Yesterday evening Philly dragged me from the National Portrait gallery into the rain, promising me a fantastic Japanese meal in a what would turn out to be a nameless little cafe just off soho. Inside people queued at the front desk, ordering their food from laminated menus pasted to the walls and the counter, the staff taking orders and cash (no cards here) both with good cheer. It was busy, a nice mix of clientèle slurping from great bowls of noodle soup or daintily dipping sushi into soy sauce.
We ordered the gyoza (pork dumpling) rice set meal, california rolls and green tea, the combined total outlay coming to a more than reasonable £8 each.
Sitting ourselves down at the almost retro laminate tables I furtively glanced at the table next to us, the smell of the dishes being consumed awaking further an already ravenous hunger.
The green tea arrived moments later, followed by small bowls of delicious miso soup; tiny delicate cubes of tofu floating gently with finely chopped spring onions. Almost without pause bowls of sticky rice and plates with six fat pork dumplings on each appeared in front of us. Complimented by the chilli oil and soy sauce poured from little pottery 'teapots' these were demolished with gusto, the flavours perfectly balanced. The california rolls arrived half way through this, and were equally delicious, the wasabi paste and pickled ginger enhancing the rolls of rice, tuna and cucumber.
The slightly bitter overstrong remains of the green tea helped cut through a meal that was delicious, quick and incredibly well valued. This sort of anonymous establishment is the sort of place I love, and part of me is thankful that we don't have a similar place in Bristol. Only part of me, that is.
Location details to come (I was incredibly lost by the time we got there) when and if I discover them.