Ten Ten Tei and Yoshino are the first places that pop into my head around Piccadilly Circus. I love the simplicity and comfort of knowing what to eat without looking at the menu and knowing there is no need to book nor will it be packed. I personally find traditional Japanese food more casual and comfortable than any other, for its lack of excessive oil and butter often found in other cuisines.
I’ve been going to Ten Ten Tei for years and years, the menu has never changed nor has the original Japanese crew. It’s always full of oriental people looking for cheap Japanese food in a comfortable environment. The sushi counter invites all sorts of solo diners, a bowl of ramen or rice with traditional Japanese appetisers.
There are only four tables on the ground floor and a further six or so downstairs. Queues can be long during busy times but most people would finish their food fast. Over the years, I’ve never queued longer than 10 minutes.
The four page menu (double sided) has never changed, including traditional dishes of rice, noodles, sushi and a selection of appetisers. I never found their sushi good, sashimi not fresh enough and the proportion of rice seemed too chunky. The best option is to order a selection of appetisers with rice, like teriyaki salmon, nasu dengaku (fried aubergine with miso paste) and sutamina tofu. Ramen is good too, shoyu (soy sauce base) is my favourite with a thick piece of pork belly on top.
One of my favourite tofu dishes, garnished with sticky yam and natto. Natto is fermented soy beans that Japanese people often eat instead of yogurt as it contains large quantities of good bacteria. Most people dislike natto, which is definitely an acquired taste like oysters.
A side of seaweed salad is just so refreshing, especially when chilled on ice cubes.
This was simply boiled egg and spinach in a ramen broth, it shouted healthy and home cooking which I preferred over a cold bowl of salad.
Most Japanese restaurants (traditional ones) would have this dish, it’s as common as agedashi tofu (deep fried tofu) and very simple to make. Fry the aubergine in a pan for 3 minutes or so and spread on the miso paste. The aubergine was cooked through for a soft texture infused with a good dose of oily miso flavour, salty on its own but ideal with rice.
Rice & miso soup
Verdict - 3/5
Food (homey) - comfort eating demonstrated at its peak with traditional Japanese dishes of authentic flavours. Love the nasu dengaku and sutamina tofu!
Service (comfortable) - food always come fast unless you order the teriyaki salmon that takes over 15 minutes to cook. Service is always friendly!
Cost (cheap) - our lunch billed £28, which makes it a cheap eat.