Japanese. 56 Wardour Street, Soho, London , W1.
Tel: +44 (0)20 7437 8338. „
Satsuma is a Japanese restaurant in the heart of Soho, London on Wardour Street. It's a canteen style restaurant in a similar vein to Wagamama. And that's not where the comparisons end....
The food at Satsuma is of a very similar quality to Wagamama although the dishes vary slightly. It is well cooked and tasty. A nice touch are the Bento Boxes which offer a whole meal for a decent price (I believe they are under £10.00). The Chicken Teryaki is always my preference and has always been delicious. The Katsu Bento is a good runner up.
The atmosphere is a little too noisy. Being a canteen style restaurant, you are seated on long tables next to other people. The din can sometimes be overwhelming. I have had some bad experiences there through not being able to hear a word my partner was saying. For a quick bite though, it's great. Just don't go there on a date.
Service always has a friendly but efficient charm. Note that like similar restaurants, food is delivered as and when ready. They do not wait for the whole order to be ready before delivering so don't be surprised if you get your Chicken Udon 5 minutes ahead of your Bento Box. They're usually not too bad though.
Grabbing a quick bite in Soho? Give Satsuma a whirl.
As anyone who knows me can verify, I am always interested in food and eating out. It was my sister’s birthday recently so I decided we should go to Satsuma’s restaurant to try a cuisine that I do not know a lot about. This restaurant is situated in Soho and provides an easy, no-pressure environment for a near novice such as myself, to experience Japanese food. The restaurant’s contemporary decor gives it a stark appearance, the pine tables that run the length of the room made me feel that I was walking into a schoolroom set of a sci-fi film. Groups of four places are laid up along the lengths of the benches with a gap in between each one. I found this distance was enough to preserve privacy if you want it, although many people in the restaurant seem to enjoy chatting to their neighbours. This lack of formality was probably encouraged by the thumping music that was played non-stop. Although I did not mind it, this might annoy some people. One thing I saw done here which I have never seen anywhere else, was that the waiting staff wrote each persons’ order numbers on the paper tablemats. Not only did it mean that everyone gets their correct order, it is very easy for bill splitters to know what their share of the tab is. The simple to understand menu has all the Japanese standards such as noodle dishes, (udon, ramen and soba) sushi and bento boxes featured along with a few not so authentic dishes. The drinks’ list features a great selection including sake, plum wines and beers. The waiting staff were extremely helpful and charming and were ready and willing to give advice on menu items. We plumped for Miso soup to start with, followed by noodles then finished off with deep fried ice cream with mango and chocolate sauce. We washed our meal down with some very acceptable Kirin beer and the whole lot cost £32. I know the price of food and I realise that a vast profit is being made but sometimes it is ni
ce to treat yourself. I wouldn’t hesitate to come here again. Satsuma 56 Wardour Street W1 0207 437 8338 Non-smoking restaurant. Suitable for disabled people, babies and children welcome. Tube: Piccadilly Circus Website http://www.osatsuma.com
Satsuma is in the heart of Soho, close to China Town.
Reminds me a little bit of Wagamama (canteen-like), so nothing for a date. They play music (a bit too loud!) which is hard to identify. Satsuma is a non-smoking restaurant.
Toilets are clean and not smelly, nothing to complain here.
QUALITY OF FOOD:
After we ordered we were shocked by the wooden chopstick, it was full of mildew/fungi. Mine was fairly ok, just a little bit mildewy. So apparently chopsticks which are not made of plastic are a bit dangerous. Would be interesting to know if someone here has a similar experience.
We had Chicken Teriyaki Bento (with Miso soup) for £9.90, tasted quite delicious but it looks bigger than it is. We shared one box which didn't present a problem, so no minimum charge. Beside that we had an orange/mango juice for £2.90, which was ok but not extraordinarily good.
Seems to be ok, even though as I said the Bento Box was a little meagre for that price.
The waitress was very friendly, and the food arrived quickly. Paying the bill was also quite painless. They take credit card but add some service charge (about 10%).
They have a website on http://www.osatsuma.com/ where you can see the menue and more. I tried to contact them over the website because of the experience with the mildew but the email script didn't work.
So at first I thought this is a good restaurant but because of the chopsticks experience I give it just 3 stars.
Okay, I'm cheating slightly as this is a review of a restaurant rather than an overview of Japanese restaurants in Soho, but I've eaten in a few and none of them come close to Satsuma. As I said, quite why it's named after a small citrus fruit is beyond me, it certainly doesn't sound very Japanese, but don't be put off. It wins on almost all counts: Location (central london, Soho in fact), price (cheap, esp given it's locatin), atmosphere (buzzing) and food (delish). Okay, now let's take these one by one. Food: The menu is extensive and possibly a bit bewildering to anyone who's not eaten Japanese food before, but the staff are very friendly and happy to explain things, and won't look at you like you're a complete moron for not knowing what nigiri is (unlike many Soho establishments). Basically it breaks down into sushi, noodle soup dishes (the best bargain on the menu as they're massive and about £5) and a range of cooked meat type things like teriyaki. If you fancy trying a bit of everything go for a bento box, which comes looking like a posh hospital tray with lots of little segments and a bit of everything in each. The sushi is at the expensive end of the menu, but sushi ain't cheap anywhere and at least this stuff is good - I especially recommend the California rolls. And the tempura's good too - big plate of deep fried veggies and prawns, tho' it's so easy to make at home I always resent paying for it. But delish, none the less. There's no wine on the menu worth drinking so stick to sake or beer, or soft drinks and green tea (yum). And the desserts are good - try the tempura ice cream - yes you did read that right, it's deep fried and delicious, you'll just have to trust me on this one. Honest, it's scrummy. Atmosphere. More like a canteen than a normal restaurant and not the place for a romantic date. Seating is on benches along long t
ables which you share with other folk, and if you can imagine a canteen filled with very trendy students who all study media or art you'll be nearly there. Satsuma does tend to attract a load of soho folk, so expect people talking loudly about their production companies. A big plus is that there's no smoking anywhere in the restaurant, so it's lovely and clean. It's always busy and pretty noisy, so like I said, not the best place for a romantic date. The staff are friendly and helpful, which also helps. Drawbacks. Not many really. Only that it's a victim of it's own popularity and if you arrive in the evening, expect to queue. Generally speaking, a couple won't have to wait long, a large party could be there for ages - a big consideration in the winter. But they do serve beer in the queue, so everyone's generally pretty cheerful. The other minor gripe is that food arrives as and when it's ready, so if you're eating with friends your dinner could all arrive at different times - and they don't bother with niceties like starters and mains, it'll all arrive at once. Nor is this a place to linger - unless it's late in the evening, when they're happy for you to sit around, there's generally a feeling that when you're done, you move on - no sitting around and gossiping over beer. But take it as it comes, go there for lunch or a meal before a night on the town and you'll love it.