Defune 1

34 George Street , London, W1U 7DT

8 reviews

53 Japanese Sushi Marylebone

Defune Japanese restaurant London Marylebone

SquareMeal Review of Defune

This oriental veteran claims to be the oldest Japanese restaurant in London, and it’s become renowned for offering standout traditional dishes in pleasingly approachable surrounds: relax in the tastefully plain sushi bar and dining room or descend to the tunnel-like basement for the “classier side” of teppanyaki. Other places trade on sex appeal or bargain-basement street food, but Defune’s impeccable reputation shines through on a menu that resolutely follows the well-trodden path through sushi and sashimi, soba and udon noodles, teriyaki and tempura, green salads anointed with vinegary dressings and other benchmarks of the old cuisine. Service is suitably polite and reserved, the overall quality is high and prices are “robust without seeming unfair”. Note that the dining room can often seem quite quiet, but that’s no bad thing – Defune was never designed as a party restaurant.

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8.5

Food & Drink: 8.9

Service: 8.3

Atmosphere: 6.9

Value: 7.6

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 4.0

Karen P. 12 October 2012

Delicious Japanese food! I have been a number of times now and love Teppanyaki dining as the chefs cook for you at the table. The sushi and sashimi in my opinion is the best in town. The location in the heart of Marylebone is also great.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 4.0

Selma 29 August 2012

I have been going to Defune for many years and it is one of my favourite restaurants in London. Some have said that it lacks atmosphere; I don't think that this is true, it just isn't in your face jazzy, but to be honest I think it is far better for this. The food is fantastic, always fresh and such attention to detail. For a quick lunch the upstairs bar area is fab, and part of the fun is engaging with the chefs who make the sushi and sashimi who are always so interested in your meal and happy to help. We were once eating with my little sister who was about 10 at the time and she went in for one of the spicy tuna rolls, and went very quiet and stuggled to get it down! The chef noticed this and suddenly there were four rolls without wasabi just for her! (free of charge of course) I thought that was very sweet and it illustrates the kind of place Defune is. The tapenyaki bar downstairs is one of the best dining experiences, and fab to do with a group of friends. Again, engage with the chef, they are so keen to please and are so wonderfully talented. Ok so it isn't cheap, in fact it is one of those places where it is very easy to go overboard without really realising… but it is so very worth it! love love LOVE Defune.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 4.0

Mike E. 11 July 2011

I think that this is one of the oldest Japanese restaurants in London. It is full of Japanese businessmen in the evening and has a very cool private room and a wall of Sake bottles with customers names on. All of the sashimi was of an excellent standard – service a little slow on last visit – but nothing to write home about. I have been many times and will go many more.

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 4.0

Richard E. platinum reviewer 08 October 2009

The best way to experience Defune is to sit at the counter and let the sushi chefs do their stuff; they know what is fresh in that day, so put your dining in their hands and let them show what they can do. OK, the atmosphere is a little thin, but it beats the hell out of places where you can't hear yourself think, let alone hear your dining companion's moans of pleasure as another perfect morsal passes her lips.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 3.0

Herry L. 26 August 2009

Defune is one of the best sushi bars in London, but it's certainly not perfect. I use to go there for many years when they were in their former premises in Blandford St when I lived nearby, and frequently took a box of their best sushi assortment home for the delectation of my wife, who is Japanese. The ‘new’ premises is light and spacious restaurant (at least upstairs) is ideal for lunch and is capable of serving with the freshest ingredients, expertly put together. Today I had tai (sea bream), akagi (a shellfish) and ika (squid) that was delicious – but I had them sashimi – ie without rice. Imagine my surprise when I ordered the uni (sea urchin) as sushi and found the rice soggy. it hadn't been sufficiently well blown dry during mixing. A terrible mistake for a top sushi restaurant! And I also ordered a mixed ‘maki’ box to take home to my wife an she was bitterly disappointed. Not only was the rice soggy, but the maki weren't seaweed wrapped and they mostly contained avocado! Avocado is a heresy that is only just tolerable here and is almost never served in Japan. This made the rice even soggier and the taste bland and uninteresting. There was no cucumber or daikon pickle at all! A travesty of a maki box and completely unworthy of Defune.

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 4.0

Michael J. 15 July 2009

The best sushi in London. I have been a customer for over 30 years and used to go to their other restaurant in blandford st. Now they have moved to george street and they have a teppan table which makes a great night out. The food is brilliant both at the teppan table and nromal tables. The sushi compares to some of the best I have tasted in Tokyo.

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 2.0

Value: 3.0

Carl Johan silver reviewer 23 January 2009

I thought Defune was an ok sushi-place, but not great in any way. The décor was very bright and felt quite unwelcoming. Downstairs is a bit better, but still a bit of a hospital feel to it. The personnel, however, were very accommodating and service was as good as can be expected. I even had my ignorant sushi-questions answered in a friendly manner. I finally now know for sure that you’re supposed to dip only the fish part, not the rice, in the soy sauce. Apparently it’s not a life-or-death issue though. Speaking of the food, I truly enjoyed the teriyaki, actually one of the better ones I’ve had. The sushi and the other food we tried, e.g. tempura, were good, but not spectacular. What surprised me the most with Defune was the bill. It is truly expensive, and not really worth it in my view. However, if you’re not fazed by the recession, if you live in Marylebone and if you feel like having some sushi, then sure, why not? That said, I have yet to try the other sushi-places around the area so I might be adjusting this shortly.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 2.0

Value: 3.0

MissSushi gold reviewer 09 January 2009

This restaurant is for serious and generous sushi addicts. Due to lack of atmosphere I recommend people to sit at the sushi bar and speak directly to the sushi chef about your fish preferences – you won't be disappointed. As far as quality, freshness of fish and authenticity go, Defune is one of the top japanese restaurants in London. It is expensive, but very well worth it, although I have yet to try any cooked dishes (I keep going for raw fish here). Perfect for post-Selfridges lunch or early dinner and even satisfying and fresh on mondays.

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