Murakami

Restaurants Covent Garden
  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • 5 out of 5 stars
(143user reviews)
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Murakami

A Japanese restaurant-by-numbers whose unconvincing, unimaginative food doesn't live up to its good looks.

Sushi bars come in many shapes and sizes. Sometimes, when you’re celebrating a special occasion with a coveted reservation at an always buzzing destination – Zuma, say, or Nobu – a hefty price tag is part and parcel of the experience. But when all you want is a light lunch, a wallet-busting bill is another matter.

The problem with Murakami, a shiny new sushi offering in the heart of Covent Garden’s theatre district, is that it looks the part of a deeply fashionable modern Japanese restaurant, but beyond this smoke and mirrors lurks very little of substance. The dining room is stylish if unimaginative in a Japanese-restaurant-by-numbers way. Sake bottles as ornaments, a long bar for single diners, modern, minimalist furniture – with one or two oddball conceits thrown in for good measure, such as a long, narrow planter filled with samphire that runs the length of the room.

However, that’s as good as it gets. The menu is a line-up of the usual suspects – nigiri, sushi rolls, sashimi and tempura – all competently assembled in the open kitchen without threatening a culinary revolution. The grilled skewers of marinated meat, fish and vegetables that are bite-sized snacks in Japan were true miniatures here, the grilled baby octopuses almost embryonic and the chicken hearts surely from the smallest birds in the coop. Meanwhile, three thick slices of tuna sashimi presented on an absurdly large pile of frilly lettuce had the texture of a mealy winter tomato. The best dish was a platter of yellowtail carpaccio topped with chilli, citrussy ponzu and sticky slices of garlic.

Service was bumbling: despite the almost-empty dining room – staff forgot part of our order and were oblivious to our attempts to attract their attention. And then came the bill. The lightest of booze-free lunches for two clocked up to an astonishing £76. Given the cynical feel of this operation – which has ambitions to become a chain – we were left with a nasty taste in our mouths.

By: Nicola Arencibia

Posted:

Venue name: Murakami
Contact:
Address: 63-66 St Martin’s Lane
Covent Garden
London
WC2N 4JS
Opening hours: Open noon-11pm Sun-Tues; noon-midnight Wed-Sat.
Price: Meal for two with drinks and service: around £100.
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Average User Rating

4.8 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:126
  • 4 star:13
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:3
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|143
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Celebrated my birthday at the Murakami and it was perfect, such a nice welcome, an excellent service, very good food and drinks. Even got a personalized 'happy birthday' dessert and a song. Can highly recommend it.


Be shure to book in advance. This place is packed. And once you get to taste the food, you will know why. The service is good, and the food is fantastic! Best sushi ever, and they have managed to make it taste juicy, original and with somewhat different flavours. Brilliant! Not a lot to add, really. 


The first time the place was full, (so think of booking a table in advance), but because we love japanese food and the place seemed nice with a good atmosphere, we tried a second time, successfully that time! Food was delicious, we had a cool evening after a first drink "Murakami cosmo", nice sake selection. Highly recommend it - numero 1! :)


We went there before a concert nearby and it was super good. It would be a good idea to have menu in English because it was hard to make a choice without understanding the menu. I love sushi and I have tried many spots in Europe – this one is the best! The tea, rolls (try the Aburi rainbow foll), sashimi, nigiri were fabulous!


Probably the best sushi I ever had in London: fresh, smooth and tasty flavors in a pleasant minimalist atmosphere. The details count and it's not only about the appearance!


We came here because it is the high rated Japanese restaurant in London. Our dinner was good, and I think it is as good as the ratings make it out to be. We ordered a lot of food so we could try a lot of different things. By far the best dish was the yellowtail carpaccio. The quality of the more traditional nigiri and sashimi dishes was excellent. The softshell crab roll was interesting and flavourful but aburi rainbow rolls I had were the best and full of flavour.


I loved this place!! The sushi was outstanding!! The fish tasted fresh and extremely tender, it malted in my mouth!! The selection of teas was also great!! The place isn't small but cosy! Make a reservation!! We ate at the table but the idea of eating at the bar also looked interesting!! We ate also a miso soup with shiitake mushrooms, wakame, tofu and spring onion and Gohan which was good but not as good as SUSHI!!!! Staff friendly and accommodating!! Highly recommended!!


