Monday, August 16, 2010

Wow Simply Japanese

Crouch End may not be the most obvious place for mind-blowing Japanese, but that's what we love - the unsung, the underrated, the unexpected.

Friends A & H suggested Monday night to try their local Japanese, Wow Simply Japanese. We jumped into our little rented Connect car and drove through leafy Hampstead to Crouch End. They had been given an inside tip from the waitress. Come on Monday night after the weekly delivery and be prepared to be in awe.

This waitress wasn't kidding...

Crispy Tofu steak: Genius. Covered in an irresistible panko shell, the steak was of the firmer tofu variety, elegantly fried and drizzled with teriyaki. 

Miso coated Aubergine: Marinated in dark miso, then baked, the aubergine was in effect a spread when it arrived in its own case. I love the caramelised flavours that miso produces when baked. 

Sea Bass tempura: Wonderfully fresh fish, coated in a light and feathery tempura batter. Interestingly, served with a dark soy and a spicy sauce.

Crab gyozas: The only disappointing dish of the selection. Gyozas should be slightly charred from being flash-fried then steamed in a pan. Though the filling was decent, it tumbled out in a soggy fashion from its casing. This functional flaw just means you get lots of mish-mash floating around in the dipping sauce and not much in your mouth!

Tempura scallop in seaweed, served with mayonnaise: One of the little surprises. Crunchy seaweed, heightened by that same feather-light tempura, the scallops inside were cooked perfectly. I'm always amazed at how tempura saltiness can be successfully offset by a creamy, tangy mayonnaise.

(Top) Tofu Nigiri and (Bottom) Special Wow maki rolls: Business time! Tofu Nigiri was the classic sweet tofu-skin case over sushi rice. What was really impressive were the tempura fried house rolls, filled with avocado, crab and mini ikura (caviar).

(Top) Spicy tuna rolls and (Bottom) Scallop sashimi: Bouncy and super fresh tuna and scallop. I'm certain there is something about this Monday night theory.

Bonanza! Isn't that a sight for sore eyes? Describing this regal selection of sushi is quite a challenge, but I can at least summarise the highlights. Tuna and salmon were exceptional here; melt-in-your-mouth doesn't even begin to describe these great pieces. Do also try the squid nigiri or sashimi, it starts with a crunch and then dissipates on the tongue. And finally, the green caviar coated rolls are the Fried Salmon Skin Maki rolls. Fried fish skin may sound slightly disturbing but believe me they are magical. Talking about roll reversal (pun intended): soft little caviar bubbles outside make way for the crunch inside!

Banana tempura and ice cream: This tempura is endless! Majestically presented, we can't escape this alluring batter that makes everything great. Admittedly the banana itself isn't sweet, but it's all about the batter.

In all glorious cringe-worthiness, this place will make you go wow. Another reasonably priced, hidden London special, it's worth a trek if you make it to this North London 'burb. If I haven't made it obvious enough, tempura and the crunchies are the house specialities. At £25 per head for all our dishes, free-flow green tea amongst four people, it's also a lesson in being friendly with the waitresses!

Wow Simply Japanese on Urbanspoon


KK said...


Should have finish my MBA in London instead! lol!

Good blogging hungry female....when you can cause the kind of sweet hunger for your food says something. "Food,Glorious,Food"!

Brigadeiro said...

YUM YUM YUM!!! This has my mouth watering, and it's only breakfast time!