Sosharu – Jason Atherton’s Japanese in EC1

Creative cuisine in Clerkenwell

An izakaya (Japanese gastropub), Sosharu serves innovative Japanese-inspired dishes, in a minka (traditional, wooden house) themed interior that is informal, intimate and calm.

We start our evening in the basement cocktail bar, 7 tales, where it’s 2-for-1 on cocktails and we are the only customers. We order Way of the Warriors and One Eye Dragons. I’m smitten with the Japanese toilets with all the gadgets and warm seats – great on a cold, winter evening. I’m already transported back to Japan and happy holidays…

Our table for two (reserved well in advance) is ready so we return upstairs. The lighting is very low and although the tables are a bit small and crammed together, there’s a feeling of privacy and spaciousness due to all the decorative wooden wall dividers.

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Tuna temaki (top left), sea bream sashimi (top right), assorted sashimi, crab salad (bottom)

We’re pretty excited as we’re celebrating our anniversary. Our waiter is equally excited and talks us through every item on the menu, twice over, before eventually leaving us to read it.

The menu is split into different sections – sashimi, chilled, temaco, tempura, bento boxes, hibachi grill, classics, and noodles, with chef’s seasonal favourites (cf) helpfully marked as such in each section. For ease, you can order a tasting menu of seven plates @ £45.00 per person.

With help from our waiter we order a cold saké (36 PeopleJunmai @ £48.00) and choose our own tiny cups from a lovely saké cup selection box. Saké might be strong, and it might seem expensive but the small cups really help slow you down! It seemed like a never-ending bottle, and being cold, crisp and clean went really well with the food, cutting through the oily fish flavours nicely.

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Sake, bream sashimi and grilled miso cod

We order something from most sections of the menu:

Assorted sashimi: 6 pieces of tuna, salmon and yellowtail @ £24.00

Chilled:
– bream sashimi salad with crispy potato (cf) @ £13.00
– cornish crab salad with fried blood orange and miso dressing @ £12.00

Temaco: 2 x open tuna temaki with scallion tobiko, sushi rice, avocado + fresh wasabi @ £9 each (cf)

Tempura – karaage: fried chicken with lemon + salt @ £8 (cf)

Hibachi grill: wagyu rib-eye beef with ginger + garlic crisps @ £30

Inspired by classics: miso grilled Cornish cod, sweet soy, cod gyoza, monks beard @ £19

The sea bream sashimi salad was so carefully composed, it was almost a shame to eat. And quite difficult to share. The assorted sashimi was a stand-out dish for me. As was the Cornish crab salad which had real novelty factor with its beautiful fried, crispy blood orange arrangement.

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Wagyu beef

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Fried chicken

The design of the tuna temaki was something else – art on a plate, while the wagyu beef wasn’t particularly special, nor was the fried chicken.

We’re pretty full but we’re celebrating and can squeeze in a dessert. And so we do: a coconut rice with mango for K and an apple kakigori (inspired by tarte tatin) made of fresh apple, caramelised compote, salty caramel ice-cream, shaved ice and Calvados foam for me (both @ £9).  K’s rice pudding was served in two dishes which looked spectacular but didn’t really go together and was well, just a bit odd.

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Coconut rice dessert

The serving of the apple kakigori was also theatrical with the Calvados foam being sprayed on last, at the table. It didn’t look very appealing but once the ice shavings started melting and all the flavours started blending together, it was absolutely divine.

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Apple kakigori

The verdict: The food is innovative, fancy and pricey (our meal for two came to £249.75). That’s all part of the experience. We felt very well looked after and really enjoyed the low-lit (dark), wooden interior style. I can’t imagine rushing back here any time soon when there are numerous other Japanese restaurants in London I’ve yet to try, but this was a thoroughly good, enjoyable dining experience.

Restaurant info:
– Lardbutty rating: 4 / 5
– Type: Japanese
– Address: 64 Turnmill St, London EC1M 5RR
– Nearest station: Farringdon
– Website + menus: Sosharu website
– Photos on flickr: images of Sosharu food
– Location: Sosharu map

Sosharu Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

LardButty in Berlin – The Bird

The Bird in Berlin – saving the best til last

This is the one we’ve been waiting for. The big one. Our last – and hopefully special – dinner out. A little piece of America in Berlin.

