Tonkotsu’s posh big brother tastes good
Japanese | W&R | ££
The food is good, it’s an attractive space, the location is central, the service is warm and professional. Yet Anzu is empty – I don’t understand it. They need better PR because it’s criminal that mediocre places in Piccadilly, similarly priced to Anzu are no doubt getting more traffic than Anzu. It’s one of the best value spots to have opened up in Piccadilly in years – I will be so cross if it shuts down because it’s not pulling in the punters. So, please go, for my sake.
BASIC OR BOUGIE? Ba-Bou
SERVICE IS Sleek, Semi-Formal, Friendly
TRY The Prawn Dumplings
GOOD FOR Catch-Up
GROUPS Up to 8 ppl
1 Norris St, St. James's, W1Y 4RJ
Website | Instagram
+44(0)20 7930 8414
THE FULL SHEBANG
Anzu is located in St James’s Market, a 3 mins walk from Piccadilly Circus and 1 min from Dover Street Market; a plush development that’s also home to Nordic restaurant Aquavit, Veneta – part of the Salt Yard Group and Ole & Steen.
Image Credit: You Magazine
Anzu is the posh big bro of Tonkotsu – so expect the same stripped back aesthetic but more upscale. There’s a long central bar with lots of tables of two, some tables of four and a cushioned back wall with further seating options; tucked far in the back in a corner not visible to guests as they enter the restaurant is an alcove that can probably sit about six people. Blue / grey hues mix with timber to create a chic laid back look and there’s a massive see through glass cabinet visible to diners that stocks all manner of sake.
Image Credit: St James’s
FOOD & SERVICE
Right, down to the food…I’ve eaten at Anzu several times in the last few months and haven’t been disappointed on any of those occasions. I’ve ordered the prawn dumplings every time I’ve been and they have been glorious each time – certainly add it to your eat list.
The Nasu Dengaku – aubergine in yuzu – has the right level of sweetness, another highly recommended dish.
The spinach & sesame gomae – a sort of Japanese salad was a highlight – the perfect blend of sweet and savoury. We gobbled it up too quickly, hence the lack of picture.
The edamame was edamame – can’t really go wrong here unless you overcook it which they didn’t, so all good on that front. The katsuobushi fries were mighty fine, so be sure to get a bowl for the table.
Wine wise, I’ve enjoyed the Framingham Classic Riesling 2014 (£6 a glass) on two occasions.
For mains, I had the seafood ramen with cod, cockles, prawns & seasoned egg – all fresh tasting ingredients and as with all soupy noodles, it’s gonna fill you up, so if this is what you’re after, you’re in good hands. I’m a flavour queen, so I love to load my ramen with chili oil and anzu’s one is on the money.
I also had a few bites of my mum’s Seabass Nanban with dashi, soy and Shimeji mushrooms which was cooked perfectly and tasted a bit like black cod with miso in terms of the sweetness of the dish.
Not hungry post noodles, my greed as always got the better of me, so I shared a yuzu and blueberry cheesecake with my mum – it was very wet and flavour wise really quite sweet. Not bad by any means but I’m not sure I’d order it again.
The service is professional and attentive; they are a little on the formal side but not in a negative way. Also, they were very accommodating when we needed a space to change my nephew and made a makeshift space, as they didn’t have a specific baby changing room.
Anzu is great value considering it’s decor, location and most importantly the quality of the food. You can comfortably eat here and have a glass of wine for under £30 and they do a pre Theatre menu (2 courses for £20 and 3 courses for £24).
So this is the baffling part, every time I’ve been (lunchtime), it has been ghostville – it’s been my table and perhaps 1 or 2 other set of diners. Utterly bizarre considering how central it is. Sure, it’s a little tucked away but it’s next door to Ole & Steen which was HEAVING with people when I last went, so people just need to turn the corner – it doesn’t have a black sign, it’s not trying to be clandestine. I haven’t been during dinner service, so it could be a completely different picture at night but if you’re after a buzzy restaurant, from my experience, this is not the place to go. However, if you want a respite from the hectic mess of Piccadilly, Anzu is a great choice.
THE TAKE OUT
The food is good, it’s an attractive space, the location is central, the service is warm and professional, you can walk in or make a reservation. Yet Anzu is empty – I don’t understand it. They need better PR because it’s criminal that mediocre places in Piccadilly, similarly priced to Anzu are no doubt getting more traffic than Anzu. It’s one of the best value spots to have opened up in Piccadilly in years – I will be so cross if it shuts down because it’s not pulling in the punters. So, please go, for my sake.
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