I’ve walked past this alluring restaurant more times than I can remember. Its black painted exterior (and awning) with a few tables outside and huge pots of white flowers has always made me want to eat here. Its Japanese menu has too. So when two friends and I were wandering around Parsons Green one evening looking for a place to eat, we decided Koji was the place for us.
Previously names Mao Tai for 29 years, this establishment has long been part of the Parsons Green restaurants. The owner Mark Barnett, together with Nobuisha Takahashi (former head sushi chef at Nobu London and Nobu Cape Town) recently re-launched it as Koji. We sat outside in the sun for drinks and nibbles, since you can’t have dinner outside (sadly). We ordered edamame beans with Maldon sea salt which were delicious with a glass of cold white wine.
I love the decor inside. You certainly know you’re in an Asian restaurant, with a few Japanese scrawls on the walls and lots of dark woods. They have a long sushi bar towards the back of the restaurant, where you can see the chefs preparing the sushi. But a few quirky touches give this place a unique feel. Like the white feathery lamps hanging form the ceiling by the cocktail bar, which draw your attention straight away. There are plants and flowers dotted around throughout the restaurant, the fresh greens lightening the place up.
But the food really stood out for me. I adore Japanese food, and especially sushi, but have come to notice (being spoilt living in London with so many good Japanese restaurants), that sushi can vary hugely in quality. The sushi here was some of the best I’ve had (on a level with Flesh & Buns I’d say).
Apart from sushi, we tried a number of the other small dishes:
We had the Tofu & Seaweed salad and the Bang Bang Chicken salad with sesame dressing. Both were delicious, fresh and light.
Then we had the Gyoza Japanese Style Grilled Dumpling (with pork and ginger) – which might have been one of my favourites.
Since I am still obsessed with truffle, we obviously could not resist trying the Chicken Yakatori with Truffle sauce. Which was amazing!
To finish we were recommend the Pork Belly with spicy sweet Miso, which was good but a little too fatty for my liking.
Please note that the dishes are all tapas sizes, so the meat portions are very small. I’d say you need about 5 plates each to feel remotely full (we didn’t have enough, but we weren’t that hungry). Like all good Japanese restaurants, it can get quite pricy. But Koji really feels like you’re treating yourself and it is definitely worth it. I’ll definitely be going back for a cocktail and some sushi.
58 New King’s Road,
London SW6 4LS