I’m not entirely sure what Sosharu means… but my best guess is that it’s the phonetic equivalent of ‘social’ in Japanese – the collective theme under which most of Jason Atherton’s restaurants fall, from his first solo restaurant – Pollen Street Social – to Social Wine and Tapas, a tapas restaurant, wine bar and shop which opened in Marylebone last year.
Styled as a cross between an izakaya (think Japanese gastropub) and traditional “minka” houses, Sosharu is Atherton’s latest venture in London.
As we had much to talk about, the buzzy yet private feel of the restaurant suited us nicely, with the dining area separated into different sections by wooden beams and lattice screens.
Whenever I’m with these fabulous ladies, bubbles are a must… And so we started with champagne and sparkling sake.
Divided into eleven sections, with many small sharing plates to choose from, the menu presents a modern take on casual Japanese dining. Interestingly, a lot of the ingredients involve seasonal British produce, which Atherton has long since championed.
Served with a spice kimchi dressing, the broccoli tempura was a tasty and diet-destroying start to the meal – I knew there would be no stopping at just the one. Delightfully crunchy, the light tempura batter was glazed with soft strands of cheese that released a subtle hint of umami!
I balanced it out with a couple of salads.
Presented chilled – on ice – with a tomato miso dip, the spring vegetables were pleasantly refreshing, even if a little uninspiring.
The Asian pear and avocado on the other hand (compliments of the friendly restaurant team), simply sang with flavour. The delicate balance of crisp and creamy textures was complemented by sesame seeds and a tofu and cherry vinegar-based dressing that added a subtle acidic bite…
For mains, the grilled vegetables selection proved to be quite substantial for this vegetarian.
A mixed array of mushrooms was cooked with much finesse – but what really elevated it was the complex dressing involving kombu (edible seaweed), ponzu (a citrus-based sauce) and burnt cream… It made for a unique combination of flavours – salty, savoury, zesty and a tad creamy! While a handful of toasted buckwheat added a nutty note and crunchy dimension to it all.
The real highlight for me however, had to be the miso aubergine which was almost meaty in texture and coated with a sweet yet savoury red bean paste. Crispy shallots and a herb salad lent a British finish to this Japanese classic.
Meanwhile, Steph & Angie unanimously agreed on the tuna temaki as their favourite dish of the evening – from what I gathered, this involved a deconstructed tuna handroll served in a firm seaweed taco-like shell. The mini bottles of spiced mayo on the side were a brilliant touch!
They also enjoyed the fresh scallop tartare (which in another twist, came with fresh green peas rather than edamame!) and an assortment of simple yet beautiful sashimi…
The kitchen sent over the Sukiyaki wagyu beef for them to try as well. It arrived with a medley of glass noodles, shiitake, leeks and tofu, that were mixed together over a flame – not unlike a mini-barbecue – on our table itself!
You’ll have to head to their blogs for their more detailed take on the non-veggie aspects of our meal.
Moving on to dessert, this matcha-mad fiend swayed our table towards the matcha mille crêpe – endless, exquisite layers of crêpes layered with a rich bittersweet matcha custard! The matcha sorbet and chantilly cream on the side added a lush flourish.
Incredibly full by this point but with conversation still in full swing, we decided to lengthen our evening with a whirl around the restaurant, starting with a peek inside the soon-to-launch chef’s table – an intimate private dining area, discreetly tucked away at the back.
It was then on to Seven Tales, the über trendy basement bar with an almost speakeasy-esque vibe to it…
As you’d imagine, it was a fantastically fun evening… And one that’s set the bar quite high for the next time we plan to meet up!
Sosharu, 64 Turnmill Street,Farringdon, London EC1M 5RR