108 Parkway, NW1 7AN
A new shrine has opened to Japanese food in Camden. It's located on Parkway, which is fast becoming a popular spot for new restaurants in the area. The dining room is small - there's only about 5-6 tables, but it allows for a cosy atmosphere with very attentive service.
Choosing the menu over a couple of pots of ocha tea, the five of us dining chose a range of dishes ranging from sushi to tempura, with meat and fish mains too. We started off with a few sushi dishes. We ordered sea bass nigiri, a soft shell crab roll and an uni roll. Firstly, the sushi rice was incredibly well cooked. This may seem trivial but is actually an incredibly important factor in producing really high quality sushi. The sea bass itself was very good, the fleshy, robust quality of the fresh fish really came through. The soft shell crab was even better, deep fried to a crunchy crisp whilst still maintaining the delicate, sweet taste.
Best of all for me was the uni (sea urchin) roll, a very unusual ingredient to find in the UK, but actually surprisingly tasty for such an unappetising look creature! I wish that it were available more widely in sushi bars here. The rolls were both wrapped in a crispy, dry nori (Japanese seaweed) wrap. The nori used added a nice crunchy texture to the dish, which contrasted with the soft, sticky rice and particularly with the almost pate-like texture of the uni.
|Front to back: Sea bass nigiri, soft shell crab and uni (sea urchin)|
|Soft shell crab roll|
For the mains I ordered tempura, which consisted of nice, thinly battered pieces of asparagus, sweet potato and prawn. It was light, refreshing and served, interestingly, with 3 different salts as well as tempura dipping sauce and yuzu relish.
We also ordered salmon teriyaki, black cod with miso (which Japanese restaurant can you not get this dish in now?) and chicken karaage. Everybody at the table seemed happy with their dishes, the ingredients seem to be of really high quality and generally everything was very light, which is unusual for a lot of mid-priced Japanese restaurants in London.
Overall, it's a really good option if you're up for Japanese in the Camden area. I think Koya still has the overall better food but this is still within that quality range. Plus, you can reserve a table and get a much more intimate atmosphere here. The portions are comparable to that of Japanese cuisine in Japan, but may appear small compared to other Asian restaurants in London. They were more than adequate for everyone in our group though, so I can't complain. It's not the cheapest option for Japanese food, but the food was highly authentic and of very good quality overall, and so does justify the price.
Photos by Nathalie.