It was less than two years ago when someone would suggest Kings Cross for dinner and I’d think, hmm, what’s there though? Honest Burgers was out on a limb for a while, but now, you’re pushed for choice what with Granger & Co, Dishoom, German Gymnasium, T.E.D, Grain Store, and the latest addition to the KX crowd, Wazen.
Tucked away on the quiet, unassuming corner of Acton Street, Wazen serves high quality Japanese dishes in a relaxed but stylish setting — it’s a minimalist aesthetic with dark wooden benches. Service is on point and in the kitchen it’s all about top quality fare and traditional cooking methods.
Head Chef Toshimasa Tanahashi has over 30 years experience in the industry; he was formerly at Matsuri in St James, Kyubi at the Arts Club in Mayfair and Kouzu in Belgravia.
You can’t really go wrong with what you order, it’s more about figuring out where to start! The menu covers the whole Japanese spectrum with sushi, sashimi, tempura, salads, sides and larger mains such as Spicy Miso Lamb and Black Cod.
We let our waiter take the lead in our ordering game and she did a sterling job. Every dish was as delicious as it was colourful and decadently garnished. Each dish came separately, first were the Agédashi Tofu Dumplings (deep fried tofu wontons with a rich mushroom sauce) followed by the Aubergine Denugoku (contender for my favourite dish, miso glazed cuts of aubergine — YUM!).
Don’t underestimate the salads, the Wazen salad was packed with flavour, with roasted beetroot, edamame, salmon roe, pomegranate, shiso cress and a tangy yuzu dressing being just a few of the ingredients!
Saznami, the classic sashimi combo of the tuna, salmon and sea bass all tasted incredibly fresh, and from the sushi selection, I’d definitely recommend the Isarabi (nigiri and salmon avocado rolls).
Finally then, we finished our savoury run with the Black Cod, which was a perfect end — the saikyo miso-marinated cod fillet was all sweet and sticky.
We were impressed by the size of each plate. It’s a given that it’s an ‘order lots’ kind of place (we certainly did!), but it’s refreshing that you don’t need a microscope for each dish.
Drinks wise, order the kikizake with your dinner, a tasting flight of three premium sakes which can be chosen to best suit your dish. I’m certainly no sake connoisseur but enjoyed trying the three we had: Iki na Onna; Omachi; and Shirakabegura Daiginjo.
Desserts were all about matcha. We shared the matcha tiramisu — wonderful — and the matcha chiffon cake, which was the lightest, spongiest, and by far the greenest cake I’ve ever had. Divine it was too, served with raspberries and mochi ice cream.
Next time someone suggests Kings Cross, I’ll be marching us straight back here.
Wazen – 2 Acton St, London WC1X 9NA
Words by Alice Tate, you can catch her @ALICETATE