[UK] Taro Restaurant (太郎)

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Taro on Urbanspoon

Being deprived of Japanese food at Leicester, we decided to go on a hunt for affordable ambrosial Japanese cuisine while we were in London. Walking around Picadilly Circus, we somehow stumbled at Soho area. We eventually decided to return to Taro Restaurant, where 'tmcy' first brought me there after visiting with her sister. It was what we would regard as a 'no-frills-eat-and-go' sort of a Japanese restaurant, which suited us fine since none of us had any preferences. 

Simply decorated with wooden tables and chairs, it is in fact a pretty small restaurant. With just over 10 tables available on the ground floor (apart from the 6 seats for Teppanyaki while stairs down to the lower ground leads to the lavatories), Taro is constantly filled with diners. On the previous occasion when we visited Taro, we arrived at around 7.30pm and there was even a queue outside the restaurant. That being said, there is a high turnover rate for the tables and even being in the queue, the wait was merely approximately 15 minutes. 

What I particularly disliked though was the fact that you had to sit uncomfortably close to the next diner (be it a random stranger). If you are looking for a place to have some small chit-chat with your lady or gent, this is surely a big 'no-no'. Anyhow, let's get to the food already! itadakimasu! (which translates literally to 'I humbly receive' as part of Japanese table manners)  いただきます! 

Pork Ramen (£6.90/-)
Noodles in soya soup with sliced pork, seaweed, bean-sprout and spring-onion.

(+) The noodles were al dente, which was crux considering this was a noodles dish.
(+) The pork was juicy and tender, and had a good fair amount of lean meat with thin layer of fat.

(-) Not sure if it was MSG seasoning, but the miso soup made me very thirsty after the meal.

Verdict: 7.0/10

Chicken Ramen (£6.90/-)

(+) The fried chicken portions were very crispy on the outside, juicy and tender on the inside.
(+) The soya soup base was lighter than the pork ramen.
(+) Similarly, the ramen was al dente. Good quality control.

Verdict: 7.5/10

Chicken Teri Don (£6.30/-)
Teriyaki chicken on rice with vegetables.

(+) Like the ramen, chicken portions were crispy on the outside, tender on the inside.
(+) Teriyaki sauce was not too overwhelming, subtly sweet to suit my preference.
(+) Generous amount of meat for the price/dish.

(-) Despite it said 'vegetables' on the menu, do not expect half as much compared to the meat portion.

Verdict: 8.0/10

Despite the fact that it is a small restaurant serving 'fast food' (waiting time for dishes was no more than 15mins), the quality was upheld on the two occasions that we visited. It is certainly not your high-class Japanese cuisine fine-dining, considering the ambiance but the quality of food was certain value for money. There is a 10% service charge being levied onto the prices stated above, though VAT had been included. Apparently, the service charge is only being levied for diners visiting the restaurant in the evening. This could probably be attributed to the high demand for seats.

It seemed like they had quite a range of sushi and bento boxes too, so that could be next on our order list when we return for a visit. 

For more information on Taro Restaurants, please visit their website here.

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