The weather forecast was for rain in the afternoon so I took a punt and went for something hot and soupy. I have had the udon from Japanika a couple of times before I started this blog so this is rather like reviewing an old friend.
Japanika is located along Hanbury Street which is 5 minutes walk away from my office. It serves a wide range of sashimi, sushi, salads, bento boxes and udon which I had today. It is a small shop but everything is need and tidy. Some seats are available in the shop so you can chose to eat in. But seats are limited.There is a refrigerated area for the salads and sushi and a heated area for bento boxes and katsu curry. Yes! This is the famed katsu curry that Mr CSS is addicted to.
There are 3 option when it comes to the udon. Chicken, Spicy Squid or Vegetable. I went with the Chicken Udon today which is £5.80. You select your udon, go to the counter and the server will top it up with broth from a big thermos. Do ask for chilli oil to be added to spice things up.
Knowing me, I can’t live with a single course meal so I pump for a side of Mixed Inari as well. There was no price shown for the inari and thinking it’s vegetarian, it probably won’t cost much. If I’ve known it cost £3.90, I would gotten something meat based! Total for lunch came up to £9.70. I’m eating myself out of house and home 😦
As you can see, the broth of the udon is dark brown in colour. It tastes slightly sweet with a strong hint of shitake mushroom and kombu. I like it but some might think it’s an acquired taste. The texture of the udon is not like in proper Japanese restaurants where they are chewy and springy. Here, it’s bog standard udon, the sort you get in supermarkets. Other ingredients include broiled chicken (I think they are chicken thigh instead of breast which is a good thing!), shitake mushroom slices, sliced carrot, daikon, spinach, seaweed and a poached egg. Special mention needs to be given to the poached egg. I have not had takeaway noodles where they give you a poached egg. More places should do this, I think it’s a good idea.
The mixed inari turned out to be pretty nice. The seasoned rice is mixed with chopped carrots and pickled ginger, some black sesame seeds and topped with a few edamame. The inari pouch is tender and sweet and compliments the pickled ginger when you get a bite. Highly suggest you add some wasabi for the nose burning hit.
So, it’s a good lunch today and if you are in the area, do check it out. Wish they start opening branches in other areas of London.
Japanika10 Hanbury Street
London E1 6QR
0207 247 9911