Fab Japanese Restaurants to Try While the Olympics are on

OK, so the Tokyo Olympics are just an excuse to feast on top-notch Japanese nosh (obviously). And London has plenty of it. Whether you want a home-style bowl of goodness, a cosy neighbourhood hole, or elevated Japanese tapas, try these restaurants now or later…

Photo: Sachi at Pantechnicon

1 Issho-Ni sushi pop up at the Madison Rooftop Terrace, St Paul’s
The hip east-side Izakaya-style food joint has paired up with Madison to launch a summer sushi pop-up on the Manhattan-inspired restaurant’s rooftop terrace. It is serving up sashimi and sushi, as well as cocktails and a cracking view of St Paul’s Cathedral and London’s cityscape beyond. To make the most of the warmer weather, the Madison Rooftop Terrace has been transformed into a boho oasis complete with rattan daybeds, sofas and chair and a swathe of greenery. Be quick though, this one is only on for August. Open Thursday to Sunday 3pm to 9pm.
1 New Change, St Paul’s EC4M 9AF; madisonlondon.net

2 Sachi at Pantechnicon, Belgravia
Pantechnicon is London’s home for all things that celebrate Japanese and Nordic aesthetic and mindset, often marrying the two. And the centre’s new Sachi restaurant is no different. It showcases regional Japanese cooking with light Nordic touches. While ingredients are sourced locally, the contemporary dishes are inspired by local flavours of Hokkaido, Osaka and Fukouka. Dine in the open-planned dining room, one of the private vaulted booths set in a Japanese garden, a private dining room or sushi counter. A lot of consideration has gone into the details too – the ceramics, cutlery, chopsticks and wooden bowls are all handcrafted across Japan by specialist workshops.
19 Motcomb St, SW1X 8LB; pantechnicon.com

3 Okan, various locations
This casual, Osaka-style eatery won’t break the bank, but it will fill you up. The menu, which is all about home-style cooking rather than bells and whistles, differs slightly between outposts – if you want to try an Osaska-style Okonomyaki – that moorish cabbage-laden pancake slathered with Kewpie mayonnaise and that sweet and salty sauce – head to Okan’s tiny set up in Brixton Village.
Find other locations at Brixton East or South Bank; okanlondon.com

4 Dinings SW3, Chelsea
An elegant, contemporary take on the Japanese Izakaya, Dinings SW3 is a tranquil escape in the city. The kitchen plates up an elevated array of Japanese favorites, using fresh Cornish seafood for their sushi and shashimi. To mark the games, the restaurant has created a special, unami negroni that has subtle notes of ginger and kombu seaweed.
Lennox Gardens Mews, SW3 2JH; diningssw3.co.uk

5 TOKii, The Prince Akatoki London, Marylebone
The central five-star hotel is hosting a new bottomless brunch menu in celebration of reopening that offers a fresh, refined take on a weekend favourite. For unadventurous eaters, there are Western dishes, but there are also Asian-influenced plates too. This includes smoked haddock and salmon kedgeree, tamago omelettes, miso soup and hijiki – a type of sea vegetable. Wash it all down with an endless supply sparkling sake or prosecco. The effortlessly sophisticated restaurant is also open for dinners and lunch serving up wagu beef, sashimi, and small plates.
On every Saturday and Sunday from 1am to 3pm; 50 Great Cumberland Place, W1H 7FD; tokii.co.uk

Dinings SW3.
Photo: Dinings SW3

6 Jin Kichi, Hampstead
A cozy, family-run restaurant with an extensive menu of small plates and things to share in the heart of Hampstead. Apparently, the restaurant’s specialty is its skewers  – the wealth of options include ox tongue with salt, duck with spring onions, and Shiso leaf and pork rolls. There are also plenty of vegetarian options too.  73 Heath Street, Hampstead, NW3 6UG; jinkichi.com

7 Uchi, Clapton
Found on one of Clapton’s back roads, this unassuming spot on a corner thrums with a casual coolness. The small but varied menu is designed to be shared and offers skewers, kara-age and tempura as well as sushi and sashimi. For drinks, the restaurant has plum wine and the beers and whiskeys you would expect, as well as dreamy-sounding cocktails such as the umeshu mojito – plum wine with lime, mint and crushed ice, or a ginger sake for a bit more of a kick.
114 Clarence road, E5 8 DY; uchihackney.com