Wednesday, 11 May 2011


Katsu. Katsu. Katsu.

What did I ever do without you?

I must confess that having not been to Japan, I wasn't aware of it until Wagamama came along, and rather ignorantly, associated the two as synonymous. How wrong I was!

My good friend who is a phile of all things Japanese told me that it's a hugely popular dish over there - often with chicken but just as often with pork (tonkatsu). Always panko-breaded and fried, not always served with curry sauce or even rice. Curious indeed!

As an Englishman (or pig) I admire it for being both breaded, and curried. Tick tick! But as a boozer, I thoroughly enjoy its rather unique status as a meal to nicely line the stomach - not as heavy as Indian which can debilitate, and not as starchy or gloopy as Chinese, which (more temporarily) can also stop you in your tracks. It manages to provide the curry goodness, but also seems wholesome enough to bounce out of there, and onwards into the night. Or the Wagamama portions do anyway...

katsu with some sort of omelette
Misato's portions are a different story altogether. This is an unassuming joint on Wardour Street, but intriguingly with queues out the door most time I've been past. The clientele are a mix of hipsters and Japanese kids (and plenty of both combined) and the premise is a fast service canteen of sorts. It's cheap and rather cheerful. A veritable trough!

They serve sushi and a few other tidbits here, but really people are here for the behemoth katsu and teriyaki plates. We have some delicious, piping hot fresh tori kara-age (about £4), which are also breaded, fried and chicken. Probably a bit too similar to katsu for my starter but there you go! We wash it down with warm sake, around £3 a serving, in nifty individual porcelain jugs. Beers are dirt cheap too.

The katsu plates come out and they're true to form. Enormous. Fresh. Hot. The right side of claggy and incredibly satisfying. There are many varieties - with rice or noodles, or in noodle soup, chicken, pork, fish.... but they're much of a muchness with that quantity of curry sauce. There are teriyaki dishes equally drenched in sweetness... all around £5. A steal. The final bill was about £13 a head, and we were well lubricated and stuffed to burst.
teriyaki something
However, you might not be fighting fit for a night out after finishing one of these bad boys. With no chance of dessert (and a bit of over-indulgence for one of my dining pals) we roll out of the door into the mayhem of the West End. Sometimes I get the occasional craving for a katsu which nothing but Waga's can fix - now I know better, but certainly won't be anticipating many beers afterwards...

Food – 8/10
Drink – 8/10
Service – 6/10 (busy so some service waits, food very quick though)
Value – 9/10
Tap water tales – 3/10 (requested, lukewarm plastic cups)
Staff Hotness – 7/10 (groovy, fun Japanese kids - in my own little world, I 'd prefer them zanier!)

Misato on Urbanspoon


  1. Reading this post in my hungover state made me want to immediately get in a taxi to Soho and hoover down some katsu!

  2. It must be amazing for a hangover, come to think of it...