What can you tell us about Anzu?
Firstly, it's from the people behind Tonkotsu but at the same time, it's not Tonkotsu. Anzu is instead a little more upmarket than its ramen-focused siblings, something which is very clear from its location in the new St James's Market (we'll get back to that in a bit).
And while there is a smidgen of ramen on the menu, a big focus is on their Teishoku set menus - a range of main dishes served with miso and rice.
Where is it?
In a new space that seems to have been carved out of thin air just off Haymarket (about 2 mins from Picadilly Circus station). St James's Market is host to a number of new restaurants and, along with Salt Yard's Veneta, Anzu is one of the first to open.
Where should we meet for a drink first?
The one thing that the development doesn't seem to have (yet, anyway) is a destination bar - something which feels like a bit of a missed opportunity. But if you can take in a couple of pre or post dinner snacks, you can grab a seat at next-door Veneta. Alternatively, a short walk will get you to the Hawksmoor Air Street bar.
And, of course, you can prop yourself up at the small bar in Anzu where they have a rather fine range of Japanese whiskies and sake to work through (which is where we had our digestif).
Where should I sit?
We think the best places are the seats for two by the window. However, they're soon adding some alfresco seating which we think will be highly prized in the summer (although it will also be heated in the winter), particularly as St James's Market is a vast pedestrianised area for this part of town.
And what should I order?
As mentioned, you can go for the ramen that Tonkotsu is known for - but for us, the area of focus was on the new starters/snacks and the main Teishoku set. Of that, particular recommendations are:
- King Crab & Pork Gyoza (£9.50) - because how could you NOT order pork and king crab gyoza? As good as you'd expect.
- Wagyu Fillet “tataki” Carpaccio (£18) - it's Wagyu, so not cheap, but it does have that melt-in-your-mouth quality
- Furofuki Daikon with Yuzu Miso (£5) - slow cooked daikon served drizzled with yuzu miso and chillies. A standout vegetarian dish.
- Salmon teriyaki Teishoku (16) - Both sets we tried were good but this just edged the tonkatsu out.
- Shu Creamu (£7.50) - a glorious custard-filled pastry. Be prepared to for demands to share this if you're the only one ordering.
Plus you'll want to pimp up the rice in the set menu too. Kaizen-don (£6 extra) has it served cold and covered with sashimi while the Takikomi has it hot and mixed with mushrooms and more veg. Either is a great upgrade.
There's a mini selection of cocktails and we kicked things off with a perfect negroni (£8) before heading to the wine list. There, wines start at £24 for Clos Pinell Garnatxa Blanca white. And as we mentioned earlier, we think you deserve rounding off the meal with a very fine glass of Japanese whisky.
Acting somewhat like a slightly grown-up Tonkotsu but with a more extensive menu, this acts as a great introduction to St James's Market and the set menus are good value too. Mix in some prime alfresco seating and they have another winner on their hands.
Anzu is at 1 Norris St, St. James's, London SW1Y 4RJ. Find out more about Anzu.
Hot Dinners were invited to Anzu. Prices are correct at the time of writing.