chicken, and takes you on a personal journey of Head Chef Shunta’s memories of food from his home town of Tokyo.
Eat: The menu is designed to share and you’ll feast on home made Japanese Tsukemono pickles, tuna sashimi served on tempura nori, grilled Maitake mushrooms as well as trying the whole chicken skewer by skewer. This includes the succulent thigh with burnt leek, minced chicken with a raw egg dipping sauce, chicken breast marinated in sake, liver served with bacon bits, and hearts and crispy skin. The meal ends with Ochazuke, a comforting mix of rice and seasoning topped with roasted green tea and chicken broth (a perfect digestif). Finally for desert: coconut water sorbet with elderflower infused sake.
Where: 15 Catherine St, London WC2B 5JZ
The Lowdown: Housed in a Grade II listed, Art Deco building, Japan House London is a cultural centre offering experiences of the best and latest from Japan. The in-house restaurant, Akira, opened recently and offers 2 different omakase menus: a robata omakase and sushi omakase.
Eat: At dinner there’s an option to get the standard 3 course omakase menu or get the extended 5 course menu. The robata menu includes an assortment of sashimi, vegetables and side dishes, wagyu beef and mixed sushi-yaki grilled skewers as well as some sushi and soup, priced at £60. The sushi omakase includes assorted sashimi, side dishes and vegetables as well as wagyu sushi and an assorted selection of more sushi (again priced at £60). The extended 5 course menu available in the evening only for £75 per person.
Where: 101-111 Kensington High Street, London W8 5SA
The Lowdown: Sushi Tetsu is considered one of the most authentic sushi restaurants in London, owned and run by husband and wife Harumi and Toru Takahashi. With just 7 seats, it’s often got a huge waiting list, and is notorious for being one of the hardest restaurants in the UK to snag a booking. The restaurant offer 2 different chef’s omakase menus: sashimi and sushi, or just sushi – both priced at £96.
Eat: Expect a quality selection of hand-roll, nigiri sushi and sashimi as well as the chef’s special sweet omelette. All sushi and sashimi is made using the best fish available on the day, chosen by the chef, and is served with the best knowledge and construction of taste.
Where: 12 Jerusalem Passage, Clerkenwell, London EC1V 4JP
The Lowdown: The Araki in Mayfair is the London outpost of the celebrated three Michelin star Tokyo restaurant. Another small venue with 9 seats, each counter seat faces sushi master Mr Araki himself. The no-change Omakase menu costs £300 excluding drinks, and uses mainly European fish with a few luxury touches like Beluga caviar and white truffle from Alba.
Eat: The Araki is one of the only places in London where you can eat edomae sushi (authentic-style originally invented in former Tokyo over two hundred years ago). The restaurant doesn’t serve tempura, meat dishes, karaage or teriyaki, and instead serves what Mr Araki is known for: sushi.
Where: Unit 4, 12 New Burlington St, London W1S 3BF
Photo Credit: The Skinny Bib
The Lowdown: Engawa is a petite, posh Japanese dining room in Piccadilly, serving Kobe beef (often called the ‘caviar of meat’) in various cuts including sirloin, rump, fillet, rib-eye and oyster blade steaks as well as a creative selection of sushi, sashimi and sake from the open kitchen. Engawa have two omakase menus – a 5 course menu at £85 per head and a 3 course menu at £65 per head.
Eat: The 5 course omakase consists of a daily selection of appetisers chosen by the chef, followed by an 11 piece assorted sashimi collection (6 pieces of fish, five of veggies), and the chef’s daily dish. Next up: Japanese wagyu steak and to round things off, a dessert platter.
Where: 2 Ham Yard, Soho, London W1D 7DT