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There is one thing all Montcalm Royal London House guests have in common, and it is the knowledge that London is one of the best cities in the world. However, what all those guests may not have in common is their reason for thinking that. For some, London’s architecture is the major feature drawing people in. For others, it is the hectares and hectares of green space that is accessible despite what a bustling metropolitan business hub London is. For many people, though, the pull is the food. London has roughly over 39,338 food service establishments – the kind of gasp-inducing number that makes you want to join a Montcalm Hotel London membership system to make sure you can just keep coming back. Well, realistically, you might not get to all thirty thousand odd restaurants, but we can make one thing simple for you: where to go for the best Japanese food.
ROKA is the cream of the crop of Japanese dining in London. Ro means friends, while ka describes an all-embracing energy, and the name ROKA could not be more fitting for the feel of the place if you tried. There are four locations across London: one in Aldwych, one in Canary Wharf, one in Mayfair and another on Charlotte Street – each offers as much flavour and ambience as the other, it is all about whatever is most convenient for you, depending on where you stay. The type of Japanese cooking being served is Robatayaki, which is a way of cooking that is similar to barbecuing, where the food is cooked at varying speeds over hot charcoal. Though the main a la carte menu will make you wish you could order everything and not be too full to get out of your chair, the sushi menu is also a triumph. Be warned: chilli sauce on the hireniku no hirikara yakiniku dish takes no prisoners.
Address: 71 Aldwych, London WC2B 4HN
4 Park Pavilion, 40 Canada Square, London E14 5FW
37 Charlotte Street, London W1T 1RR
30 North Audley Street, London W1K 6ZF
This restaurant appears underwhelming from the street – a short walk from Mornington Crescent tube station, it sits casually alongside Chinese take-away shops and a corner shop. However, once inside, you realise that it is one of the best places in London to get Japanese food and somewhere you will consider a landmark of the cuisine bursting with character from the moment you taste your first dumpling amidst the half-timbered walls, black lacquer tables and 1970s-style red banquettes. Named after a district in Tokyo, this restaurant pays a wealth of respect to Japanese food and really does the cuisine proud.
Address: 265 Eversholt St, Kings Cross, London NW1 1BA
Chisou Sushi and Izakaya
This two high-end beacons of delicious Japanese food in Mayfair and Knightsbridge are two of the most shiny gems from the areas – which is saying a lot, considering that both areas are total treasure troves of dining options. You can tell from the atmosphere as well as the food that everyone on the Chisou Sushi and Izakaya team loves the cuisine. The food is all authentic, with dishes like pan fried, wild-caught Alaskan scallops on a miso butter sauce and Wagyu Steak Teriyaki. This is not a spot to be missed, so make sure on one of your nights in London, when you aren’t making the most of the fare at The Brewery London, to b-line for this foodie’s paradise.
Address: 22-23 Woodstock St, Mayfair, London W1C 2AR
31 Beauchamp Place, Knightsbridge London, SW3 1NU
Kintan Japanese BBQ
Japanese dining is expansive and varied, with some people preferring the raw fish sushi type of eating, and others swaying towards dining experiences like the Japanese self-BBQ, known as Yakiniku. It is quite a fun and exciting way to eat, where at places like Kintan, you are provided with an array of vegetables and meats to cook yourself at the little hob at your table. Their fresh selection of seafood and meat makes the decision of what to order difficult, but so deliciously worth it once you find yourself frying your slices of Wagyu beef. There are two locations in London, and both offer all you can eat deals on Sunday’s, as well as two-for-one specials on weekdays from 2pm until 5pm.
Address: 34-36 High Holborn, Holborn, London WC1V 6AE
21 Great Castle St, Marylebone, London W1G 0HY
Though relaxed in atmosphere, Zuma is a very upmarket restaurant which offers up authentic Japanese izakaya style of informal dining with a sophisticated twist. Though informal in terms of the cooking methods, there are no compromises being made on quality or flavour – this is the best of the best when it comes to Japanese fare. The flavours of the east are paid the utmost respect in order to produce food which pays homage to the traditions of the past. The menu is lengthy and may cause you some difficulty – you are going to want a bit of everything. If it makes things easier for you, every dish is delightfully packed with flavour and intensity, so you can rest assured knowing that whatever you pick is likely to be wildly impressive and bold. You will also be relieved to know that izakaya style means that dishes are designed for sharing, so if you order strategically you may well be able to try a lot of what the menu has to offer.
Address: 5 Raphael Street, Knightsbridge, London SW7 1DL
Part of what makes the food scene in London so special is the variety – it is an absolute melting pot of cultures and cuisines. From the heights of The Aviary bird-themed restaurant and bar, to the French bistros along the River Thames, every cuisine or theme you can imagine is firmly planted somewhere in London, serving up meals with such authenticity in some places that you would hardly know you are in Central London rather than Kyoto.