One of the best sushi places I have gone to, I live very close and go there often. Great quality, fair price. The yellowtail carpaccio is AMAZING and the sake outstanding. 


Lovely place with friendly staff. The sushi was awesome though, very fresh! Would recommend the grilled salmon with teriyaki sauce and Aburi rainbow roll. Was reasonably priced and lovely atmosphere - definitely worth a visit! 


There are several good sushi bars in London, but nothing is like Murakami. The atmosphere is cozy and I really loved the interiors. The food is just great. Definitely the best sushi in town.


I went there with my wife and yes, the place is amazing! we ordered the special Aburi tuna roll for 2, and it is impressive! the service, food and the atmosphere are amazing , and the prices is absolutely acessible for the level of the food! really recommend it.


I highly recommend this place. The atmosphere is great and the sushi is amazing. We had the pleasure of sitting by the counter so we could watch the main chef work his magic and wow, what a guy! It was really inspiring to se someone put that much love and effort into every small piece of food. It takes a while to receive the order, but it is well worth the wait.


It's such a peaceful and enjoyable place to go, the sushi-chef is an artist if you get the chance go and eat at the bar to see him work.. The quality of the fish is perfect. Highly recommended Murakami roll and Aburi rainbow roll. Nice sake and fresh tea.

tastemaker

Last week, my friends and I decided to eat here as a sort of early celebratory graduation dinner. We were seated near the back at a nice table of 4, even though we were only 3. However, as our table was in the corner, it was difficult for my friends to get in and out of the couch seating because the space left between the tables was rather small.


As it was a pretty warm evening, I immediately asked for some tap water. Incredibly, this took 5 minutes before a waiter came to pour us glasses of water. Upon asking if he could leave the jug on the table, he replied that it wasn’t possible. (???) I didn’t understand this, because there were several jugs lined up next to the kitchen window, which I could clearly see – more than enough to go around the few tables that were occupied that evening.


It didn’t take long for our dishes to come out after ordering and between the three of us, this is what we shared:

  1. Red Wave Roll – These rolls were filled with spicy tuna and cucumber and topped with seared tuna with a small dollop of wasabi mayo. I quite liked these because the flavours blended well together and the seared tuna on top was tasty! A serving comes with 8 nicely portioned pieces and perfect for sharing.
  2. Salmon Ceviche Roll – I picked this roll because I saw that it had a yuzu dressing and this is one of my favourite flavours with salmon. The roll was filled with salmon ceviche, avocado and cucumber and topped with salmon ikura. It did not disappoint, as the acidity and sweetness from the yuzu soy sauce dressing mixed well with the taste of the salmon, the creaminess from the avocado, and the crunch from the cucumber. The addition of salmon ikura on top was lovely – that little burst of liquid when you bite into it is lovely!
  3. Scallop Ceviche Roll – Once again, another roll with a yuzu soy sauce dressing! These were filled and topped with scallop ceviche and citrus zest. It tasted light and fresh and the texture of the scallops were perfect – not chewy, but just enough for a good bite with each piece.
  4. Vegetable Tempura – A basket of vegetable tempura to add some diversity to our meal of fish! There was a good variety of vegetables included – eg. Sweet potato, peppers, eggplant, etc. They were also cut into large pieces so it was easy to break into two such that everyone could have a taste of everything. This came with some freshly cut dried seaweed on the side along with the tempura dipping sauce.

Although our waiter was nice, I was still unimpressed with the overall service at this restaurant. It took quite long for someone to notice that we wanted the bill at the end of our meal and it took even longer to get it back after we asked for the service charge to be taken off. Moreover, I thought the hostess wasn’t very friendly. She didn’t smile when she greeted us at the entrance and kept a rather straight face throughout the night. It seems strange, as she’s the first face a customer would see upon entering the restaurant – didn’t give off the right vibes in my opinion.


