Up sticks and start a restaurant…why not?


Just across from Smithfield market

Just across from Smithfield market...

An interesting article by Rhymer Rigby in the Financial Times this weekend looked at the story of three folk from the financial sector who broke out and set up successful eateries.The story caught my eye as one of them is responsible for Saki, a restaurant I ate in last week. The proprietor, Ayako Watanabe formerly of Accenture, decided to take advantage of what she saw as a gap in the market for all the kinds of Japanese food that Britain is currently unaware of; the most commonly known gastronomic export being sushi.

“Watanabe opened Saki in London’s Smithfield in 2006. Upstairs is a Japanese grocery store and downstairs a restaurant. Like Chugh, she has found the hours long and the work hands-on (she moved house to be 15 minutes’ walk from her premises).”

She also comments that her consultancy experience has held her in good stead for adopting numerous roles in her new venture. As far as I could see, her efforts are paying off. I chanced this previously untried place (by me and my colleagues) for a client meal and I was a great choice. It doesn’t look like much more than a takeaway from the street, but downstairs there a nice dark decor that aids a relaxed atmosphere. For a client or journalist lunch, I like the kind of place that when you reach daylight it seems like you’ve been there for a good while. These aren’t things to rush.

The sushi was of exceptional quality with all present unloading the superlatives. It was the first time I’ve had lobster with Japanese and swordfish sashimi. The overall experience was highly enjoyable with the minor exception of what appeared to be an honest mix-up over one of our dishes.

I’ve not got a star rating system yet, but I’m safely adding this to my list of places to eat near work.

Saki Bar & Food Emporium on Urbanspoon

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4 thoughts on “Up sticks and start a restaurant…why not?

  1. So, in a story about a resturant going beyond the stereotype of Japanese being only sushi, you branched out to… sashimi?? You know how i feel about all that raw crap… what about one of the greatest Japanese traditions, teppanyaki (i think it’s called!) the one where they cook it in front of you. Food that;s fresh and theatrical. I gather Matsuri does it, could take out a bankloan and go there one day…

    Thought I’d found a great looking one called Benihaha, then realisd 2 things. 1. it is only in the US, Canada and South America and 2. it does Sake sangria. Not quite the authentic experience I’d be looking for.

    If you can find a teppanyaki restaurant that’s less expensive than Matsuri, I’m in…

  2. Yeah Matsuri also requires a great deal of patience while you wait for the food, from my experience. The bankloan issue is also a bit of a bum.

    I’ll take that challenge to find a good teppanyaki… particularly in light of the crap Japanese food I had in Chinatown yesterday, GRR.

    Over it.

  3. Was there a potential clue in looking for Japanese food in chinatown? any reccos for a good chinese/japanese supermarket would also be welcome (particularly an accessible one, none of this north or east london shizzle please). Feeling the urge to create some malaysia specialities but struggling to find the appropriate shape noodles at the mo, which makes all the difference.

  4. Pingback: Where to get Japanese produce in London « Source it, cook it, eat it

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