After our visit to Inamo, we still had a craving for Japanese food. The next restaurant on our list of ones to try was Satsuma down the road from Inamo on Wardour St. No gadgetry here, just a large menu with an impressive vegetarian selection and good service.
I went for the Tofu Steak Bento Box, with a side order of seaweed salad.
The bento box had fried tofu with a sprinkling of toasted almonds with a teryaki sauce, a couple of pieces of cucumber and avocado sushi, salad, crispy fried potato cake, rice and pickles. There was also a bowl of miso.
The tofu was great, crispy on the outside with a sweet teryaki sauce round it, a satisfying focus to the meal. The sushi was fine. The lettuce salad had that tangy salad dressing that I’ve only ever had in Japanese places. However, I question the whole ring of yellow pepper on it – how are you supposed to eat that with chopsticks? The potato cake was a bit bland, but then it’s a potato cake! A bit of wasabi and soy helped it along.
The great revelation of the meal was the seaweed salad. It was served over ice in a sundae glass. It achieved a mixture of crunch and slipperiness that tasted a whole lot better than it looks written down. It had a cooling dressing that had to have mint in it somewhere. It was completely refreshing and I think would work better than ice-cream to cool you down on a hot day.
I was impressed with Satsuma’s vegetarian selection. There were at least a couple of options in each section to choose from, so there were other bento boxes I could have had, which is great compared to the standard solitary veggie option you too often get. The only questionable item was the miso soup that came with the bento box. The standard miso soup on the menu wasn’t marked as vegetarian. I asked the waiter about it and he went to check. He came back, a little too quickly for a trip to the kitchen, to say that yes, the miso soup was vegetarian. I wasn’t convinced (and neither were my companions) so I took a quick sip. It had too deep a flavour to persuade me that it was based on a veggie rather than dashi stock, so I left it be. There was enough to eat without it so I didn’t miss it. Next time I go I shall make further enquiries.
Dodgy miso soup aside, it was a very satisfying experience. The service was quick and plentiful. The ambience was lively (for once I wasn’t on the loudest table in the place). There are great veggie options. It was very reasonably priced for Soho and Japanese food. Dinner for three, including wine and service came to £101.
56 Wardour St
020 7437 8338