Overall, the food was alright though. I’d recommend it because the rolls were unique and done well. They were portioned well, tasted fresh, and looked pretty. However, with such disappointing service, it’s hard to see myself coming back and the reason I only gave it 2 stars. 


Find a spot at the bar for casual sushi, snacks or sit down in the restaurant...all of the above with a killer choice of sushi and rolls. Also a great setting, always great service, quintessential London menu...love it here.


Ordered the Sashimi salad and grilled scallop. Food was very good, well presented and portioned. Go again? - unambiguously YES!!...


I was here with my boyfriend. We ordered Murakami Bites and popcorn tempura. The food was perfect. The service was second to none. Our waitress was one of the best I have ever come across. It felt like we were celebrities the way we were treated. Such a great experience. I also love the look and decor. Such a great atmosphere. If you have an upcoming special occasion I would recommend coming here. One of the best eateries in London.


My wife and I came here for a birthday dinner. She had never been, and she wanted to try something new. I have to say that this is now one of her favorite restaurants. The food was amazing. We tried thegrilled salmon with teriyaki sauce. It was  perfect. One of the best meals I have had. Also we tried the Prawn oshi sushi; those were so good I wish I could have brought home two dozen. So good!


Food was OK, just amazing. We tried the softshell crab tempura and baby back ribs. Both were perfect. One of the best meals I have had. Our service was excellent. 


I had the fresh diced tuna with avocado salsa and grilled salmon with teriyaki sauce, and prawn oshi sushi. All the fish was amazingly fresh, perfectly cooked and dishes were well-balanced and seasoned. Good selection of sake at reasonable prices. Interesting selection of cocktails. Very highly recommended. 


Had heard lots of good things and this place lived up to the hype. Sushi were amazing. Menu was interesting - my husband really liked his tuna choice. We ordered a number of hot plates and enjoyed them all. Can't wait to go back!


Went with a friend and well managed. Had the crab which was excellent. Great atmosphere. Very busy as very popular.


We wanted to get a great meal. The Murakami had great service and all around great food. We had some good sushi rolls and then topped it off with salmon teriyaki and scallops. This will be on our list of places to visit.


I was so impressed by the food!!! I loved the sushi. Try not only the standard nigiri, try softshell crab tempura, served with chilli, spring onion, lemongrass, chives, ginger and tartar sauce. A refreshing taste that brought out the sweetness of the crab meat. What an inventive dish…


Not inexpensive but well worth it. All kinds of fresh fish, prawns, scallops - amazing selection and it was all delicious. Great sake selection too, lively but warm atmosphere - we loved it so much.


Amazing food, service was amazing and nice. Very recommended for young people!


We just love the Murakami. A good choice to impress out of town visitors. We like to stop by and sit at the bar for sushi and drinks. Drinks are top notch, I can't think of anywhere we've had better. That was impressive, quality before profit. Table dining is also top notch with great friendly service, we've never had a bad meal.


Great food, great service, amazing sushi. Tables are very well spaced so even though it's a busy place you still feel like you have a romantic table to yourself. Great place for a date or a romantic meal with your wife or husband.


This restaurant is a great venue if you want something that is high quality at a reasonable price. The grilled scallops are good and the seafood selection is always top notch and fresh. The Murakami is a good place for an expensive date or a special occasion.


Good fish and great service. I think It does for a romantic meal, even if it was loud an crowded. The service is quite nice and the atmosphere is amazing. If you are a sushi fan you should try Murakami


I returned to Murakami craving the exact same dish as I had the first time.. the softshell Crab Tempura served with chilli, spring onion, lemongrass, chives, ginger and tartar sauce. As delicious as I remembered. This is a great late night spot if you want to sit at the bar or grab a table.


The Murakami is not cheap. The service is crisp,correct, and spot on. Waiters know the sake selection and make great recommendations. Their chef produces an array of amazing dishes. For a special occasion, or just because, you will be satisfied at Murakami.


The restaurant has a unique, high end seafood menu. The portions are more than generous for fine dining quality. The wine and cocktail menu is also good. This restaurant really offers world class food. I recommend this one.


