Named after the oldest geisha district in Tokyo, this two-storey restaurant in Camden has simple décor, with red banquette seating and a separate area with counter seating. Established over two decades ago, it serves izakaya style bar food, with grilled food and tempura to the fore, as well as offerings of sushi and stews (nabe).
Sashimi of tuna and marinated mackerel was decent enough, though served with the usual powdered “wasabi” rather than the real thing (12/20). Fried quail eggs on a skewer were acceptable (11/20) but soft shell crab was very greasy (10/20). Sautéed scallops were small and had none of the inherent sweet flavour that a fresh scallop possesses, though they were cooked correctly (11/20). Grilled prawns were disappointing, with hardly any flavour (9/20), and it was the same story with some tiny grilled shrimps (9/20).
Grilled marinated black cod was rather better, having pleasant buttery flavour and sweetness from the miso glaze, though Nobu (whose signature dish this is) won’t be getting too anxious about the competition here (12/20). Perhaps the the best dish was pork belly, which had pleasant flavour avoided being overly fatty (12/20). A salad notionally featuring apple was tolerable though it needed more dressing (11/20). Prawn tempura featured rather tasteless prawns and nondescript batter (11/20).
Service was friendly. The bill came to £70 a head with plenty of beer and a little sake to drink, of which the food element was £40 per person. We probably over-ordered, so a more typical bill per person might be £50 a head all in. This did not feel like good value for money at all, given the distinctly uneven level of cooking and cheap ingredients used. The restaurant was very busy indeed, even on the Monday evening that we visited, but to be honest I am not sure why. If you want to try this kind of simple izakaya food then somewhere like Kiraku in Ealing is much better and cheaper.