We have had Ten Ten Tei on our ‘to do list’ for months and always have meant to go. We have only ever heard good things about this small Japanese family run restaurant and were determined once and for all to find out what all the fuss was about.
This is not that well known but local Londoners have a sweet spot for this place. It is inconspicuously located on Brewer Street between a Japanese supermarket and a Japanese’s bar. It is renowned for its no frills just good food and a dirt cheap price. Sounds good so far!
We walked into this tiny restaurant that has a bar serving sake and a chef preparing raw fish with four or five tables. The room looks like an old fashioned living room and you can see straight away that the focus is on food here. We were taken down narrow stairs to another room, which was slightly bigger but still only had 6 – 8 tables. Customers have to walk through a heavy blue curtain that poises as a door to get into the downstairs dining area. I assume this is to block the site of the hall which leads to the toilets as well as adding colour to an otherwise very beige room.
We were seated by a polite Japanese waitress who seemed to be managing the downstairs, whilst the elderly man upstairs (probably her father) waited on the upstairs restaurant. We sat down and we were given the menu. We were told that we ought to try the sushi as it was one of the freshest in town and at a great price. We chose to order the prawn tempura and sushi platter for starter to share. For main course I was torn as I wanted chicken katsu and they only served pork katsu, which I really didn’t fancy. Instead I ordered an egg chicken curry, mainly because I had no idea what this was, even when the waitress explained to me. My friend ordered the eel teriyaki with rice, I thought an odd choice but I was proven wrong. We ordered a large bottle of sake which I quickly finished off before my t-total friend had a look in.
We needn’t have ordered the main course as the starter was ginormous. We had three giant tempura prawns each, which were meaty and tender and had a thin batter crust. The sushi came out on a wooden platter and consisted of a varied selection of tuna, mackerel, cod, California rolls, king crab maki along with other maki and sushi’s. The fish was delicious, incredibly fresh and expertly created. My fellow diner did not like the mackerel and I do have to say it was an acquired taste but that was based just on taste. We were stuffed but still had our main course to go. In a way it was good that we had a starter as when my egg curry came out it just looked horrendous. It was served in a bowl with rice at the bottom and had floating white blobs in the liquid. I will spare you the details of what it reminded me of… I did try it and it didn’t taste to bad to be honest but the look of it just made me gag. The chicken tasted the same as in other oriental restaurants; I cannot place my finger on what it is but it definitely has this odd taste.
My friend felt sorry for me (or probably more to the point didn’t want to see me heave) and swapped her dish with mine. Now the eel dish was beautiful despite my previous reservations. This was also served in a rice bowl and had three pieces of eel placed on the top in a sweet teriyaki sauce. Although I felt the sauce was a little too sweet it gave the eel an extra dimension.
We were satisfied and absolutely stuffed as we left to pay for the meal upstairs. The sushi is incredibly cheap and top quality for the area and Sex Drugs and Bacon Rolls would definitely recommend Ten Ten Tei for the sushi alone. The service is friendly and efficient; typical Japanese in style and although the décor is pretty basic, it draws more attention to the food and at the end of the day that is all that mattered. All being said Sex Drugs and Bacon Rolls gives Ten Ten Tei:
Food Atmosphere Service