The pubby name may be a red herring: you’re more likely to sup on soup noodles and Asahi beer than a pie and a pint at the Hare and Tortoise. The interior is styled with a minimalist look and feel, creating a relaxed yet chic ambience, taking you away from the busy inner city streets just outside. Everything has wooden accents and clean straight lines for a calming effect. The eggshell-coloured lamps up above match the chairs and complement the browns around the restaurant. There is also forest-themed wallpaper to put you in a Zen mood.
Hare and Tortoise is open seven days a week from around midday to after 10pm. The menu is ‘vast’, portions are ‘generous’ and the food not half bad. The core of the menu is Japanese (think ramen noodles, tempura, rice dishes and sushi rolls), but you can cross borders for curry, laksa, spring rolls or chicken chow mein. It’s not so different from other noodle joints, apart from the fact that you can bag a table for two and aren’t obliged to sit elbow-to-elbow with strangers.
For starters, enjoy some yasai tempura vegetables or other sides including deep-fried spicy calamari. Tuck into your choice of sushi or settle for a pre-mixed sushi platter such as the ten-piece essential sushi box with salmon and tuna maki, and tuna and salmon nigri. You can also go for one of the noodle dishes including chicken chow mein or yaki udon with shellfish and other seafood mixed in with barbecued pork, Chinese mushrooms and bean sprouts. Other menu options include a miso ramen and chicken teriyaki with rice. Don’t forget to finish the meal off with a traditional mug of sake or jasmine tea.
With a fistful of pleasingly stylish and even more pleasingly low-budget branches across the capital, it’s frequented by students, budget-minded young couples and tourists wanting to save a pound or two. Find the Chiswick sushi restaurant just around the corner from Turnham Green tube station.