Carol Godsmark reviews Tokyo Shanghai
Japanese dishes outweigh the Chinese with yakitori (skewered chicken or other ingredients); katsu curries (breaded and fried meat with curry sauce); donburi (rice bowl dishes); tempura (battered, deep fried seafood or vegetables) and those other well known dishes, sushi, sashimi (raw fish) and bento boxes, usually served at lunchtimes but any time here.
Chinese offerings such as the chicken claypot dish come from Szechuan, Singapore and Malaysia, egg, udon and other noodles offered alongside pork, chicken, prawns, beef, mussels, squid and duck. Prices? Mains are about 7.50, bento boxes from 10.80 to 15.80. Six wines and beers are offered.
The look is low key with black and red banquettes or tables, a few Chinese decorations depicting warriors and a must have lucky cat join bamboo, a dividing line in the square space. Service is accommodating and helpful. Dishes are explained for the uninitiated.
First, a huge bowl of moreish miso soup crammed with seaweed and tofu. This was followed by ebi (prawns) tempura donburi, a Japanese rice dish. Billed as ‚deep fried prawns and vegetables on tempura sauce’, the attractive, large red and black bowl contained about 80 per cent tepid rice with a crown of tempura coated prawns, one slice of carrot and one mushroom equally given a light tempura batter. If the prawns and vegetables had been deep fried in hotter and cleaner oil, they would have won me over. When hot, the first ones weren’t too bad, but when cooler, that’s when cloying fat really made its presence felt.
Greg and John, those Masterchef large mouths, won’t rightly touch under cooked chicken. Me? I don’t eat rice that has been whizzed to the table in nanoseconds in a less than busy caf. It was lukewarm too. The Chinese chef owner, past chef in London, Dubai and farther east, suggested, when I paid the bill and saw the pile of untouched rice, that I have another type of donburi next time, ‚with sauce’, interpreting this as the reason for leaving it.
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