Worldwide icon-chevron-right Europe icon-chevron-right United Kingdom icon-chevron-right England icon-chevron-right London icon-chevron-right Taro

Taro

Restaurants, Japanese Soho
4 out of 5 stars
(8user reviews)

Time Out says

Budget Japanese restaurant, with another branch in Balham.

Posted:

Details

Address: 61 Brewer Street
London
W1F 9UW
Contact:
Do you own this business?

Users say (8)

4 out of 5 stars

Average User Rating

4.3 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:5
  • 4 star:3
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:1
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|9
1 person listening
tastemaker

Taro provides an affordable Japanese meal in Soho. It's open pretty late and you often see people float in from the nearby cabaret shows. It's soupy noodle dishes are huge and will definitely fill you up. The sushi is pretty good just not varied. (usual selections). Their beancurd side dishes are pretty cool and cooked well. The seating area is packed, the staff (especially the owner (whose face is on the sign outside!!) are really friendly. It's a cool place if you want a no nonsense, swift Japanese meal. 

tastemaker

Taro is a restaurant I really like but I didn't enjoy it as much as now when I tried it prior to my visit to Japan. 

This is because the dishes I enjoy at Taro now are the one I discovered during my visit in Japan, I didn't even know they existed before. 

I wouldn't recommend Taro to whom want some sushi, there are plenty of sushi places that are better and specialised in sushi in the area. Same thing with Ramen, compared to "western style ramen" you find at Bone Daddies and Tonkotsu. You come here for things like eel, so delicious! or the different don they served and the tempura udon. 


The vibe as well is not what you expect from a western Japanese restaurant, it's relaxed, everyone is squeezed together and the chairs are wobbly. Not recommended for a date or for a night out with lots of friends.  

Tastemaker

The interiors are very basic. The menu features all the traditional Japanese staples (sushi, sashimi, ramen, bento boxes). Now, there are hordes of reviewers out there who hail this place as one of the last stalwarts of traditional inexpensive Japanese cooking. That always makes me wonder how many of those reviewers actually visited Japan to pass this kind of judgement. I haven't. I will therefore base my review on what I can objectively evaluate. But let me just say: I sat at the counter facing open kitchen to watch the chefs churn out the courses. They were four and only one of them was Asian.

I had agedashi tofu and a vegetarian ramen. Both arrived at the same time and looked, smelled and tasted nice. The miso broth of the ramen and the dashi broth of agedashi tofu were on a less salty side yet nicely balanced. However (to address the claim Taro's cooking is cheap) the veggie ramen felt a bit scant: it literally contained noodles, broth, two pods of mange tout (seriously??) and negligible quantities of seaweed, grated carrot and soya sprouts. For 2 pounds more you get a much better offering at Bone Daddies, featuring ample quantities of more expensive ingredients (i.e. their mushroom ramen is laden with Japanese mushrooms). The noodles were of a very cheap instant store bought variety (as opposed to, for example, made in house noodles at Tonkotsu, which, again, cost you just a couple quid more).

In general, this felt like a classical trap of London foodie scene: as prices in general are high, many people stick to cheaper options without realising there are significantly better experiences to be had for marginally higher price. I, for one, will be sticking to Bone Daddies and Tonkotsu. You pay extra £2 for bigger mains, but you get more of quality ingredients and also better toilets (the ones at Taro look like a construction site).

Finally, the bill arrived handwritten and without the breakdown, so not sure how that would work for larger groups splitting the bill. They charge service too. 

PS: to give Taro another try (it does have the benefit of being conveniently located and you can eat there quickly) I tried to stop for a meal at around 3.30 pm on Thursday (a super quiet time with just 3 double tables taken). The waiter (or owner?) tried to squeeze me into a super inconvenient looking table for two right in the passageway. All my please for a better bigger table (again, the venue was empty) ended in nothing. I left. I will not return. They very clearly forget they only have business because they have our custom.



Inexpensive and delicious. I love Taro! One thing's for sure - you definitely won't walk away hungry. Their soups, boxes and sushi are all worth a try, and after your first visit you're sure to a be a returning customer. Inside, the restaurant itself isn't the fanciest but one bite of their food and you really won't care.


Great common or garden western take on everyday japanese dishes. Sushi and Sashimi are great. Teriyaki and ramen dishes are good soul food or hangover recovery dishes


I have eaten in this place since early 2000's and its amazing. I had lunch from here yesterday and forgot how wonderful the food was, so I am back to my 2 times a week at Taros ! Oh no, great value for lunch and quick for work lunch if you dont have much time. 


This place has simple low key cafe style decor and consistently good food. When I worked in the area this was a fail safe post work spot for casual mid week dinner or lunch. Would recommend


Taro is a jewel in Soho largely because it is one of the few proper places to eat unpretentious good food. The decor is like a normal restaurant, the service is like a normal restaurant, the prices are like a normal restaurant and the food is like a very good restaurant. I live round the corner and go here a lot. I personally recommend the veg gyoza as a side plate sharer to your main, eaten whilst sitting up at the counter at the front watching the food being made by the un-hip chefs in an amazingly calm and efficient fashion. And you'll recognise Mr Taro himself not because he arrives in a ferrari or because he shouts at the staff or conducts himself like the owner, but only by the caricature of his face on the logo. He works there every night printing receipts and waiting the tables with the other staff.


Large portions for the price. The food is amazing! Would highly recommend to anyone looking for a great Japanese in Soho.

Snap up exclusive discounts in London

Time Out's handpicked deals — hurry, they won't be around for long...