I have been talking about going to Japanese restaurant Nippon kitchen for genuinely years. They have been on my list since I first moved to the west end. Yet somehow I’ve never actually made it in.
That was until I took my buddy Trudie out for lunch a few weeks ago. T had the day off work, both of our husbands were working, and if that doesn’t scream ladies lunch I don’t know what does.
So we made our way into the city with no real destination in mind, but lucky for me we found ourselves sitting in Nippon Kitchen at 1pm on a random Wednesday.
You can find Nippon kitchen right in the heart of the city on West George Street. Nippon is not at all what I imagined – for starters it’s massive and has dark wood paneled walls. Other than that it’s fairly minimalist with low super comfy back seating and tables, white walls and unremarkable lighting…. But it all works. It’s clean and bare while having just enough to look at to keep it interesting. I Very much enjoyed the casual but buzzing atmosphere that came from the mid-week lunch time rush.
The staff were unremarkable – I don’t have a bad word to say about them as such, but we had virtually no interaction. They took our order and brought us our food and drinks that was really it.
There are two options here during the day – there is the lunch menu or the regular a la carte. Since it was my first visit and I was excited I excluded the lunch menu immediately and jumped right into the full experience.
Trudie and I decided to get a couple of sharing plates to start with, and couldn’t resist ordering the Seafood Gyozas and mixed tempura plate.
The Gyozas were fantastic – there was lots of filling and the shell was toasty brown and just crisp enough for my liking. I thought the Gyozas were brilliant and I would say they are definitely up there with some of the best in the city.
The mixed tempura was a mixed bag for me….I really enjoyed the giant juicy prawns which were served in a perfectly light crunchy batter, and the seaweed tempura (which I’d never seen before) was really interesting. It had a super strong flavour so I couldn’t have eaten a second one but these were both enjoyable. I really didn’t dig the aubergine it was far too greasy and I felt it was sitting on my stomach. I did enjoy aspects of this dish but the overall effect was just a bit too oily for me personally.
For mains I couldn’t look past the delicious sounding Yakimono – meat or fish grilled on a special teppan grill served with steamed sticky rice, wafu dressed salad, Japanese pickles and a Japanese sauce.
After checking out the various options I decided to go for the Maguro, which is seared tuna and a ponzu sauce.
First of the bat, for a lunch this is a huge dish. The Tuna was excellent – delicate in texture but meaty and hearty in flavour. It was cooked beautifully for me, the outside was nicely seared and inside remained pink and juicy. It always makes me sad that you don’t see tuna steaks in more Glasgow restaurants because they can be so delicious.
The mountain of sticky fluffy rice was well seasoned and not at all clagy, which sticky rice often can be. And the ponzu sauce which is a simple soy sauce and rice wine vinegar concoction which perfect with the tuna. It was light enough not to overpower tuna but brought a sharp tangy to the dish which I very much liked, it also went brilliantly with the sticky rice.
I very much enjoyed this dish and would 100% definitely have it again.
Price wise I think on the whole was fine at £54.55. I felt that the tempura was a wee bit overpriced since it was mostly vegetables at £8.50…although it was a good sized portion. I would also say that my dish at £18.50 was right at the top of reasonable, I realise tuna is an expensive fish so I’m happy with the price because it was a really great dish but it’s definitely not cheap. A fair price for a delicious large 2 course lunch for two.
Would I visit Nippon kitchen again? Absolutely! The food is super tasty, and the menu is packed with dishes I can’t wait to try. I also very much enjoyed the busy vibe in this laid back Japanese restaurant. This place definitely gets the geek seal of approval.