Since our trip to Japan, Andrew and I became real Japanese food snobs. It has become more difficult for us to be impressed by any restaurant serving Japanese delicacies. Once you had a taste of the real deal it is hard to not compare everything to it. However, if we come across a Japanese restaurant that does things well we will be their most supportive fans. Expectations and hopes were therefore high when we entered Sapporo Ichiban.
Sapporo Ichiban also has had a lot of raving reviews over the years so we were really curious to see if it could become one of our favourite Japanese restaurants in London. Mostly because it is a 10-minute walk from ours!
From the outside, the place isn’t very noticeable and looks slightly run down. This didn’t put us off as most restaurants in Japan are not really about the look, they’d rather concentrate their energy on the food.
Sapporo Ichiban menu is extensive but coherent with some Japanese classics which can be challenging to find outside of Japan, again a big plus in our book!
Andrew ordered a beer and I went for a glass of plum wine. If you haven’t tried it before I highly recommend it! It is sweet and light and pairs nicely with Japanese food.
We were served a very good miso soup while we were waiting for our starters, which like in any restaurant in Japan was complimentary.
We shared some starters and ordered the pumpkin katsu which was delicious, crispy and sweet!
The king prawns tempura were really good too. Nicely cooked, juicy and absolutely massive!
The takoyaki, which are octopus balls you find in Osaka, was good but was lacking octopus. The flavours were there but there was only a small piece of octopus in each ball which made them barely noticeable.
For mains, we both opted for bento boxes.
Andrew went for the chicken teriyaki box. It was good and the portions were generous leaving him very full.
I chose the squid box which was very similar to Andrew’s. Again it was all fine but the squids were slightly overcooked making them a bit too chewy.
I also encouraged Andrew to try sushis as Sapporo Ichiban is known for those. He ordered some squid sushis which were fine and huge. He was just not convinced that they were that exceptional as some reviews have said.
So our impression of Sapporo Ichiban is that it is a perfectly fine Japanese restaurant and a lot more authentic than many places you find in London. However, I feel like I would need to try their other dishes like the ramen, noodles and curry before deciding if it will make it to our top 5 favourite Japanese restaurants in London.