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Akari, a Japanese Izakaya on Essex Road is a hidden gem in an old converted pub. They’ve kept the wide wooden tables and bar area, still keeping the pub feel.

Edamame to start.

Gyoza disappointingly deep-fried and not pan-fried as I prefer, had the usual pork and cabbage filling. Always a favourite starter for Japanese food.

Salmon sashimi. Nice big chunks; got to be quick to get the snap – it’s every person for themselves when salmon is on the table. You snooze, you lose!

Chicken Katsu – Deep-fried chicken is my weakness. Hot, crunchy, fresh. Tang of mustard dabbed on top, a squeeze of lemon cuts through the richness.

Good for a quick afternoon snack, Akari gets very busy at night, bookings are your best best for securing a table. The food isn’t particularly amazing, but it’s reliable – the kind of local I wish I lived closer to.

http://www.akarilondon.co.uk/

Akari on Urbanspoon

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