Japanese

Japanese-Restaurants

A couple of the greatest pleasures from blogging are the wonderful folks you meet and the experiences you may not have considered if the blogosphere hadn’t introduced them to you. Both coincided a couple of weeks ago when Emma invited me to join her along with Angie and Jen for lunch at Aqua Kyoto.

Located on the fifth floor of a building on Regent Street (its entrance is on Argyll Street) I would never have happened upon Aqua Kyoto by accident.

Its beautiful interior immediately made me feel I’d happened upon a hidden gem in the West End; this definitely isn’t a place you stumble across by accident. And meeting up with three fabulous bloggers isn’t something I get to do every day, so this lunchtime felt like an absolute treat.

We were there to try Aqua Kyoto’s Go Zen lunch menu which won me over instantly. Go Zen is a traditional Japanese meal which includes a selection of seasonal dishes. Aqua Kyoto’s Go Zen bento boxes included 12 meat, fish or vegetable dishes while their Shojin Ryori vegan selection is something that Buddhist monks in Japan are traditionally known for.

After the miso soup, which was very good, the Kyoto Go Zen bento boxes arrived and included wagyu beef, black cod, sushi and seasonal vegetables. To experience the vegan bento box, the four of us shared the Sohjin Go Zen. It’s difficult to say what I enjoyed the most because the whole meal was pure delight. Each dish was beautifully crafted and their flavours were both rich and satisfying.

Dessert was also very special. We had ordered the Chokoraito Delisu and Foresuto Froa between us for a taste and I enjoyed the surprising bursts of flavours from each dish. The Chokoraito Delisu involved smoked chocolate delice, sesame praline, kaki fruit, sorbet and ginger wafers while the Foresuto Froa was created from a ‘forest floor’ yuzu oba leaf cream, almond praline, chocolate and azuki bean paste with sour cherry sorbet.

Japan is a country I hope to visit one day but for now I could happily eat Japanese food all day. And as for the wonderful ladies I dined with, I could catch up with them every day too. So if you’re looking for something new to try Aqua Kyoto’s beautiful Go Zen bento boxes are quite special.

Aqua Kyoto, 5th Floor, 240 Regent Street, (Entrance 30 Argyll St, W1F 7EB), London W1B 3BR

We were guests of Aqua Kyoto.

One of the most iconic food places in London has to be Harrods Food Hall. It is a veritable feast for the eyes and tastebuds. So when I was invited to review Pan Chai, I accepted with glee.

I popped in for a working lunch. The atmosphere was buzzy as always and the staff seemed instantly warm and charming.

Pan Chai, Harrods Food Hall

We started our lunch with Champagne cocktails …

Pan Chai, Harrods Food Hall

… and for starters, I had the tempura dish …

Pan Chai, Harrods Food Hall

… while my guest had vegetarian sushi rolls. Pan Chai, Harrods Food Hall

We both thoroughly enjoyed the start of our lunch and when my main arrived, the excitement of the surprising spectacle matched the delightful freshness and flavours of this fantastic selection of sushi and sashimi.

Pan Chai, Harrods Food Hall

We were both intrigued about her tofu steak dish, which admittedly took a little longer than mine to arrive. But when it did, again we were pleasantly surprised and my guest was very impressed with her choice.

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Overall, I had a very satisfying lunch at Pan Chai. I enjoyed everything I tasted and loved the atmosphere. I can’t compare Pan Chai to the other offerings in the Harrods Food Hall but I can definitely recommend it if you’re after a contemporary Pan-Asian meal.

Chelsea Girl

There are plenty of firsts in a mummy’s life and being the foodie that I am, I feel compelled to document Little Man’s first use of chopsticks.

We were at Bone Daddies in Kensington Whole Foods when it all happened.

Bone Daddies Kensington

It was a quiet Sunday evening when we decided to give this place a try for the first time.

Bone Daddies Kensington

Normally we head to the main food court when we’re at Whole Foods so we can all have something different. But this time both the OH and I fancied noodles.

