Restaurants, Japanese Spitalfields
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Michael Franke

Japanika generates a surprisingly wide array of Japanese food and drink for a tiny triangle of a café that could seat up to eight but looks more likely to rely on takeaway trade. Surprises include being able to choose between three flavours of miso soup (£1.95), even shiitake; spinach goma-ae and own-made pickled daikon slivers with lemon zest; and beverages ranging from Coke to Calpico to Chegworth Valley juices.

The food is great whether you go for raw or cooked – a salmon selection box of maki, nigiri and sashimi or a chicken katsu curry donburi. Especially tasty and very good value is the eight-segment £3.50 scallop-and-avocado roll sprinkled with togarashi (Japanese chilli pepper).

No thought has been spared on the design either, with a simple but effective silhouette of a kimono-clad girl with parasol and drifting blossoms on the left and a grooved white wall on the right which mirrors the miniature Zen raked-sand garden sunk into the counter between two tills.

A little gem that compensates in a small but elegantly formed way for the recent demise of Rossi’s caff next door. NB: weekend opening is planned ‘in the near future’.


Venue name: Japanika
Address: 10 Hanbury Street
E1 6QR
Opening hours: Open 10am-5pm Mon-Fri
Transport: Tube: Aldgate East tube, Liverpool Street tube/rail or bus 67
Price: Meal for two with soft drinks: around £15
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