A few Japanese places, London
• Soseki, The City
Many courses of mostly ordinary food. Rather than belabour the details (e.g. plain tasting raw fish, average batter on the tempura etc.), will focus on the (scarce) highlights.
A remarkably rich rounded sesame dressing on the daikon salad, truly a delight.
A mellow soup with fried monkfish and tofu, a smooth even underlying dashi perked up with just the right touch of orange peel.
Pretty and cute dessert, adorable bites: a Japanese rendition of tiramisu flavoured with matcha, a black sesame pot de creme with aromatic nutty flavours of black sesame. A sequence of William Curley chocolates: salted caramel, yuzu?, Japanese vinegar.
The interior of the restaurant is sumptuous, intricate textures and colours, but the food is nowhere special.
• Kyoto Sushi, Soho
Might be run by Koreans. Basic agedashi tofu, decent deep frying, a fine amount of dashi, lots of spring onion. An ok pork katsu don, eggs nicely on the soft side, but otherwise undistinguished.
• Cocoro, Marylebone
A fairly sweet scallop sashimi, pleasant and bouncy, but nothing like the multitextured rendition at Asakusa.
A satisfying seaweed salad, shreds of wakame amidst the rocket.
Loved the umaki -- moist interior of soft unagi, around it a softer layer of egg, then a crispy light tempura batter -- I'm a big fan of unagi and eggs and this takes good advantage of their flavour synergy. (Anyone seen una-tama-don anywhere? - rice bowl with unagi and egg - something I truly miss from a delicious all unagi dinner I once had).
Pretty good shiso tempura, puffy crispy coat on one side of the leaves.
A solid, filling onigiri with umeboshi, lively and sour.
OK dessert - sesame ice cream with dorayaki, thick (but not sufficiently fluffy) pancakes filled with sweet chestnut and adzuki beans - nice but nothing exceptional.
Overall, probably a notch or so below the nearby Tomoe, if this meal was any indication.
I've been to Soseki twice, first time last Sept and then last week. It's definitely gone downhill - last year did the 9 course sushi menu and it was very good, occasionally excellent. Last week, took advantage of the special offer, 11 course sushi kappo kaiseki menu for £25 per head. It was fine, nothing stood out particularly, definitely not up to the standard of last year although I would still categorise it overall as better than ordinary especially at that price point. They have a short but well chosen sake list, last year we had an excellent daiginjo, I forget the brewery and/or region.
Btw I finally made it to Kikuchi a few weeks back and enjoyed my meal, I'll post a reply to your thread at some point.