A London Japanese Journey


One of the amazing things about being a blogger is that you get the opportunity to experience really interesting, original events and to discover venues and people that you would probably have not come across otherwise. It gives me pause (in a good way) that so many of the bloggers I have had the chance to meet through Hecticophilia and through Nuffnang have become good friends and it’s a constant inspiration for me to be surrounded by so many creative and ambitious people.

This weekend was one of such opportunities to take things offline for once and meet up in person with bloggers I’ve been chatting with over social media for the last few months. The event? A foodie trail across central London (Soho, Tottenham Court Road, Marble Arch) called the Japanese Journey, which celebrates the 6th edition of the London Restaurant Festival.

The premise was to visit six Japanese restaurants in six hours, for a different small plate of food in each and a cocktail courtesy of Suntory Whisky. My comrades in crime in this adventure were the lovely Miho from Wander to Wonder and Ai-Pheng from The Trishaw and frankly, I just had the best time: delicious delicate food, great conversation and a leisurely stroll between each restaurant kept us so busy and entertained that somehow that afternoon together just slipped away.

Here is a little photo-diary as usual, please jump on below for my overall impressions and recommendations!

London Restaurant Festival Japanese Journey 1

London Restaurant Festival Japanese Journey 2

London Restaurant Festival Japanese Journey 3

London Restaurant Festival Japanese Journey 4

London Restaurant Festival Japanese Journey 5

London Restaurant Festival Japanese Journey 6

London Restaurant Festival Japanese Journey 7

London Restaurant Festival Japanese Journey 8

London Restaurant Festival Japanese Journey 9

London Restaurant Festival Japanese Journey 10

London Restaurant Festival Japanese Journey 11

London Restaurant Festival Japanese Journey 12

London Restaurant Festival Japanese Journey 13

London Restaurant Festival Japanese Journey 14

London Restaurant Festival Japanese Journey 15

London Restaurant Festival Japanese Journey 16

London Restaurant Festival Japanese Journey 17

London Restaurant Festival Japanese Journey 18

I really loved every single item of food that I tasted as part of the Japanese Journey and it was a fantastic opportunity for me to get more acquainted with that cuisine. Tonkotsu was the only place that did not steal my heart because although the gyoza were delicious, it was the smallest selection we had to sample plus, we were sitting outside so it didn’t feel like a restaurant experience as much as it did in every other venue. So, where and when will I be back?

With a friend to catch up over a heart-warming ramen: Shoryu Soho and Kanada-Ya
With someone I want to impress for little plates of delicate perfection: Chisou
With my mom and sister for a playful menu to share : Sticks’n’sushi
With a group of friends for a feast: Kurobuta

And if you feel up to the challenge of the Japanese Journey, I would recommend that you go too! The last trail is this Saturday October 25th and you can purchase tickets here for £63 or for £50 if you’re an Evening standard reader (voucher) or American Express card owner.

With the quantity and variety of food on offer and the courtesy cocktail at each venue (which I would advise swapping once at every other stop with a matcha or green tea if you want to stay standing!), I definitely think that this foodie tour is worth every penny. It’s a fantastic and fun way to spend an afternoon with friends and next year I’ll be sure to have a peek at the other themed trails like Ciccetti, Chinatown, and Tapas.

Finally, I thought it would be nice to close this post on a little Japanese trivia! Did you know that: When you enter a Japanese restaurant, the staff will greet you with a very loud welcome: irasshaimase! You might be surprised to find garlic or sesame seeds at your table, it’s for you to grind in your food. If you enjoy your ramen then you need to slurp loudly to show your appreciation, as is the custom. I don’t know if you can tell but Japanese cuisine has me really excited now so what’s next? A sushi-making class and a cookbook probably, I’m already looking!

I hope that you enjoyed this Behind the Scenes at the London Restaurant Festival and I encourage you to check out the posts from my fellow foodies on this adventure: Miho and Aipheng, whom I mentioned above and did the Japanese Journey with me, and Alida, Federica and Angela who did the Ciccetti Trail! All of their posts should be up today or tomorrow!

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9 Comments

Miho
October 21, 2014

You took some seriously stunning photos - the guy preparing the fish is amazing! Love your Japanese trivia too :) x

Rosie
October 21, 2014

That food all looks incredible - wish the trails didn't finish this Sat/that I'd known about them sooner, would've loved to have done the Japanese one but think I'm going to be a bit busy in the kitchen this Saturday!!

Rosie xx

Charlotte Steggz
October 22, 2014

Holy moly that looks amazing! I'm putting this on my to-do list!

Honey @ The Girl Next Shore
October 22, 2014

I'm so bummed I'm missing out on London Restaurant Festival this year, it looks great, Jesse! As always, your photos are amazing! =)

Suntory whiskies are yum! Aaaand another new ramen joint that's opened in London is Ippudo. It's one of my favourites (in New York, Singapore & in Hong Kong). I hope the one in town won't disappoint!

Jesse
October 23, 2014

Thank you for your all the kind comments!
@Miho: I loved your post as well, and it was awesome to finally meet you in person!
@Rosie: I know, it’s a shame! You most certainly are on kitchen this Saturday and I can’t wait to see the magic happens :) I’ll bring my camera!
@Charlotte: Glad I made a convert! I’d definitely recommend it :)
@Honey: Ah! It’s not like there aren’t most important things on your agenda! Thank you for the tip, I’ll definitely check it out - I’ve decided that ramen is the supreme winter comfort food xx

Iris
October 26, 2014

Your pictures look really stunning! I now wish I could go back in time and do the Japanese trail, too. Besides, Sticks 'n' Sushi is one of the best places I've eaten in in London...I'd be a regular if I could afford it :P

laura
November 13, 2014

I love Japanese food. Its my absolute, last meal before I die food.

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