Saturday, 28 May 2011

Akari - Japanese restaurant on Essex Road

A couple of weeks ago some friends and I were trawling down Essex Road in search of a bar that was showing the Eurovision Final. En route we passed Akari and my friend, Kristian, exclaimed that it is an excellent Japanese restaurant.  I've now had lunch there twice and can only agree with him.  

I walk past Akari every day on my way to work and have long been wondering what the deal is.  From the outside it looks like your standard pub.  Even once inside the decor is akin to many other London pubs with lots of dark wood, green ceramic tiles, ornamented mirrors and so on.

The menu, however, is entirely Japanese - noodles, sushi, sashimi, teriyaki, edamame etc.  It always looks quite busy in the evenings and on both visits we were surrounded by several other groups of people.  Unlike the cafes and restaurants on Upper Street which are packed on Saturdays for lunch, you can easily get a table at Akari. It is just far enough away from the crowds. A big plus in my world.

At lunch you can choose between a set of lunch specials and the regular dishes - not necessarily practical for someone as indecisive as me, but an impressive choice nonetheless.

The lunch deals are reasonable, e.g. £9 gets you salmon teriyaki, a big bowl of rice and miso soup or 4 big salmon & avocado hand rolls and miso soup. I tried both these today and very much enjoyed them.  Last week I tried the chicken teriyaki and chicken katsu.  Both were delicious.

The sushi is also good and there's no stinginess on the wasabi or pickled ginger. 

All in all, I'd recommend Akari. I'm not sure I'd cross London for it, but I'm very happy to have it in my neighbourhood. The food is good and the service is friendly and efficient. Mr. Sprinkle, my mum and my cousin who I've shared my meals with here have all been happy with the food and overall experience too.    


Akari is located on the corner of Essex Road and Canonbury Road across from Essex Road rail station.  It is a 20 minute walk from Angel tube station.  196 Essex Road N1 8LZ. Tel: 0207 226 9943

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Easy Thursday dinner: bangers, beets, oranges, spuds, spinach

I like week night dinners that are tasty, healthy and quick to make.  From prep to finish, I don't want to be spending much more than 30 minutes.  This evening I put together a meal for Mr. Sprinkle and I that ticked all the boxes (score!): sausages with potatoes and a salad consisting of spinach leaves, orange, feta, beets, and sunflower seeds. 

Salad for 2-4 people:
4 diced cooked beet roots
1 peeled and diced orange
100g spinach leaves
feta cheese
sunflower seeds
salt & pepper

1. Mix together the diced beet roots, orange and spinach leaves.  Sprinkle with feta, seeds, salt and pepper to your liking.

I served the salad with sausages and boiled potatoes.  I bought the sausages from the Stocks Farm stall at the wonderful Organic Farmers' Market in Stoke Newington.  I highly recommend the sausages - they were delicious!

The Organic Farmers' Market in Stoke Newington is on every Saturday from 10am to 2.30pm at William Patten School on Stoke Newington Church Street, N16 0NX.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Chorizo & potato salad

I hope you all enjoyed the bank holidays! I took off the three days between Easter and the Royal Wedding which means that 11 days of vacation are about to reach an end.  11 days spent in the wonderful company of family and friends over numerous great meals and slightly excessive amounts of drink but, as the good old saying goes, when in Rome...or rather when in Naestved, Copenhagen and London. 

In an attempt to cure the inevitable end-of-holiday-blues and wind down Mr. Sprinkle's and my own excessive food and drink consumption, I just put together a simple chorizo & potato salad which I served with a green salad. 

It took about 30 minutes to prepare both salads. I made four portions of the potato & chorizo salad allowing us to bring in lunch to work tomorrow (I am desperately trying to minimise the trauma of my alarm tomorrow morning by getting back into the swing of normality).

Chorizo & potato salad for 4 friends:
1 kg of new small potatoes
3 sliced cooking chorizos (I used Brindisa)
1 diced red onion
chopped fresh dill
salt & peper
olive oil

1. Wash, peel, (if you like) and boil the potatoes.

2. Meanwhile fry the red onion in a bit of olive oil.  Add the chorizo once they've turned light brown.  Fry for another couple of minutes until the chorizo is done.

3. Once the potatoes are boiled, chop them into bite-size pieces. Place them in a bowl and pour the chorizo, onion and olive oil from the pan over them.  Mix it around and add some salt & pepper before sprinkling the fresh dill on top.

I served the dish with a salad made from romaine leaves, tomatoes, red pepper, feta cheese, pumpkin & sunflower seeds, dressed with balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

Have an excellent week!