Working in Clerkenwell, Exmouth market is an all too frequent lunch spot. And when my arteries begin to squeal from the overdose of Paesan’s Mac and cheese, I head to Leather Lane to find light relief in a Victus and Bibo lamb wrap. And so I have never needed to venture further afield for my midday pick me up. Until I was directed to Wazen that is.
Although the address is Kings Cross, Wazen is located away from the transport hub, which puts into question its billing as a neighbourhood restaurant. That said, the space itself does have a welcoming feel, and successfully avoids the clinical look of so many Japanese outlets. Dark wood and interesting ceramics adorning the shelves add warmth and character to the relatively small space which will comfortably seat around 30 diners.
I would struggle to fault any of the food I tried at the restaurant’s opening event. Edamame, so simple and yet something I am so frequently disappointed by, were deliciously fresh with a perfect bite. The sushi was soft and well balanced, each element allowed to shine. Arguably the dish of the night was the beef tataki – deep, rich and incredibly tender, it melted away leaving a delicious meaty and citrus flavour in the mouth.
Wazen is open every week day lunch offering a set menu which could become a dangerous daily habit, but is certainly something I will justify as a monthly treat. The evening menu and extensive sake list, served during the week and on Saturdays, will satisfy those expecting the very highest standards of Japanese hospitality.
Wazen might be slightly off the beaten track in terms of location, but its food, service and ambience suggest that it is a restaurant heading in exactly the right direction.
More information about Wazen here.
Written by a Thoroughly Modern Miss, Lucy Freedman.