Finding a Japanese restaurant in London that hits all of my criteria is proving harder than originally thought. I have a few favourites, but more often than not, Japanese restaurants in London fall into one of several categories: ‘Too expensive’, ‘Too inconvenient’, or ‘Just plain crap’. Nizuni was a restaurant whose name I had mentally filed away as a place that may meet my criteria that includes but is not limited to being good value for money, having quality food, pleasant interior and a convenient location.
One Saturday afternoon, sick of the crowds on Oxford St; it seems like a good time to finally hit up Nizuni. What the website does not mention, is their lunch specials that include bento boxes, and the usual assortment of Katsu curry’s and the like.
Standard miso soup to start, bit light on tofu, pleasant none the less.
I opt for the Pork Katsu don. Nizuni’s version is one of the more beautiful versions I have seen in London, the food arriving in what I can only assume is a traditional wooden bowl. The pork is crunchy and the rice plentiful. Thick slices of a cold omelette are on the side along with lettuce leaves, a potato croquette and crunchy tangy pickles. That shiny smooth grey thing in the middle? A soy-marinated quail egg. I only worked this out once I bit into it. Up until then I thought it was a weird olive….
The chicken teriyaki bento box also provides good value with more slices of omelette, gyoza, more pickles and another croquette.
Annoyingly, it must be mentioned Nizuni’s website contains many of the so-called features that annoy me the most about restaurant websites, namely flash, the main section containing all the information pop-ups once you click on the Nizuni name and auto-playing music. Gah! So very annoying and not at all iPhone friendly. The menu also appears divided up into various sections. Should you click on one of said-sections, an option to download the menu as a PDF appears, but only for that one section. Less I say anymore on what should or should not appear on a restaurants website, I will leave the last word to The Oatmeal who is able to express things much more consisely, coherently and humerously than I ever will be able to.
A frustrating website aside, the lunch offerings were solid enough to make me want to come for dinner and experience the ‘real’ stuff ie sashimi, maki rolls, and agadeshi tofu. Depending on what you order, you’re looking at 10-15 quid for lunch at Nizuni. Perhaps slightly too pricey for a regular lunch, but compare the lunch offerings here to what you would get at Yo Sushi for the same amount of money – there really is no comparison.