The Bird may not look like much from outside but don’t let that deter you. There’s a whole happy cavern overflowing with meat and beer awaiting inside…

 

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The Bird – outside dining on a chilly eve

 
Our table is reserved and waiting for us when we enter, but only for two hours. It’s a busy restaurant and we’ll be booted out when our time’s up, so we’d best crack on, starting with a round of dark köstritzer schwarzbiers (@ €3.50 per half litre) and an entertaining read.

It’s a good menu, short and specialised: the food is serious and the tone lighthearted:

 

At least try eating the damn burger with your hands. All you uptight people with forks and knives are driving us crazy. And for God’s sake don’t order your meat well done… menu cheekiness

 
It’s all about the meat – a variety of burgers and steaks (you choose the weight and how you’d like it cooked) with the best beef being imported from the States.

Because ‘bigger steaks are better’, the advice is not to order a thin, little steak each but to share a bigger – juicier and tastier – steak with others. Our waitress was super helpful and guided us on portion sizes.

 

IMG_6482 Chicken wings

 

We share sticky chicken wings – six pieces @ €4, and a da woiks burger, medium rare with Cheddar cheese @ €13 as starters. D’s been here before and enjoys sitting opposite us, watching our faces. We’re in raptures, mumbling things about “best chips ever…” and “seriously amazing burger…”. Chip miracle

 

How they’ve made them the *best* chips ever, I don’t know. They’re really well done with a slightly crispy outside but are perfectly soggy too. They look almost burnt. But they’re not, they taste amazing. It’s a miracle – a deep-fried potato miracle. That’s all there is to it.
 
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Köstritzer schwarzbier

 

IMG_6486b_FILLET 300g fillet steak with best ever chips and spinach

 

The joy of steaks
We share two steaks – both cooked medium rare – between the three of us: a 300g fillet steak @ €54 (it’s €18 per 100g) and a 500g New York strip @ €62.50 (it’s €12.50 per 100g).

 

IMG_6487 500g New York strip with best ever chips and salad

 

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Slices of fillet and New York strip steak

 

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Da Woiks burger Cheese (stilton), mushrooms + bacon with skin-on fries

 

For those who don’t mind the wait and crush at the bar, there’s an Angry Hour – buy one get one free on beer between 6 – 8pm (only at the bar). We preferred the chill-out, table-service option – full price being €7 a litre (that’s £5.85 for 1.8 pints, not bad).

The only *slightly* disappointing thing about this restaurant is the two hour turnaround on tables (it’s advisable to book ahead as it’s very busy, even on a Sunday evening). But as it says on the menu: …we ask for your patience and understanding. If you have none, please go elsewhere, this isn’t the place for self-important whiners The tone of the menu clearly gives you an idea of the kind of place it is: special yet not taking itself too seriously. It’s down-to-earth, with no pomp and ceremony, and is easy to feel at ease here.

Oh. Did I mention the best chips ever?

 

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The Bird re-visited – May 2016

 

Restaurant info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 4.5 / 5
~ Type: American (in Germany)
~ Address: Am Falkplatz 5, 10435 Prenzlauer Berg
~ Tel: +49 (0)30 5105 3283
~ e: info@thebirdinberlin.com (or for reservations: thebirdreservations@gmail.com)
~ Nearest station: Schönhauser Allee -S and U
~ Website: The Bird in Berlin website
~ Menus: The Bird in Berlin menu
~ Photos on flickr: images of The Bird in Berlin
~ Location: The Bird map

 

RELATED LINKS
 

More Berlin dining:
 

~ Auszeit – good for brunch in a scenic spot
~ The Bird – simply the best chips ever + amazing meat. Go! what are you waiting for?
~ Makoto – great donburi at this Japanese noodle bar
~ Oranium – sausage-fest breakfast treats
~ Porta Nova – favolose Italian restaurant in Mitte
~ Volver – Spanish tapas restaurant
~ Zitrone – good brunch spot in Kreuzberg