I came across Sosharu late last year when searching for restaurants to go on a solo excursion (I eventually decided on Barrafina). I looked through the menu and saw a fair few chicken dishes, so I decided it was best to go with Shiima. Sosharu is a modern Japanese restaurant, a minute walk from Farringdon Station, and it’s a new addition (opened last year, 2016) to the masterful Michelin Starred chef Jason Atherton’s group of restaurants. The slight twist for Sosharu is “casual yet refined Japanese cuisine using British seasonal ingredients” … very well then.
We arrive at the restaurant, and even before we step in, I was taken by the really cool décor of the restaurant, which I could see through the glass walls. At the reception there were three rather nice maître ds that check us in, kept my bag in their cloakroom, and led us to a table close to the bar. Inside, the restaurant’s décor looks even better. The décor is in the style of the traditional Japanese Minka houses, which, with the low lighting of the restaurant, gives an aura of intimacy.
What we ordered
A waiter quickly comes to us with the menu and then the usual opening question, “still or sparking water?” … Still water, always still water :). I had already studied the menu, which isn’t at all exhaustive, so after Shiima looked through the menu for about a minute we were ready to order. Most of the dishes are small sharing dishes, so it’s suggested you order about three dishes per person. Shiima ordered Chicken Karaage, Squid Tempura, Stuffed chicken wings, and the Chicken Yakitori Rice Pot. I ordered Tuna Open Temaki, Salmon Open Temaki, and Chashu pork belly.
The food is served as it’s ready, so the Open Temakis arrived first. The Open Temaki is an ingenious dish. It’s their twist on the sushi roll, and it looks more like a taco. The seaweed is fried in tempura to make it hold as a taco and it is filled with unique fresh ingredients. The salmon open temaki is filled with salmon (obviously), sushi rice, spiced cabbage, tosazu jelly, crimson, and avocado; and the tuna open temaki is filled with tuna (well yeah lol), scallion tobiko, sushi rice, and spiced mayonnaise. They were both utterly delicious, but the salmon was clearly better. A sure fire hit for maki lovers.
Next was the chicken karaage, which was awesome. Shiima loved it even more than I did. It certainly wasn’t oily, the batter was light and well spiced, and the chicken was fresh and perfectly cooked. It tasted even better with the tomato sauce provided in a small squeezy bottle. The squid tempura arrived next and it passed the ultimate test – Shiima liked it lol. I did too, and also really enjoyed the papaya salad that came with it. Again, it was lightly fried and also lightly seasoned, leaving you to enjoy the innate taste of fresh squid, which was only enhanced with the tomato sauce.
Then came the Shoshu pork belly, which is essentially a ramen dish with udon king oyster noodles, ramen sauce, and an egg. It was my first ever ramen dish, which was evidenced by the incredibly messy way I ate the dish. Shiima wanted to run away because the ramen sauce kept splashing all over the table (and on me lol). Needless to say, I’ll be having more ramen dishes because this was fantastic and moreish.
Shiima’s Chicken yakitori rice pot was splendidly presented in a rather beautiful clay pot. There was (vegetable fried) rice in the pot, with slow cooked egg, and shoshito pepper, and the pot was accompanied with small portions of dried chicken skin, pickled vegetables, and chicken stock. The ingredients in the pot were expertly mixed together by a waitress (before we could take a picture lol), and I had a fairly substantial portion with the chicken skin and some stock. It was really really good. So good, I had more, and I try to avoid rice (and noodles – carbs, in general lol) when eating out. Shiima really enjoyed it too, although there weren’t that many chicken pieces.
The stuffed chicken wings arrived last, and it is quite a small portion, which at that point we didn’t mind. It tasted good, although rather simple and I still have no idea what the stuffing is lol.
It was a fair amount of food, but we still good for a dessert. As we expected, the dessert menu was a bit highfaluting for us lol, but we decided to share the Japanese Cotton cheesecake, with Fuji apple, and white chocolate ice cream.
Simply, we didn’t enjoy the dessert, but it did give rise to one of the funniest things that’s happened to us while out dining – Shiima was taking pictures of the dessert (evidently with flash cos of the low lighting in the restaurant), and a young whippersnapper (overconfident dude, in regular English lol) on the table next to us just confidently sticks his head towards Shiima and says, without an ounce of nuance or comprise, “can you stop taking pictures with flash”.
Me being me, I’m instantly apologetic cos I assume his date maybe in the worst case has epilepsy or is maybe just reacting badly to the flash, but before I can speak, Shiima says, “Okay. Why?” And this absolutely knocks the air out of him, like he isn’t used to being questioned or spoken back to. He takes a couple seconds to gather himself as he stammers, and even then all he can say is “because it is bright.” And with his tail tucked squarely between his legs, he turned back to his undoubtedly embarrassed date. I fought hard not to laugh, I really did, but I couldn’t hold back and was laughing heartily till we left, and even now, writing this, I am thoroughly amused. But oh well, to each their own.
We really enjoyed Sosharu, the food is excellent and rather unique, the service good, and the décor really fine too. Oh, and the toilet is fantastic! Lol. The price is somewhat mid range, although on the higher end of that, but it is well worth it. I’d recommend for romantic dates, foodies, and special occasions with a fairly small group (4 to 6 people) of open-minded diners.
Dress Code: Smart Casual
Amen’s Star Dish: Salmon Open Temaki
Shiima’s Star Dish: Chicken Karaage
Price: £35+ each (without alcoholic drinks)
Rating: 4.95 out of 5