Japan Centre, which has relocated to Lower Regent Street, to stock up on some groceries over the weekend and decided to stop by Mitsukoshi Restaurant and Bar for lunch. A previous visit ended in disappointment as we turned up after 2pm and the last lunch order was closed for the day. So this time round, we made sure we were there way before then.
Once we got down the stairs (Mitsukoshi's dining area is in the basement level), it became apparent to us that most if not all of the customers in the half filled Japanese restaurant were Japanese. The food has to be authentic then and my expectation was upped a notch.
Mitsukoshi's layout was clean cut with a tinge of Zen feel - typical of a decent Japanese restaurant. The Japanese waitress quickly acknowledged our reservation and quickly showed us to our table. With light Japanese zither music playing softly in the background, we took a quick scan through the menu and was pleasantly surprised to find that Mitsukoshi offered a Children Bento (Okosama Bento) as well. That meant omuraisu (Japanese omelette rice)! We ended up ordering a main course each and sharing a Okosama Bento between us. Ah, such gluttony.
The Mitsukoshi Bento - £17 had quite a good mix of sashimi, tempura, nimono, fruit, rice, miso soup, pickle. As the Headmaster in Totto-Chan said, "Something from the mountain and the sea". The sashimi was fresh and the tempura (single prawn with other veg) was light to the taste.
The Tempura Teishoku - £13.80, with its three prawns and some veg, rice and miso did look a bit sparse in its presentation. I guess the we should expect to pay a premium for fresh seafood.
Then again, my lunch mate didn't have any issue with that and we started attacking the Okosama Bento - £8 very soon after. We noticed that the omuraisu was simply a scrambled egg laid on top of (instead of wrapping round) a scoop of rice. Other than that, the fish fingers and fried potato balls were delightful not to mention that the custard that came with it was rich and creamy. We could see how the dish could very well occupy a kid for quite some time.
Considering the ambiance, level of service and quality of food, lunch at Mitsukoshi, in our opinion, is really reasonably priced. The restaurant seemed to be rather popular with Japanese families, no doubt grabbing their lunch after shopping at Japan Centre just next door.
For more London's best restaurants, refer to Timeout London Eating & Drinking Guide.
Address: 14-20 Lower Regent Street, London SW1 4PH
Tel: 0207 930 0317
Nearest Tube station: Piccadilly Circus (get out Exit 3 and walk straight)
Ratings (out of 5 *)
Price: below £25 pp
Service charge: N/A
Suitable for: family lunches or somewhere to rest your feet after an afternoon's of shopping