Itadaki-Zen (King's Cross, London)

Chinese has for a long time been my favourite type of foreign food. There are elements of Japanese that I enjoy - udon noodles, miso, mirin, tamari, pickled ginger, shiitake, nori rolls etc but overall the cuisine's just never held the same appeal for me.

I'm fully open to the possibility that I've just not tried enough of the right things yet or that I've an underdeveloped western palate. Certainly there are a lot of Japanese ingredients that aren't widely available in the UK, which is why the prospect of trying Itadaki-Zen when it opened seemed like a great opportunity.

I obviously wasn't that excited though - instead of rushing down with my camera I randomly ended up there with a cameraphone one evening after work, approximately 3 years later! :)

The restaurant is a 5-10 min walk from Kings Cross station. I pleased to find it about half full, including Japanese diners (always a good sign).

Overwhelmed by the long list of options that frankly I have very little clue over I opted for a four course set meal:
02 Itadaki Course 2 £21.00
いただきコース2 麺セット
(Noodles Set)
3 Vegetable dishes with delicate dressing or special salt seasoning

6 Pieces of sushi (includes oriental herbs, seaweed, and wild plants)

・Harumaki (deep-fried or grilled on request) or Kakiage Tempura
・Seaweed salad
・Noodles with original soup

Itadaki Zen muffin
A light, soft and sugar free cake, made with Kabocha (Japanese pumpkin), jujube and chestnusts; top with tofu-vanilla cream.
What the menu makes sound like an awful lot of food actually isn't - it's about the right amount:

The first course was like eating canapes - each one a mouthful in size. Flavours were good; it was a nice start to the meal.

The sushi course looked good but sadly wasn't that great:

Mostly because each piece was practically the same - there wasn't enough variance between them. They didn't taste bad, but I have had better tasting sushi from supermarkets.

Even though I had no idea what a Harumaki is I required that it be deep fried anyway. After all, deep frying makes all things good. As it turns out they're just spring rolls:

Main course was OK. Again each of the dishes were tiny and I wasn't sure whether I was meant to be drinking the soup or pouring it over the noodles!

Dessert was weird but tasty:

No amount of airbrushing and filters are enough to make this shot look any more appealing!

All in all, the meal was OK. It was good to try some new things and the food certainly can't be described as bland. Overall I just wasn't particularly wowed by anything I tried though.

I will return however - there's a vast menu that I've yet to try before passing further judgement. I'll try to take a proper camera with me next time ;)


Post a Comment