EDOKKO: BUNG THIS IN YOUR FRIDGE WILL YOU LOVE?
You have to love my friend Nick.
I can’t think of a single person I know, other than him, who would walk into one of the most echt Japanese restaurants in London and hand the waitress a bag containing his take away from Itsu with the request that they shove it in the fridge while we had our meal. Top man. It’s like walking into see Picasso and asking him to do a quick sketch copy of that picture you just got in Athena of a woman in a tennis dress scratching her arse. I think they call it hutzpah.
For all that, the waitress never batted an eyelid and was sweetness itself not just then, but throughout what turned out to be one of the best Japanese meals I have had for a long time.
Edokko sits on Red Lion St, that little road that runs between Holborn and Theobald’s Rd. It is one of those old school Japanese places that often intimidate the Sushi novice. No dayglo frontage here. Instead, austere wooden siding. A small menu with little in English could put off the less adventurous and the offer of “sunken tables” in the upper dining area, while a relative novelty in London, could throw many. Particularly those like me who keep Odour Eaters in business.
However, Edokko is certainly worth the effort. We had not booked, so had to sit at the small bar. Which gave us the opportunity to see meals being prepared for what was almost entirely an ex pat crowd.
We did not stray too far from my favourites and Nick was happy to tag along as I ordered some a few dishes to begin
Excellent tempura with the shrimp being a big hit and better than I have had in a long while . Some deep fried tofu had the requisite crunch on the outside and a pleasing silkiness inside . While, a couple of bowls of Miso padded out with strips of tofu were a suitable restorative after our walk over in the drizzle and cold from Holborn.
Nick particularly liked the chaiwan mushi, that slightly odd savoury custard with bits in it. I thought it the weakest I have tried and certainly not a patch on that at Sake or Matsuri. However, this was the only weak spot in what was otherwise a meal of a very high standard.
Equally impressive was a small selection of sashimi which includes, sweet shrimp, octopus, mackerel and sea bass.
Unusually, however, it was not the sashimi that really took my fancy as we also ordered a selection of nigiri which included fatty tuna, sea bream, salmon roe and, best of the lot, my favourite uni (sea urchin) The only one that did not pass muster with Nick was the maki roll of Natto. Let’s see if he finds anything better in his take away bag.
It was just a relatively quick supper and, after we finished with some green tea, we asked for the bill. I do not know how much it costs. I suspect, with a beer and a small jug of warm sake, about £100 for two included service.
Not cheap, but well worth a visit. You can always go to Itsu afterwards if you are still hungry.