Murakami // Japanese Izakaya.

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I love Japanese food – I’m no connoisseur but I do enjoy good sushi and have found most of the Japanese dishes I have really enjoyed, have been outside of London. In fact, outside of the UK.

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Being back in London has had me wanting to retrace my steps…you know, pop into all of the local places I used to when I worked in Mayfair, stroll down Mount St, grab my coffee from Pret on Conduit St…and weave in and out of the crowd through Covent Garden. It made me think actually, when I was working and wanted to go for a good Japanese after work, there wasn’t many places that I came across where service was quick, staff were polite and you could sit down in an ambient setting whilst enjoying good sushi.

Come to think of it, none. I would have to either pick up sushi at lunch and (most) casual sushi bars are packed with an all-white clinical look about them (not exactly inviting), or it would be a planned dinner in the city where you know you’ll get great sushi, but have to make the reservation well in advance and suffer a hit on the bank balance for dessert.

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So when I heard that Murakami on St Martin’s Lane has been relaunched, with a slightly quirkier side to the menu and an inviting interior, I was interested.

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I popped in to give it a try, and if I were to be completely honest, I was thinking that perhaps I’ll get good sushi, but there’s usually not a good ‘in-between’ where you can get quality for taste and presentation, value for money, and a good atmosphere.

I was surprised. I walked in to a buzzing atmosphere with warm inviting decor – and looking around, diners looked like they were not only immersed in good food, but also good conversation. everyone just looked as though they were having a great time!

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The service was efficient but not rushed, and the food was at our table in no time with each dish being explained and I loved that we were given some good suggestions. The staff really wanted to share their favourites with us which was great! I also really appreciated  staff explaining certain dishes with particular drinks which is super helpful for those less in the know when it comes to Japanese Izakaya dining.

Note: Izakaya the name of a style of Japanese eating establishment in which an assortment of delicious delicacies are served to accompany the finest Japanese beers, lager, wine and whiskey as well as Sake. I’m new to this one too.

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We started with Popcorn Tempura which came with a spicy yuzu mayo and soon went on to a quirkier dish recently added to the menu: Citrus Green Roll. I was hesitant for good reason. I know it sounds interesting but a sushi roll dressed with Maple Sauce and finished with puffed rice just doesn’t sound right. Not to mention it had slivers of lime added. Interesting combination. Amazing flavour.

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The slightly sweet flavour of the maple sauce against tuna and avocado is so moreish but the added rice flakes take it to a different place completely. It was divine-and the perfect dish between slightly hotter spicier dishes!

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Next up was the King Roll – a flame seared roll with tempura prawn, aioli and tobiko. I wasn’t the only one raving about how good this was this at the table. As a suggestion, we were told to try this without any dipping sauces to really enjoy the flavour-added bonus that you can sit and view your meal being cooked in Murakami so I saw this flame-seared which added to the enjoyment!

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Dessert even surprised me. I’m not big on Japanese desserts but the Rum Chocolate cake was insanely good and I have never experienced a vanilla cheesecake ice-cream that actually has a biscuit base to it. Try the Matcha cheesecake with the ice cream for a double dose of indulgence.

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Definitely a place I would visit again as I loved the flavours and ambience. The decor is stunning with a warm inviting feeling. Worth a try if you’re around the area!

Worth a try: the knock-out signature ‘Murakami Cosmo’ with Cremorne Colonel Fox Gin, Cremorne Badger Sloe Gin, and Apricot Liqueur.

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With Love… Me x

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