This is one of my favourite restaurants in London. The food is flavourful, the wine list is extensive and the staff is friendly. I love the tuna tartare. It is fantastic and can serve as a wonderful appetizer. 


It's my third visit to this restaurant. Food is really tasty and always served quick. Always a great atmosphere, a very reasonable price. I think this place is amazing!


I just love this restaurant! All meals are excellent. Nice choice for heavy eaters. As always exceedingly friendly staff and very good service!


Been here several times and would definitely recommend it to others. My favorite SALMON TERIYAKI & NASU DENGAKU  are always fresh and tasty. Here is a great choice of drinks, cocktails. The service is quick and friendly.


I had great dinner here with my friend yesterday. I'm not the Sushi fan, but it was wonderful dinner! The atmosphere was relaxing and the staff are friendly. The sake list is very good, meal is great. We had a fabulous evening.

tastemaker

I visited Murakami on a Wednesday evening, it was packed to the rafters and this may explain my poor experience. Service was incredibly slow, waiters were unfriendly and cold. The food itself was disappointing. The sushi was tasteless, some of the worst I’ve ever had in a restaurant. Hot dishes arrived luke warm and it was expensive for the quality you received. I understand the restaurant was very busy but overall the entire experience was below par. I wouldn’t recommend.

Tastemaker

This is one of the popular pre and post theatre venues to come to. Prices are pretty high for what you get, but the premium is there because of the quality and the presentation. The staff are friendly and fairly knowledgeable about their menu. The variety of hot and cold dishes on offer is impressive. You know you will get a decent meal here, and the best thing is you can just walk in (we did) without a reservation. The ambience is perfect to continue a wonderful night after the theatre and the list of drinks works well with their food. Decent option if you fancy Japanese food in a nice setting. No complaints from me!


Best sushi restaurant in London! Very good food and warm welcome. This is definitely a place I will make a point to go to for some good Japanese food. A favourite for me already.


Love their food. Sensible price for the area! Food is always fresh and good, and I like all the dishes I have ordered. My favorites are grilled scallop and soft-shell crab roll.

 
Tastemaker

Murakami is a sleek-lined sushi spot on St Martin's Lane with a friendly welcome and calm atmosphere. 


I'm no sushi expert, but the menu seemed extensive. I sampled the crispy scallop rolls, alongside a summery special that involved an interesting and surprisingly delicious avocado and strawberry combination. Oh, and a side dish of the always-necessary edamame beans.


First, the bad: the scallop rolls were slightly disappointing actually. They weren't as crispy as anticipated and actually had rather too slimy a texture for my taste. Having said that, with a dose of wasabi they were quite palatable. The strawberry and avocado rolls on the other hand were different and unexpected, but tasted wonderful I was very glad to have tried them. The edamame beans...there's not much to comment on there!

I did expect a 25% discount on my bill (as I'd booked through an offer on opentable), which never appeared - perhaos I clicked the wrong button. This may explain why I was slightly miffed at the high cost (£30 for 3 dishes and a drink, inc. service). It's certainly not cheap - but I knew that when ordering. 

A nice choice for a slightly fancier pre-theatre meal, but in terms of the food quality to value ratio, Murakami loses out to its sister restaurant, Gyoza Bar, next door. 

 


Perfect place for rest. Truly delicious food. Exquisite actually. I'm looking forward to my next visit. Great service; the hostess was very welcoming. Really friendly staff and I just love the design.


It's been a beaut evening! The best sushi in London. It's fine and well presented and I have the tremendous impression about the atmosphere. Service is first class.

 

I had dinner here a day before yesterday and I can safely say it has been one of my favorite meals in London. The menu is perfect. The seafood selection is great, along with meat and sushi dishes. I recommend this restaurant for all!!!


There was something comfortable about this sushi place. Maybe it was good feeling atmosphere, it the friendly staff or beautiful decor? Not sure, but it was an amazing experience.


Food so delicious! Buzzy, trendy, fun atmosphere on a saturday night! Each single dish was so delicious, crab tempura especially! Can't wait to be there again!!!


Horrible place ever .

I advise you not to go there. How come Indian people cook Japanese food and rude waiter and waiters.

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