Ah you need something for sushi? Or maybe a bit of sake to slake your thirst? Or perhaps some gummy sweets which you can’t pronounce to save your life? Then Japan Centre is the place for you! As the name suggests, it’s the one stop shop for everything Japanese (food-related that is). No pictures this time, I was too busy tasting tuna and trying to decipher the inscriptions on the sake bottles!
I’ve ducked in and out a few times, but recently I needed all the ingredients to put together a duelling dragon roll as part of a cook off. The standard dragon roll uses avocado for the scales and I opted for thinly sliced tuna for its counterpart. Japan Centre was perfect and I literally sourced everything there (except strangely enough the avocados and prawns which came from Borough Market instead).
Now be warned, despite being in the middle of London they aren’t as gaijin friendly as you would hope. About 2/3rds of the items have English translations but a lot of things you just have to guess at. Still, ask for help and it will be given freely and you can’t fault the staff on friendliness. My favourite is the guy at the fish counter who is possible the fasted slicer of sashimi I’ve ever seen and does everything with a massive smile.
You can also get hot dishes at the front which makes a great option if you don’t want to shop hungry. Just fill up on some sushi, ramen, or donburri and then shop away to your heart’s content. It always smells so good when you walk through that you can’t help but stop for a snack.
They also have one of the largest selections of sake I’ve seen in London but sadly not a single word of advice or tasting notes for the myriad selection of bottles. I typically go with labels I recognise (conveniently they are also some of the cheaper bottles there) but I’m tempted to organise my friends into a sake tasting to broaden our palates. Anyone interested?