[Photo by cia_b from Writing With My Mouth Full] – I didn’t have my camera handy]
After a few drinks at the pub with old work mates in London’s trendy Soho, our tummies started grumbling. We needed food, and fast. But not fast food. No way, not on my watch buddy. I’ve only been persuaded once to go to KFC late at night, and I was very, very drunk.
I regret it unreservedly because people always remind me of it. I am the healthiest eater in the world, but no amount of whole grains, greens, tofu and soy milk will make people forget my late night visit to the Colonel’s dirty bird chain. I maintain that I was peer pressured. End rant.
So last Friday night I got to choose the place that soaked up the booze and I headed straight to my old favourite haunt, Taro. I used to work in Soho and Taro was a regular indulgence because I was craving fresh Japanese food like the stuff you can get easily in Sydney, but not in London. Pre-packaged sushi is sold in the supermarket here – yuck, yuck, yuck. Sorry Tesco’s.
First we gorged on 10 pieces of gyoza; perfectly steamed and grilled dumplings with a light pork and vegetable filling and served with soy dipping sauce. These are the best gyoza I’ve tasted in London, not as good as Asakusa in Sydney, but still really good. Since there were three of us there was an uneven number of pieces so I got an extra one, naturally. The Bear and Mr Bo didn’t mind at all, they’re lovely boys.
The spicy yakisoba was a mountain of deliciously chewy udon noodles stir fried with prawns, bits of grilled octopus and dried shrimp. It wasn’t that generous with the seafood and could have been more spicy for my taste, but then I love to have my mouth on fire.
Salmon teriyaki was the comfort dish that was expected with well cooked fluffy rice; a perfectly sticky yet separated texture that the Japanese do so well. The fish was soft and moist and the marinade didn’t over power it.
In contrast, I wasn’t very impressed with the chicken curry. It was heavy on generic curry paste with potatoes and carrots. Not my cup of tea, but Mr Bo seemed to enjoy it. Perhaps it was the large bottles of Asahi beer clouding his judgment, not sure.
Taro is very popular, and rightly so. In a town where Japanese food is fairly scarce and mostly badly done, it’s no wonder Taro is packed to bursting the majority of the time. The food is fresh, super cheap by London standards and smack bang in the thick of it. Follow up the meal with a walk through Soho’s sex shops, a film in Leicester Square, or empty your wallet at the nearby posh Regent street shops.
Happy eating, Christie
ps. What do you think of the site re-design?
59 Brewer Street
London W1F 9UN
Can’t get into Taro? Here’s some other good Japanese restaurants in the area:
Satsuma, 56 Wardour Street, W1D 4JG
JAL Sushi Bar, 5 Hanover Square, W1
The Japan Centre, 212-213 Piccadilly Circus, W1J 9HX