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Kurumaya Japanese Restaurant and Kaiten (London)

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76-77 Watling Street, London, EC4M 9BJ. Tel:020 7236 0236

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      23.07.2009 18:22
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      Great tasting sushi, although not cheap!

      http://www.kurumaya.co.uk/main.html Address: 76-77 Watling Street London EC4M 9BJ Tel: 020 7236 0236 Fax: 020 7236 2366 Opening hours, 7 days a week between 11:30am - 9:30pm One of my best friend eats regularly at this restaurant. Unfortunately, I had the pleasure to grace this restaurant only once about 3 weeks ago. There were a total of 4 in our group. The Restaurant: The restaurant is located in the centre of the City of London, on a street which overlooks the stunningly beautiful St Paul's Cathedral. Slightly hard to find at the moment due to the mass building works happening on Watling Street. It is tucked in a small road, just off New Change, near St Paul's Central Line tube station. The restaurant prides itself in offering authentic Japanese cuisine but, as I have never visited Japan, I cannot comment on the restaurant's authenticity but, instead, I can only give you a review of a comparison of this restaurant to other Japanese restaurants I have visited. I have been informed that during the lunch hours, this restaurant is heaving with City workers looking to grab good quality and decent priced takeaway sushi from the sushi bar on street level. At night, however, the restaurant is very quiet, with only a handful of patrons looking for a meal at the (unauthentic) Tatami seated restaurant downstairs. That, however, I have discovered, is not indicative of the quality of the restaurant, but, rather, the restaurant's location; the City of London, out of hours, is like a ghost town, save for the bars and pubs. Layout: We ate at the restaurant downstairs. There are 4 tables on the left of the room which are Tatami seated whilst the other half of the room has "normal" table and chairs. Upon going down the stairs I immediately spotted my friend, was in mid-leap onto the Tatami area to greet her, only to be very gently stopped by the waitress. She apologetically told me that I had to take off my shoes (to add to the "authentic" Tatami layout, no doubt!). Now I wouldn't normally have a problem with this if they had informed everyone on, at least, their website. I have no shame and will admit that after a hard days walking in my trainers to and from work, my feet can get quite sweaty and unpleasant. Especially, as this is an eatery partnered with fish of all things, unpleasant feet can get a much and unappetising! There are slippers provided but I don't really fancy sharing sweaty feet residual with other members of the public so I gave those a miss and opted to wipe my feet in the ladies before entering the Tatami area. I would refer to the Tatami seating as "unauthentic" because the tables are sunken into large square holes in the floor, with the mats on floor level, giving the impression of sitting on the floor despite actually sitting bench-like besides the table. I have a couple of gripes with this arrangement: (1) it is near impossible to stand up and greet friends without rolling over and looking like a beached whale; and (2) the hole seems to sink under forever. I was constantly sitting on the edge of the hole besides my feet wasn't touching the ground it was extremely uncomfortable. Food: Between the four of us we ordered a large sushi platter which came in a really impressive bamboo boat, filled with a wide selection of sushi (fatty and skinny tuba, salmon, sea bass, prawns, california rolls etc) for £60. On the side we ordered, vegetable tempura, slice beef teriyaki and Yaki Udon, which we changed from pork to chicken with absolutely no problems. Whilst we didn't have any alcohol, we must have ordered at least 2 soft drinks each and a few bottles of mineral water. The food was absolutely delicious! So much better than the more commercial sushi chains such as Yo Sushi. The sushi was fresh and deliciously sweet. The variety of fish was very impressive, albeit the standard salmon, tuna , prawn and sea bass. One thing to note is that the fish was sliced at a good shape and thickness, something which is sometimes lacking at other sushi joints. For desert we opted for the chocolate mouse, which was, for my personal tastes, below par. The chocolate was poor quality and didn't actually taste of chocolate - actually, the desert was so unmemorable I can't even remember what it came in! Disappointed end to the meal but overall, the sushi won hands down! Overall: Great experience, although if you have smelly feet, take note to wear more airy footwear. The final bill came to just below £30 each (split 4 ways). Yes, this is pricey but for sushi in the City that actually tastes good, once in a while is not going to hurt!

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