Donzoko has been around for yonks on Kingly Street, just off Carnaby Street, and it still does the trick. Service is efficient and sweet, and we stayed right up till closing time that evening without one dirty look.
A traditional Japanese menu without the modern specials, I managed to try some different dishes I wouldn't have otherwise ventured into if it hadn't been for some suggestion by Japanese-loving friend J.
Completely spoilt by my first taste of scallop sashimi at Pham Sushi, I was panting like a desperate puppy whilst scanning the menu at Donzoko. It arrived amongst the other lovely, delicate and slippery raw fish pieces, and was still as sweet as in my first memory.
Tuna Sashimi with Sticky Soya Beans: Little soya beans created cheesy "strings" as we lifted them away from the sashimi. Sweet and savoury in taste, their texture reminded me of the film that goes around seeds in okra. I know that can freak some people out but you have to live dangerously, right?
Grilled Aubergine with Miso Paste: The aubergine skin was slightly caramelised and tore apart perfectly from the mushy and smoky flesh.
Beef Teriyaki: Fantastic flavour but the danger with sizzling dishes is that they can over-sizzle! A little more rawness on the inside would have been better.
Unfiltered Sake: Remember that Sake Tasting at Tsuru? No unfiltered sake mentioned there, so we'd uncovered yet another find. Liquid in the bottles have 2 separate cloudy and clear layers, which are jiggled in front of you to mix and served at room temperature. Delicious, refreshing and suitably Ying to the hot food Yang.
Agedashi Dofu: superbly done. Each tofu piece was coated with feather light crunch, sat in a light salty sauce. I think it was chopped tomato underneath the seaweed that mixed into the broth.
Assorted Tempura: Nice variety of King Prawns, sweet potato, aubergine and turnip. Light batter, without being greasy. It properly comes with that little mound of grated turnip that dissolves into the accompanying sauce.
My one find and recommendation is the sake alone! What a boozer. I would highly recommend all the I dishes that I tried, they were all well cooked and tasty, unlike some bland places that claim to be authentic. For about 8 dishes, 2 bottles of sakes, 2 bottles of beer, between 3, it came to about £38 each. Not the cheapest but quality stuff indeed.