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THE SCENE A reliable restaurant, dishing up sushi rolls and sobas to Soho’s eclectic diners.

Satsuma enjoyed a summer hiatus and re-opened in August with a new look, branding itself as a katsu specialist – katsu being food that is breadcrumbed and deep fried. The establishment is now packed with bright-orange futuristic pod-style seating, giving the effect that a spaceship has landed and swallowed the place whole. It’s a claustrophobic jungle – although regulars are not put off; even on a weeknight, couples still walk in like they own the place.

THE GRUB: We start by wrapping our tastebuds around thick slices of miso-dressed aubergine. It dissolves on the tongue, the miso lending a sweet caramel flavour.  Our slices of tempura sweet potato are equally delicious. The sweetness of the vegetable plays off the mild spiciness of the curry to mouthwatering effect, and this, along with the aubergine, is the evening’s highlight.

However, it’s just as well Satsuma isn’t a maki specialist, because every variety we try is so poorly put together it collapses between our chopsticks. The batter is even inexcusably overcooked on our softshell tempura filling.

We move on to the beef teriyaki bento box, which is a good sampler. The slices of dressed beef, still red in the middle, are a real treat, and the accompanying miso soup is also worth a mention. But the meal is let down by two vegetable croquettes, which are disappointingly gluggy.

Not wanting to finish on that note, we order a scoop each of the green tea and sesame ice cream. It proves the adventurous finale we’d hoped for.

BEHIND THE BAR: A large selection of wines and beer, including the very tasty Asahi Black – a dark variation of the Japanese larger.

BILL PLEASE: Starters from £4.80; mains from £7.20; bento boxes £14.50; wine from £3 a glass; beer from £2.20 a bottle; cocktails from £5.

VERDICT: Staff amid this orange jungle are friendly enough, but it needs to up its game before the loyalities of regulars wear thin.

2/5

56 Wardour Street, W1D 4JG 
osatsuma.com 
Tube: Piccadilly Circus

- REBECCA KENT


Talkback


Satsuma, Japanese food, Soho
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