Bone Daddies Kensington

Tonkotsu Ramen

We didn’t think about whether there’d be something else for Little Man to have and eat with a spoon — like rice, for instance.

Bone Daddies Kensington

But being the trooper that he is and clearly into the idea of trying something new, Little Man got stuck in. It was a challenge he devoured and I think he enjoyed.

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As for Bone Daddies, it was very pleasant. I was informed that the Tonkotsu Ramen was dairy-free even though it tasted creamy because it had been cooking for 20 hours. This still didn’t prepare me for the velvety texture of the ramen’s broth. So smooth.

With our noodles, I enjoyed some sake whilst the OH sipped his beer.

Bone Daddies Kensington

I also enjoyed the soft shell crab starter and the … Bone Daddies in Kensington

… pork and black truffle gyoza.

Bone Daddies Kensington

All in all, Bone Daddies is a great place for anyone looking for good noodles. Whether you’re with kids, on your own or with some pals, it’s a lovely spot to grab a bite to eat in Kensington.

Bone Daddies Kensington

Bone Daddies, 63-65 Kensington High St, London W8 5SE

Chelsea Girl

Itsu has arrived on King’s Road and it seems like everyone has been waiting for it. When I walk down the road around lunchtime now it’s guaranteed I’ll see a parade of Itsu takeaway bags, it’s great. Itsu on King's Road

Admittedly the first couple of times I walked past the store, I was put off by the crowds. But on Thursday the queues weren’t bad at all so I picked up some lunch, which included my favourite salmon box. I also discovered the fruit superseed smoothie; normally blended at the counter, I asked if I could take it away unblended (so I could take a photo of it before mixing it up). The smoothie includes a superseed mix, coconut milk, banana, apple, dates, pineapple and strawberry to be blended with ice.Itsu Lunch

I know Itsu has been around forever but I still can’t help being excited. I love this place and most of all it’s great to have somewhere that doesn’t just focus on sandwiches or pasta since Mori closed.

Chelsea Girl

Cherry blossoms are one of my favourite reasons to love spring. So when I was invited to try another season of Sakura at Sake no Hana, I leapt at the chance.
Sakura at Sake no Hana

If my visit last year was anything to go by, this was an opportunity to enjoy dining in a beautiful environment whilst tasting an inspired menu. I knew I couldn’t miss it.Sakura at Sake no Hana

Sakura means cherry blossom so until June 20th, Sake no Hana has been transformed into a gorgeous cherry blossom garden. And during this time, a limited edition Sakura menu allows diners to enjoy dishes and cocktails inspired by cherry blossoms. Doesn’t this sound heavenly?Sakura at Sake no Hana

Our meal started off with the Violet Risshun, which is a gin-based cocktail of two parts to represent the start of spring as well as the period when the season is in full bloom. Sipping this cocktail was effortless. It was both smooth and refreshing. I loved it.Sakura at Sake no Hana

Fiona and I then had a bowl of white miso soup each …

Sakura at Sake no Hana

… followed by a dish of sesame spinach with cassava chips … Sakura at Sake no Hana

… whilst the bento box included a range of sashimi, nigiri and maki.

Sakura at Sake no Hana

Like the signature Sakura cocktail, dessert came in two parts:  Cotton Cheesecake with cherries, cream cheese and cherry sorbet …  

Sakura at Sake no Hana

… followed by Cherry Blossom macarons, which I enjoyed with a flat white. There is cherry tea on the menu too, which I have tried before and which I remember enjoying.

Sakura at Sake no Hana

But the reason why I ordered the coffee is because I wanted to see if Sake no Hana’s coffees were as good as their cocktails. Good coffee in London still feels like a novelty so I was happy when my flat white arrived tasting rich in flavour and feeling velvety as I sipped it.

Sakura at Sake no Hana

If you are in the St. James area and are in the mood for spring then I recommend Sakura at Sake no Hana. Sake no Hana’s cocktails are consistently very good and I have always enjoyed eating here!

Chelsea Girl

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