Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Edokko review - privacy in the Holborn Japanese restaurant


Address: 50 Red Lion Street
London WC1R 4PF
Tel: 020 7242 3490
Nearest Tube station: Holborn

Ratings (out of 5 *)
Price: below £30 pp
Service charge: 12.5%
Taste: ***
Service: ****
Ambience: ****
There are only a couple of Japanese restaurants in London that greet you in Japanese when taking a reservation. Mitsukoshi and Edokko are two of them. While Mitsukoshi are often filled with Japanese tourists heading to Mitsukishi shopping centre along Regent Street (I wonder why the Japanese would go to a Japanese mall in London), Edokko, located quite a distance at a quieter part of Holborn, is more subdued.

Unassuming and discreet would aptly describe Edokko. One could easily walk past the restaurant along Red Lion Street without noticing it. It’s not exactly the place where you would ‘walk-in’ for a meal. The lack of publicity probably contributed to why Eddoko was barely half filled whenever we visited. Which is just as well for Edokko, in my opinion, is a hidden gem.

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Food aside, Edokko’s strength lies in the subtlety in its ambience. You would almost sense the zen in the restaurant the moment you step right into the restaurant. That’s only on the ground floor. The real deal lies on its first floor. Tatami mats lined the raised floor with sunken in foot rests.

Erm, there’s no holes for your feet

“Erm, but there is no holes to put your feet,” a staff replied when I requested for the only private room Edokko has. This one private room comes without any foot rests. Perfect for those looking for a bit of privacy and don’t mind sitting cross-legged.

We got Edokko’s ‘special dinner set’ when we first visited it two years back. It used to go for £35 per person (min 2 persons). This time round, we noted that the price has increased to £40. Having taken a bite earlier, the three of us decided to go ala carte instead.


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Shake chazuke (£4.80) – green tea with rice on grilled salmon and imago chazuke (£7.80) – green tea with rice on grilled eel were rather interesting. Both came with pots of green tea, which were promptly emptied into the bowl of rice when they were brought to the table. It reminded me of some fish porridge that I came across in a food court in Singapore – fish on rice with a ladle of fish soup over it. I thought that the tea took the edge off the salmon and eel. A stomach filler but rather underwhelming.

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Wife was raving about Edokko’s nabeyaki udon (£13). According to her, Edokko’s is one of the few places that serves it in London. Other than a single strand of udon, she refused to share it with me. It must be really good then. It could be that London was hit by a heavy downpour not to mention a chilly wind that night but the warm flavoured soup did cheer her up quite a bit. The udon? Its texture rivals that at Koya’s.

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We were quite disappointed with the stewed belly pork (£6.80). It came across as a tad tough and heavily flavoured with aniseed.

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The agedashi tofu (£6) was of the correct variety; we were understandably paranoid after our experience at Crane and Tortoise. I thought that the tofu dish was overpriced compare to say the rice dishes. Will give this a skip if I were to return.

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It was getting a bit warm in the room and the Little One was kicking up a fuss when the softshell crab and tuna roll were served so I couldn’t really recall exactly how they turned out. But Wife said later that they weren’t spectacular so I guess I didn’t miss much.

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While we weren’t awed by Edokko’s food this time round, having a private room (on tatami mats, no less) to ourselves was a treat. Imagine enjoying a hot broth with green tea and sesame ice-cream for desserts in the dead of winter. That’s definitely something worth looking forward to.

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4 comments:

TomEats said...

Shame the food didn't quite match up but sometimes (as here) the whole experience (and foreign - ness) goes a long... way

I am also impressed at your cross legged abilities. No matter how much yoga I do it still hurts :)

C K said...

@Tom,
the private room did it for me here. Hah, eating cross legged comes as a natural for me.... all those hours munching on tidbits in front of the TV finally paying off... :)

rss said...

Dude, your wife would only share a single strand of udon? Time for a new wife

C K said...

@rss,
Well, considering that I refused to let her touch any of my food... she was rather generous. :)