A confession to make – eating here was actually option C on a hectic Friday night out. Options A and B sadly did not have tables at a reasonable hour hour. This place won by fact that it surprised my phone with a pop up when I was frantically searching for alternatives. So, when this place popped up in one of those websites that offer discounts, it seemed like the solution to our problems – although in hindsight, perhaps one might have wondered why a place would need to offer a 25% discount on the busiest night of the week…
Murakami describes itself as a modern Japanese restaurant and on first appearances, looked sleek and impressive – dark wood tables, mood lighting with filament pendants, all the elements required for the design of the modern, trendy restaurant. It was housed in a large space, which was not particularly crowded – another bonus given its central location in Covent Garden.
Somewhat sadly, the food did not quite match up to the ambience. The menu is straightforward – with a large selection of sushi rolls and items from a robata grill. There was also a somewhat eclectic mixture of starters and hot dishes – mostly Japanese sounding, although there were Chinese and Thai items on the menu too – so. My suspicions were aroused.
We had a selection of the sushi rolls with various different fillings – fairly generic London Japanese restaurant fare without much to distinguish the sushi from one another. More interesting was the signature Murakami roll – where a cucumber sheet was used as the wrap (rather than the more traditional seaweed/rice combo) – possibly good if one wants a healthy, no-carb version, possibly not so good if cucumbers aren’t your thing.
The hot dishes were also a bit of a mixed bag – the best of the pick being the baby ribs, with the lamb chops a close second. Both of these were pretty likeable but did taste more Chinese than Japanese. Generic Chinese take away tasted great in comparison. Fried squid (another commonly found dish in Chinese restaurants), sadly, was somewhat rubbery – a bit like car tire after a hot day. Not that I’ve ever gnawed on one, just that one warm day in desperate starvation I thought about it. It’s amazing what hunger can do to your mind.
Taking a step back, the food wasn’t bad – it just wasn’t that amazing, and was pretty pricey for what it was. Even with the 25% discount (still available at time of writing) – we did not feel like we’d gotten a bargain and left feeling slightly peckish. On the plus side, however, if you ever need somewhere last minute that looks nice in a central London location, there are worse options than this one. I just can’t think of one right now.
A quiet eating 5/10.
Dinner was GBP 25 (for the equivalent of 3 courses) excluding drinks and service (but with a 25% discount).
63-66 St Martin’s Lane
London WC2N 4JS