This article is one of a series of reviews of Japanese Restaurants in Soho.
Japanese restaurants are great venues for dates with girls. They have a pleasant, low-key atmosphere, far less stuffy than going fine-dining. Japanese food is really healthy, so the girl will be happy to get stuck in. And there are plenty of fun things about eating Japanese – from trying chopsticks, to sharing sushi, to pouring each other’s sake.
Every guy should be aware of the best restaurants in his city and it’s important to show a bit of imagination; going to the nearest Yo! Sushi is acceptable in an emergency but you’ll get extra credit for knowing somewhere cool.
If you go back to the same place a few times you’ll start to get to know the staff too. This means that when you go in there with your date you have some friendly faces around – and you’ll look popular and sociable in the bargain.
In this series I’ll review all the Japanese restaurants in Soho that I go to. You’ll find everything from the most expensive and highly-regarded to the cheapest and most cheerful.
The Restaurant: Miyama
The Address: 38 Clarges St, Mayfair, W1J 7EN
How to Find It: Walk down Picadilly towards Hyde Park Corner. Clarges St is halfway down on your right.
Alex’s Rating: **** (out of *****)
Miyama is a smart Mayfair restaurant very popular with the Green Park / Berkeley Square business set. It serves the usual Japanese fare with a strong focus on quality service and the freshest ingredients. They have a sister restaurant in the City which combines a Steak bar, Sushi bar, Teppanyaki bar, main restaurant and private dining rooms.
1. The interior is pleasant: tasteful Japanese artwork on the walls; crisp linen tablecloths; attractive crockery.
2. The service is good: pretty, friendly waitresses and the requisite sensei overseeing everything and bowing goodbye at the end.
3. Excellent food, probably the best sushi I have ever had. In particular the salmon-avocado roles are exceptional: creamy avocado, fresh salmon, just-crispy nori, perfect sushi rice…
1. It’s bloody expensive! My brother and I had a decent portion of sushi and sashimi, a miso soup and a couple of green teas – the bill was £75. And this was at lunchtime.
2. For the price, it’s rather low-key inside. It’s attractive, but you may be surprised at the spotlights, disposable chopsticks and simple decor.
If you’re feeling flush, and fancy some of the best sushi in London, then Miyama is the place for you. The food is fantastic and there’s a really nice unpretentious atmosphere inside.
And yet it’s hard to know exactly when you’d choose to go here. It’s too calm and corporate to go for a sushi-and-sake blowout with the lads. And it’s not the place for a date with a girl either – it’s not cosy and it’s too bright and stark to create any sort of romantic atmosphere.
So Miyama is a curiosity. It’s the sort of place that you’d love to go to for lunch everyday: great food, simple attentive service, unstuffy atmosphere. But at forty quid a head it’s for special occasions only. I just can’t think of a special occasion that it would suit.