Restaurants, Japanese Richmond
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 3 out of 5 stars
(5user reviews)
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© Tricia de Courcy Ling

Korean-run Matsuba is as pretty as a box of luxury chocolates – all dark wood and subtle light panels running along the length of the room, with vintage Japanese parasols and smartly turned-out waiters with quiet dispositions. It’s an attractive option for locals (mostly non-oriental, affluent couples and families), not least because of the decent wine list. The menu is a melange of Japanese and Korean dishes, with a strong section on sashimi and sushi; itamae chefs can be seen working in deep concentration in the small sushi bar. Gems include dobin mushi, a clear soup traditionally served in a small clay teapot, with a small piece of lime to add a sour note. It wasn’t as intensely flavoured as it should be, but commendable nonetheless. Scallops seared in butter were nutty, creamy and sweet, served in a seashell. Korean maeung tang (a spicy seafood broth) lacked the expected rich umami flavour, but had an exciting chilli kick and plenty of firm, flaky white fish and mussels. There are no real duds here, though we experienced a long wait between starters and mains. Judging by the number of people turned away at the door on the night we visited, it’s worth booking.


Venue name: Matsuba
Address: 10 Red Lion Street
Opening hours: Lunch served noon-3pm Mon-Sat; noon-4pm Sun. Dinner served 6-11pm Mon-Sat; 6-10pm Sun.
Transport: Tube: Richmond tube/rail
Price: Main courses £10-£30. Set lunch £10-£20. Set dinner £40-£45.
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Average User Rating

2.6 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:1
  • 4 star:1
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:1
  • 1 star:2
1 person listening
Karen T

Hard to understand the previous reviews as we have been going to Matsuba since it opened and find it to be a lovely restaurant with consistently good food and lovely service.  The family are always attentive and the decor is simple and elegant.  For something a bit different try the Bippim Bap - we lovely it with all the spicy sauce and toasted sesame flavour from the greens.  Their prices are higher than the sushi bars locally but we think their quality is better

0 of 1 found helpful

I would doubt the authenticity of this establishment. Being involved in the local area, there've been tales of their racking up huge debts and arranging a family takeover of the premises, before declaring the previous holding company bankrupt - leaving suppliers severely out of pocket and keeping all funds. Coincidentally, the food was awful when we attended in January. AVOID

Andy P

Really disappointing. My main was cold and when I told the maitre'd, he argued and was reluctant to change it. After 5 minutes of discussion he did but this took the best part of fifteen minutes by which point my stunning boyfriend had finished his main. Generally, the food was overpriced and there was no real atmosphere. Do yourself a favour and give this place a miss.

Jack Livingstone

Very poor value. Sushi incredibly overpriced for very run of the mill food. £6 for two salmon nigiri is just ridiculous. Sashimi £10 for 3 pieces - ludicrous - much more expensive than top end japanese restaurants in central london. Not justified by dated decor and provincial restaurant feel. This is a shame as it has the potential to be a solid, family run neighbourhood restaurant. Staff are lovely if a little over attentive (the only thing they didn't do was feed us our food!). £120 for a very ordinary meal - we will not return.


We had the special three-course menu. Everything was great, including the slightly eccentric service. I suspect next time if we go from the a la carte menu the score might be higher. A nice night.