East meets west at Shoreditch’s Apothecary restaurant. The latest addition to East London’s hip and happening food scene, this trendy izakaya (it’s the Japanese equivalent of a British pub) cleverly channels the vibrant energy of the neighbourhood, with cool and contemporary furnishings, an array of handcrafted cocktails, and some superb Japanese cooking.
On Friday and Saturday evenings, this is augmented by live DJ sessions courtesy of music specialists Spiritland.
The main menu features an exciting playlist of dishes which are all designed to be shared. Variety is the key here, with bao buns, robata grill, sushi rolls and tempura.
The classics come thick and fast too, with chicken karaage (fried chicken), yakitori (grilled chicken skewers) and yakisoba (stir fry) noodles. Mercifully, with all that choice, the prices won’t break the bank: snacks and bao buns cost between £3-6, sushi rolls are a thing from £8-15, and items from the grill £4-16.
Ok, but what is the food actually like, I hear you ask. Well, the lotus chips & pickled vegetables make a great way to start your meal at Apothecary and the yellowtail tiradito is good too, with the slight kick of the jalapeno and the yuzu soy providing the perfect accompaniment to the fish.
The yakitori is well cooked and succulent (good charring, not overdone) and ably accompanied by scallions for some allium goodness. Meanwhile, a middle-eastern inspired roasted cauliflower dish is elevated by its nutty tasting black sesame sauce.
Things get even better with the miso glazed aubergine, however. This seems destined to become a fan favourite. The aubergine has just the right texture with a thin and crispy coating of miso glaze and a satisfying softness when you bite in.
The blackened salmon with furikake rice makes a good pairing, too, with the rice helping to cut through the natural fattiness of the salmon, making for an extremely satisfying eat.
Although not so well known here, furikake (it’s a popular Japanese condiment) is often sprinkled on top of rice dishes in Japan and other Asian countries – anywhere where a burst of umami flavour is required.
I finish my meal with the yuzu baked cheesecake with miso caramel. It’s complemented with a generous helping of moreish black sesame ice cream.
The dessert provides a fitting finale to my meal, with the rich and creamy miso caramel stealing the show.
Apothecary restaurant may be the new kid on the block right now, but judging by the quality of the cooking and the lovely modern setting – this venue is here to stay.
The restaurant’s clever fusion of Tokyo style and Shoreditch energy works agreeably, and the dishes are all prepared with care, precision, and thoughtfulness.
Yep, if it’s Japanese cuisine you want, then you really couldn’t do much better than this wonderful Shoreditch restaurant.
Apothecary restaurant is at 36 Charlotte Rd, London EC2A 3PG. More information about the venue can be found here.
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