A Japanese living in London writes anything about everyday life in UK – cafe, restaurant, design, stores, politics, news, events, art/museums, films, food, fashion, travel etc. イギリス暮らしもかれこれ10年。カフェ、レストラン、デザイン、お店、政治、ニュース、イベント、アート／美術館、映画、食、ファッション、旅行等々、ロンドンでの日常生活や、英国に関する情報を思いつくままに綴ります。
A while ago, we missed our flight due to severe delay of a train to an airport. Next flight was 7 hours later. M was furious and insisted to go back home and to take the next day flight. But I wanted to fly on the day as we planned, and then I remembered about YOtel at the airport, and persuaded him to kill the time there.
Inspired by Japanese capsule hotels, YOtel is a mini-hotel chain and was launched by Simon Woodroffe, a founder of the sushi chain YO! Sushi using the Japanese style ‘kaiten’ conveyor belt in 1997, which has contributed Sushi boom in UK and now have its branches mainly in London but also in other UK cities, Europe, and Middle East. Currently YOtel are in four locations; London Heathrow Airport, Gatwick Airport, Amsterdam Schipol Airport, and Times Square in New York.
YOtel Gatwick where we stayed, it was £70.34 for twin room for 4 hours (minimum stay), but it is much cheaper (£42.50), if you pay in advance online. It was worth it when we imagined of doing nothing but killing 7 hours at the airport. We walked through dim corridor lighten up in purple to our room. It was basic simple room with no window but pull up work desk, small chair, 2 bunks (one upper and one lower), and toilet & shower – it was like a cruise ship cabin. However, service was not bad. The room was equipped with flat screen TV and free WiFi. Hot drinks were free, and you can order food, beverages, snacks and amenities from their “TO GO” menu. The room was clean, and their beds with good quality sheets were quite comfortable to sleep. M was grumpy at first but became in a good mood after sleeping well. We could leave on the same day, without cancellation of a hotel room, and were on an itinerary as we planned – happy ending!
A cosy casual Japanese restaurant Tenshi (‘Angel’ in Japanese) just opened on Upper Street, Angel. The interior is chicly decorated with dark wood furniture and paper lampshades. I didn’t go and see, but there is also seating area upstairs as well. The owner (?) looks British (but not sure), but workers are Japanese and Koreans.
Tenshi offers Sushi sets and Bento boxes such as Pork/Chicken Katsu, Chicken Karaage, Teriyaki dishes etc, and you can eat in or take out as well. The food is packed in a mundane plastic takeaway case and displayed in a fridge – it is more like a fast food restaurant (food packaging is more stylish at Sushi chain Itsu). We ordered Tonkatsu (Pork cutlet £6.50), Chirashizushi (assorted fish over sushi rice £8.50), Miso soup（£1.50) and salmon avocado roll (£4.00). It was great that the Tonkatsu was fried very crispy and hot – I am not sure if they fried the pork from scratch or used oven to warm it up, but it was not cooked by microwave at least.
The taste is pretty good, as a fast food Japanese – its is much better than so-called ‘Japanese’ restaurant chains like Japanese Canteen, Wagamama, Yo! Sushi, and Miso (on the Upper street as well), or Chinese-owned Japanese restaurants; I read that now many Chinese open Japanese restaurants because they can earn more than Chinese restaurants. Tenshi was half empty when we went there even though it was at lunch time; maybe because it was cold or because of recession, but I hope Tenshi survives in Angel, where there is no good Japanese restaurant!
M, who sat on the good position, told me that he would take a photo of the interior for me, with his precious i-phone, but it turned out terrible. The restaurant looks much better and more light than in the photo.
A big sushi-fan M bought a takeaway sushi from Itsu on Finsbury Square, near Old Street. Itsu is a popular lunch place for business men/women as the shop in the business disctrict. Due to the healthy food mania (even though, Sushi contains sugar), sushi became popular in recent years. Among the UK sushi shops such as Yo! Sushi (known for first UK conveyor-belt serving sushi restaurant) and Samurai (Korean?), our favorite is Itsu with its London-style modern decor and decent sushi. M’s pick of the day is Salmon sushi + Salmon maki with salad set, 509 colories and 93% fat-free. Healthy menus such as detox soup/drinks, frozen yoghurt desert are suited for health-conscious Londoners. But I thought king-size miso soup is a bit funny…