Murakami – St.Martin’s Lane
Murakami is a contemporary modern Japanese restaurant specialising in sushi, sashimi, rolls and robata grilled skewers.
Japanese food is one of my favourites and as I hadn’t seen or heard many reviews about this place, I thought it would be a great place to check out at the same time as catching up with two of my nearest and dearest friends; Marie and Lou.
Although Murakami only opened in December, it seems to be doing very well for itself, as it was already bustling when we arrived. Upon entering the restaurant, you can recognise its emphasis on a contemporary dining experience, with parts of the place paying homage to the five elements of Japanese philosophy: wind, sky, earth, water and fire from the plants, atmosphere, stonemade crockery and robata grill.
As we were seated, we were swiftly greeted by complimentary Sake shots…
which I have to admit is an acquired taste! It was sweet, with a sour element and left an after-taste of burnt alcohol, even though it wasn’t warm. As you can tell by my description, it was confusing enough for my palette as that sentence was for you to read!
Lou was running late, and Marie and I couldn’t wait, so we ordered some starters and cocktails…
A ‘Spiced Rhubarb Fizz’ for Marie and a ‘Clementine & Kaffir Lime Leaf Margharita’ – a classic, with an Asian twist. It went down a treat.
For starter, I had Salmon Sashimi, which was deliciously delicate.
Marie went for the Seaweed Salad and boy oh boy did I have food envy. Being the lovely lady is, she let me nab a bit. Tender but crunchy seaweed that tasted as fresh as if it’d just been caught from the ocean, it was ladened with sesame seeds which added that special something.
Once Lou arrived the girls gave me my favourite job: choosing the wine…
I decided we should go for the Macon, ‘Crepillionne’ by Domaine Fichet – a White Chardonnay from the Burgundy region, France. I actually visited this particular domaine where it was produced the summer before last when I went wine-tasting during my holiday. As Macon has been a favourite of mine since then, I knew I had to pick it,
With its colour a rich straw-coloured gold, its taste is just as full bodied. Its aromas hint at acacia, verbena and lemongrass through its acidity but also suggests mandarin and grapefruit with its fruitiness alongside honeysuckle for its sweet edge. These nuances form a fantastic base and contrast to go with seafood and spiciness of the sushi.
“No..This isn’t my second glass in 30 minutes… *side eyes*”
We chose our mains: a mix of rolls and robata grill skewers – and we were not dissapointed. A huge platter of the stuff came out and we thought for a fleeting moment our eyes were too big for our bellies, but alas, the moment was brief and we soon chowed our way through.
California rolls, spicy tuna rolls, duck and veggie rolls…
Trust me when I say try the spicy tuna roll with a side of teriyaki mayo. Just look at that juicy piece of perfection…
Just don’t drop it in your soy sauce like I did – oops!
As you can see, we’d made headway on the rolls and it was time for us to start on the skewers…
Grilled Aubergine in teriyaki and ginger sauce with fiery chillies on top.
Mouth-melting apple and soy-sauce scallops with wasabi.
My favourite – Miso and yuzu mustard marinated pork belly which was bursting with intensified flavours.
Finally, the tempura prawn and avocado roll followed.
The food is utterly divine but I do have one irk, that I felt the need to mention. We spent over 4 and a half hours at Murakami mainly due to the fact waiters forgot multiple dishes and kept us waiting a long time even with reminders. Although I appreciate evenings in London restaurants can be busy, the lack of communication that the waiters gave to explain where our dishes were did not help the situation and I would have expected the service to be better considering the cost. Nevertheless, they were profusely apologetic and offered us free cocktails on the house…
Lou and I went for Murakami’s version of the ‘White Russian’ which was heavenly while Marie opted for the ‘Yakitori Old Fashioned’, which she was very happy with.
Now, it’s no secret that everyone has a separate stomach for pudding, even when you’ve consumed your body weight in sushi…When a Nutella cheesecake is on the menu, it’s hard to say no… so, we didn’t!
Layers of hazelnut chocolate and cream with a beautifully baked biscuit base.
If you fancy a leisurely dinner somewhere relatively new and love Japanese food, I would highly recommend Murakami. Although the service was slower than expected, the staff are very friendly and the food and drink is amazing. Overall, it was a lovely evening filled with Sake sipping, sushi and giggling.