Last Friday, I was invited to the opening night of Tsukemono, which you can currently find inside The Robin Hood on St Michael’s Hill. Seeing as Tsukemono was awarded the best pop-up restaurant of 2017 by Foozie, I wanted to see if they were still serving up that proper down and dirty Japanese soul food everyone loved!
There was definitely a great vibe when I arrived; the place was completely packed and everyone was chowing down on some amazing looking food! I developed serious food envy after peering over the other diners’ shoulders (subtly) to see what kind of dishes were on offer. After my friend and I we were seated, I made sure we picked our order quickly as I was getting hangry.
Let’s start with my favourite part of the meal, the nasu katsu – deep fried aubergine. They were light, crispy, mourish and the miso and sesame sauce added an intense savoury and salty flavour. The highlight for me on this dish were the pickled shiitake mushrooms. They were bursting with flavour, sharp, sweet and oh so juicy.
Next favourite dish was the kara ageh – deep fried chicken. The coating was beautifully crisp and seasoned well and the meat itself was tender, but it was the accompaniments that made this chicken taste amazing. The wasabi mayo was pretty damn good (although I could have done with a bigger hit of wasabi as I am a spice fiend) and the kimchi was on point; spicy, acidic and the cabbage still had a good bite to it.
The Japanese poutine was the most interesting dish I tried. As it cost £6, my expectations were high and when this bountiful portion of fries were placed on the table they certainly looked impressive. Everyone that knows me knows I am a saucy kinda girl, so seeing that these fries were covered in cheese, okonomi sauce and mayo really got me excited to try them. The addition of the bonito flakes added a real fun element to the whole meal… watching your food actually move is not something you see everyday!
Thankfully, the poutine tasted just as good as it looked! The combination of textures and flavours were great and the bonito flakes added an unusual salty seasoning which I really enjoyed.
Finally, my friend and I shared two different rice dishes, the curry don and the buta don. The pork belly on the buta don was succulent and the soft boiled egg made this dish incredibly unctuous. The umami sauce was deep and rich in flavour and held the whole dish together, but as it was so good I thought there could have been more of it on the dish. The Japanese curry sauce on the curry don was decent. It was nice and thick and slightly spicy but I felt that it was lacking an extra umph for my personal taste.
Overall I had a great time, the food was all well priced and definitely intriguing. So make sure you book in some time at The Robin Hood if you want to try some naughty Japanese food that will challenge your taste buds!