March 30 2010
All my visits to Japan, land of the rising sun and the singing toilet seat, have been wonderful – blighted only perhaps by my embarrassing habit of dropping my sushi in my soy sauce, leaving me splattered with the stuff while my Japanese hosts pretend not to notice.
Nevertheless, I’ve lusted after Japanese food ever since, so I was thrilled to discover one of London’s most authentic Japanese restaurants on my doorstep when I moved neighbourhoods a few years ago. Café Japan, easily missed or dismissed on its unprepossessing corner, is tucked round the bend from Golders Green Tube station. It looks pretty basic, with scrubbed pine tables and chairs and a small sushi bar, but the food is searingly fresh, genuine and divinely delicious.
Sushi and especially the sashimi are worth travelling across town for, as are their own special inside-out rolls, age-rolls; last week I tried the age-hama roll, with crispy fried yellow tail and spicy sauce. Perfection, and it has now been added to my list of regular favourites which include the meltingly sweet and buttery soft black cod.
Friendly staff greet you as you come in and go out, traditional style, and it’s so busy and buzzing no one seems to notice my sushi splashing. Booking is essential.
Lunch from £7.50; dinner from £12. Open Wednesday to Sunday, 12pm-2pm, 6pm-10pm.