"It's not much but it's ours"

Friday, December 29, 2006


Two brothers, good. Two brothers and their father, even better.

As our younger sibling is down under drowning his sorrows at the pathetic attempts of the England team not to look pathetic, our father was going to be on his lonesome for New Year. We couldn’t allow that to happen, now could we?

So, a short train journey later and he was happily sitting on the sofa of Chez Hermanos and pondering on a weekend of showing the young folk how this eating thing is really done.

Given the presence of our respected elder we thought it only fitting that we try a cuisine from a country that is known for its respect for the more senior members of the population. Well, that could really be any country except the UK where we treat our more experienced people like crap. But, we plumped for Japanese.

One of my favourite places in town when I have both the urge and the bankroll for top notch sushi is Matsuri. The Holborn branch was closed, so we made a reservation for the original branch in St James which is predicated on Teppan-Yaki.

The room is cavernous and there must be at least 10 stations with 10-14 seats around each. It was filling up even at this early stage of the evening and the chefs were chopping and tossing with abandon to appreciative groups of families and friends.

I am no expert on such things, but know a smidge more than the other two so they left the ordering to me. Foolish really because, as we were being treated by daddy dearest, I decided to do the works.

To begin, a small bowl of Miso, which after the over indulgence of last night, proved hugely restorative.

Next, a sharing plate of sashimi with superbly fresh salmon, tuna, bass, squid and sweet shrimps. On top of some shredded carrots and daikon and dressed with shiso it was a good if hardly ground breaking selection.

Better, was the sushi. A selection of Nigiri and Maki included Uni ( sea urchin ) Unagi ( eel ) Soft shell crab hand roll and Yellowtail was exemplary but the flying fish roe hand roll was the real star and I was only too pleased to mop up my dad’s left over roll while he looked the other way. You snooze, you lose, Pops. There is no family loyalty in the food game.

Next up, probably the best tempura I have tried this year. A standard selection of vegetables and prawns but beautifully made.

Then to the main event. The Teppan-Yaki. DH chose a lobster tail and sirloin steak combination while our host went for a half lobster plate. The chef did his stuff. We all “ooh’d” and “ahh’d” as required and then tucked in. Very good it was too. Particularly the fat from the beef which he was going to toss away but we persuaded him to crisp up for us.

Well, given that we were going for the full schtick, we had to have pudding, a slightly scary ice cream “fire ball” which is as odd as it sounds and involved a few singed eyebrows. Harmless enough.

With a few boxes of Sake and some green tea for me (my body is a temple don’t you know? ) I thought the bill would reduce our inheritance by a significant amount. We were pleasantly surprised. £322 for three including service can hardly be called the budget option, but for the amount we ordered, the quality of what was presented and the location we were in, it represents good value. Definitely somewhere I would consider again.

So, not a bad start to the old man’s weekend and he is now sitting back on the sofa, whisky in hand and warning us that he has no intention of filling up on starters at The Angel Mangal tomorrow as it will stop him eating enough fatty lamb.

That's my dad. Like father, like sons
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