Shimogano opened in 2013 in a parade of shops on Camden Parkway. It is named after an ancient Kyoto Shinto shrine that is a UNESCO world heritage site. The restaurant has a small dining area and bar at ground level, the main dining room being in the basement. The décor is fairly basic, and the restaurant serves a wide variety of Japanese cuisine styles, from sushi to tempura to noodles and beyond. This slightly scattergun approach is normal in London but unusual in Japan, where most restaurants specialise, sometimes to an extreme degree e.g. some restaurants serve only eel, or only tonkatsu. It must be difficult for any restaurant to really master such a wide menu.
There were a few wines listed but without their vintages being noted, ranging from £16.50 to £39. Labels included Peter Lehman Riesling at £25 for a wine that retails at just under a tenner. A bottle of Kirin beer was £3.75.
Sushi was reasonable, in particular pleasant tuna and eel, and decent yellowtail (12/20). Tonkatsu had a decent coating but the pork cutlet inside not only lacked flavour but was a little chewy (10/20). Grilled mackerel was pleasant but not a patch on that at, say, Kiraku (11/20). Tempura was rather lacklustre, the batter not greasy but the prawns lacking flavour (11/20). Miso soup was distinctly watery (10/20).
Service was pleasant and the bill came to £31 a head, with soft drinks only. If you shared a modest bottle of wine for dinner then a typical bill per person might be around £40. To be honest I was a bit disappointed by Shimogano given that it had been recommended by two people that know their food. It was decent enough, but based on what we ate today it is not somewhere I would hurry back to.