We’ve been wanting to go to Sosharu London since it opened in 2016. The irony is that I used to live a couple of blocks away from the trendy Japanese Izakaya-style restaurant before I got married. My flat was a 20 minute walk to the big city lawyer job that I hated, and the building that now occupies Sosharu was a famous gay bar called Turnmills. How the years have changed both our lives!
One of Jason Atherton’s restaurants, Sosharu London is what happens when a Japanese Izakaya meets London cool. Having started off as a chef, Jason Atherton got his Michelin star at Pollen Street Social in 2011. He’s now diversified into being more of a restaurateur along the lines of his old mentor at Maze London, Gordon Ramsay. He’s got restaurants around the world, including in the Dubai Marina and the Edition Hotel in New York’s Flatiron District.
Sosharu has its own head chef, Alex Craciun. In keeping with the modern trend, you can see the kitchen busy at work from one side of the restaurant. And, busy they are. We went on a Saturday night and the restaurant was packed with diners.
A Japanese Izakaya is an after-work joint for the feeding and comfort of hardworking Japanese salarymen. In the Izakaya, he has some drinks and light bites and winds down before heading home.
Sosharu is probably an Izakaya-style in that it’s relatively casual for a Japanese fine dining restaurant. It’s way too sleek to be a true Izakaya though. Neither did the clientele match up with its Japanese counterpart. Most of the diners were friends and couples on dates.
My Sosharu Review
I thought the food was sublime. Seriously. The Sosharu menu is small but expertly curated with a good choice of items. There are different menus for lunch, dinner and even afternoon tea.
The interior was dimly lit with pulsating music. The heavy bass would not have been out of place in the building’s previous incarnation as a dance club. Combined with the buzz of bright young things conversing, the place was definitely happening.
I wasn’t entirely sure about the wood screens separating the tables into sections. It’s the sort of thing you get in gardens when you want privacy screens. I can see the reference to visual Japanese tatami screened rooms but with the tall wooden chair backs, it reminded me more of the work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh.
The food though did not disappoint. We had been to a Michelin-starred restaurant in Mayfair the night before which we felt was not as good as Shosharu. The service was pretty good. We ordered tempura broccoli which never arrived from the kitchen although it did show up on the bill. The waiter did promptly take it off the bill when we told him.
Don’t take my word for it. Sosharu has gotten excellent reviews on TripAdvisor.
Seven Tales Bar
The Seven Tales Bar is supposed to be a Japanese dive bar. Having spent time in Japanese dive bars, I can tell you that it is way too fancy to be a Japanese dive bar. Granted even Japanese dive bars are upscale compared to a New York dive bar.
Low slung seats, dark lighting, manga-style wallpaper and a tasteful neon sign define its style. Presumably the 7 tales are referring to the 7 cocktails on offer inspired by 7 famous Japanese warriors with cool names like Dragonfly Cutter, Bushido Bitch and Crimson Demon.
And, Finally Those Toilets
My son would love the toilets. When we visited our friend in Japan, she had a fancy Japanese toilet in the downstairs loo which he found fascinating.
A fancy Japanese toilet self-cleans, warms the toilet seat, squirts water at your bottom and dries your bottom. When I was looking around the restaurant at the couples on dates, I wondered if the toilet would be the most exciting action some of those women would have that night.
Where to find Sosharu Farringdon:
Sosharu is located at 64 Turnmill Street, a short walk from Farrngdon tube stop. It is open for lunch and dinner from Monday through Saturday.
We paid for all expenses related to our dinner and drinks at Shosharu. This site, however, may generate income via partnerships with carefully-curated travel and lifestyle brands and/or purchases made through this it.