My excitement levels when I heard Jason Atherton was opening another eatery not far from my stomping ground were pretty high. It’s billed as an Izakayu-style restaurant (posh Japanese pub in other words): I was further intrigued as it was a far cry from his usual ventures. Pollen Street Social being my personal favourite.
Taking over the old Turnmills site, Sosharu takes its lead from the legendary nightspot with its moody, dark lighting. The similarities stop there as the huge space is carved into sections by large wooden latticed partitions and staff with Evisu aprons create a very slick and hip vibe.
We arrived at our table straight from the restaurants basement bar 7 Tales. We were pleasantly surprised by the underground Tokyo-esque drinking den, so had high hopes for our evening meal. You can read all about 7 Tales here.
The menu is divided into many different sections and a lot of the dishes are classed as small plates, creating a casual sharing dining experience. We ordered a number of dishes and first up was the open temaki – tuna, scallion tobiko, sushi rice with a squirt of spicy mayonnaise (£7.50). It looked more like a Japanese version of a taco and from the oohhs and ahhhs I heard from the fish corner, it was a real hit.
As one type of tempura is never enough, we went for three – avocado, broccoli and squid.
The avocado with dashi soy was delicious (£6), but the winner for me was the broccoli doused in the most glorious spicy kimchi dressing (£5). Pimped up tempura is where it’s at! The squid tempura came topped with papaya, spring onion and chilli (£12).
The fried goodies were nicely followed by the asian pear and avocado salad with tofu dressing and toasted sesame seeds (£12), which was beautifully flavoured. It rebalanced the tastebuds with its crisp, clean and creamy texture. Almost feeling like a palette cleanser.
The grilled asparagus, smoked tofu, tomato and dashi jelly (£11) was a wonderful mix of fresh flavours and textures.
One of the prettiest dishes was the scallops, nori, sweet potato in white ponzu sauce (£12). And the smoked octopus and seaweed salad (£15) was a hit with Mr S finding it very succulent and devouring it in super speed time.
The tepanyaki kobu-jima cobia with pickled daikon, cucumber and sesame (£14.50) was beautifully and delicately presented. Perfectly cooked and tender.
The dish I’d been waiting for, the hot yamagata soba noodles came with vegetable tempura, daikon oroshi and ponzu dressing all came in separate pots.
Sporting a deconstructed style. The noodles are made fresh in-house and were scrumptiously nutty in texture (£18).
Our finale was the mushroom dashi with pickled mushrooms and mitsuba (£16). For a pot so large I was surprised at the small amount of rice I ended up with. Delicious of course, I was left craving more.
And we couldn’t leave the place without sampling their sweet treats selection. First up was the strawberry kakigori with strawberry and sake jelly (£8), which came in a bowl of crushed ice.
I watched as a young lady expertly crushed the ice with a metal Japanese contraption and delicately constructed the dish.
Along with the Japanese rice with coconut mango (£8) and the genmaicha matcha tea (£4) we were in dessert heaven.
Jason Atherton’s foray into the world of Japanese cuisine is very impressive. The venue is slick and trendy and the food exciting. I’m not usually one that raves about Japanese food, being vegetarian, I find that options can be fairly limiting – Not the case here. I’d definitely be back again perhaps to try the lunchtime menu for two which includes six dishes for a very tempting £29.50 per person.
Do you enjoy Japanese cuisine? Do you have a favourite Japanese restaurant? Let me know in the comments box below.
Sosharu | 64 Turnmill Street | London | EC1M 5RR
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