39A Eastcheap, EC3M 1DE
WHAT? A “grab-and-go” Nikkei (Japanese and Peruvian fusion) restaurant serving top-quality food for prices that makes Itsu seem expensive. You can eat in the 60-cover dining room downstairs, with its minimalist design and regional flourishes, or bag it and go if you prefer to dine al desko. It’s all freshly prepared on site.
WHERE? On Eastcheap, a stone’s throw from the Walkie Talkie and nestled conveniently close to Tower Hill, Monument and Fenchurch Street stations.
WHO? It’s a labour of love by brother and sister Irakli and Nino Sopromadze, who have overseen everything from the take-away boxes to the wall art.
ORDER THIS... There’s a selection of both hot and cold food. If you’re bedding in for a hearty lunch, the sweet and sticky chicken wings are an absolute must. The seared tuna is excellent, but if you’re in the market for fish, the seabass ceviche should be top of your list; with a well balanced leche de tigre (the citrus-based marinade that cures the seafood) and a dainty little edible flower perched on top, it’s hard to believe this is being served for a few quid in a take-away restaurant, and not going for £12 in one of Martin Morales’ (also excellent) places.
Vegetarians can also eat well. The kabocha (squash), papa morada (purple potatoes) and beetroot salad is a delightfully colourful hit of carbs, guaranteed to fill you up and exceptionally good value at just £4.95. And the tofu, rice, avocado and cucumber chirashi (literally just “scattered”) is more exciting than those ingredients have any right to be.
And there is, of course, also a good selection of Nikkei, sushi and sashimi.
BUSINESS OR PLEASURE? It’s probably too casual for clients but the bright downstairs area would be ideal for a team meeting away from the office.
NEED TO BOOK? No, it’s a laid-back affair so just rock up and grab a table.
ONE MORE THING... The branding is all designed to reflect the twin customs of the cuisine. Waka means “poem” in Japanese, and “something sacred” in the language of Ancient Incans.