This post is the first of the COMFORT FOOD SERIES in which I cover places around the UK that are great for a reminder of home cuisine in a foreign land.
What better place to start with other than London Chinatown? Smack in the middle of the SoHo district, it is one of those enthralling places that hold a special kind of wonder for me. Walking around its streets and being surrounded by all Asian restaurants and supermarkets immediately sets my heart at ease on those days when I am craving for the taste and feel of home…it is kind of like I’ve almost segued back into my comfort zone, allowing myself the precious opportunity to take a breather from quaint, historic York and recover a little slice of Singapore in this diverse, exciting district (in a culinary sense :p) again.
Misato is a well-known Japanese eatery on Wardour Street that serves up authentic Japanese cuisine at decent prices and generous portions. Don’t be fooled by its modest exterior; the moment you step in you realise that it is almost always bustling with crowds, and attracts a diverse mix of customers from students to working adults, as well as people from all over the world- Japanese, Chinese, Singaporeans, local British customers, et cetera…
Having been frequently reviewed in both online and mainstream media, it is no wonder that Misato is probably not one of London’s best-kept secrets. To guarantee yourself places, arrive early before the restaurant opens for business at 12 noon; there will usually be a queue waiting even before the doors open.
Japanese Katsu Chicken Curry Rice
Be warned; the serving portion for this is MASSIVE, and even if you were a guy you would probably have difficulty finishing off the entire plate. At about £6.90, this dish is definitely value-for-money, and you could even share the dish with a friend while ordering a few extra sides like sushi to fill your stomach up. The katsu chicken was fried and breaded really well, and the curry sauce wasn’t too sour or too sweet; it was warm and savoury and complemented the texture of the katsu chicken. Rice is fluffy and fragrant, and they’ve also thrown a bit of salad for a well-balanced meal (:
Prawn tempura udon
Unfortunately I couldn’t remember the exact price of this dish, but most of the main courses like this range from about 5-7 quid as well! Once again, the dish looks pretty unassuming in the photo, but it came in a pretty large bowl, and on a slightly cold autumn’s day this managed to warm me up (both literally and figuratively) substantially. I’m really particular about the texture of the noodles when it comes to udon soup, and I’m pretty sure the udon here was hand-made, which contributed to its springy texture (just the way I like it)- not too soft such that it disintegrates immediately when you bite into it! The soup was mild and tasty without being too salty, and went well with the fried tempura prawn.
I returned to Misato again during my December holidays, and I’m sure this will not be my last visit as well. I’ve heard that they serve great sushi (again, at decent prices) and I can’t wait to try it again when I’m in London in a few more weeks’ time!
11 Wardour Street
London W1D 6PG
(Nearest Tubes: Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus, Charing Cross)
020 7734 0808
Opening Hours: Mon-Sun 12:00 – 22:30