Satsuma, 56 Wardour Street, London W1D 4JG ** SATSUMA IS NOW CLOSED**

I wonder why they picked orange?

These cool pods were delivered all the way from Japan… imagine the postage on that!

Ah, Satsuma. This place has been going for years, I recall visiting once when I worked just around the corner donkeys years back.. I was excited to return to see for myself how much it has changed…

Well, it’s back with a bang, a bold new, modern look, with orange pod-style seating creates a more intimate atmosphere. The only non-Chinese offering from the Royal China Group, they’ve decided to specialise in one of our favourites – katsu curry. On the menu are a staggering fourteen different types of katsu curry with a choice of sticky rice, soba or udon noodles. The much-loved Bento box has gone from the evening menu but we were assured it’ll be making a return soon.

We sat more out in the open as we wanted to get a better feel of the place, the pods we were offered to sit in meant we couldn’t spy on other people and see what they were eating. I think Ade wished he sat in a pod as we were put next to a very loud City boy bragging about all his money! But when he left the table was quickly rearranged to accommodate a party of eight trendy media/designer types. There was a very quick turnaround of customers.

Eeny, meeny, miny, moe…

I was pleased when presented with the menu – it has pictures! Very handy we thought. We chose the Assorted Katsu Platter £16.80 so we could try it all and also the Pan-fried chicken gyoza £5.20, Mixed Tempura £8.80 an Soft Shell Crab Salad £6.80.

The mixed tempura… very nice, but a bit steep at £8.80

Pan-fried chicken gorgeous gyoza

Soft Shell Crab Salad – Ade’s top pick, he said he should have ordered two for his main course

Katsu, Katsu, and yes, more Katsu

In hindsight I wish we’d ordered a katsu curry each as the platter doesn’t come with rice, it’s more of a dipping thing. We ended up ordering rice and making our own curries. There were three sauces, a katsu curry sauce of course (not very hot – as in temperature!), a soy sauce loaded with crushed sesame seeds and Ade’s favourite, a mayonnaise, vinegar, katsu and soy sauce. The chicken was a tad dry, but then we’re used to the more tender chicken thigh version at Tsuru. We were a little disappointed that the selection didn’t come with the pork version and the Oyster Katsu wasn’t good, far too salty. That said the Ebi Katsu were delicious, would have liked a couple more…

The mixed tempura was well cooked with light, crisp batter, could’ve done without the broccoli though. It was too similar to the Katsu platter really, different coatings and dipping sauces, but same taste and textures inside .

The Soft Shell Crab Salad was delicious, Ade loved it’s light, tender flesh, he just wished it came as a main dish. He’d never tried it before, he won’t make that mistake again . Next time we visit we will be a lot more adventurous and not just stick to the Katsu.

Rocket fuel!

We spied some curious looking drinks being served to another table and asked the waiter what they were. He told us it was plum wine (Premium Quality Choya Extra Years £5.50) we hadn’t spotted it on the menu so ordered some straight away. At 15% we’re not surprised it was like rocket fuel, a bit like a very sweet sherry served with a heavily-soaked plum in the bottom of the glass. One of these will certainly put a spring in your step! .

Green tea ice cream – thick and creamy

Black & White Sesame Ice Cream

To finish I chose the Green Tea Ice Cream £2.20, it’s a gorgeous mossy green colour, dense, thick and creamy. It turned out one scoop was justice right amount. Ade’s Black & White Sesame Ice Cream £2.20 tasted exactly as it should, like sesame seeds! Not too nutty with a perfectly smooth texture.

We overheard a few diners asking where the bento boxes were and a lot of them seemed to be old regulars who still wanted their favourites maybe that’s why the majority around us had opted for noodles and sushi.

We ended the evening with a nightcap at, yes, you guessed it, Bob Bob Ricard.

At work the following day I was discussing katsu with my colleague Farzana, she insisted that Wagamama does the best katsu (which I have not yet tried). I posted this on Twitter and a Katsu Challenge was proposed by Tsuru, watch this space…


56 Wardour Street

London W1D 4JG

020 7437 8338
Open Daily 12pm-11pm