Kurumaya
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SquareMeal Review of Kurumaya

Bronze Award

The main attraction at Kurumaya is keenly priced sushi, so pitch up at the ground-floor bar for a quick fix from the short kaiten menu or venture down to the basement dining room – a compact, unadorned space offering the choice of traditional tatami (shoes off) or more conventional western seating. A broad range of raw fish ranges from top nigiri (toro tuna, sea urchin, tako octopus) to sashimi and temaki hand rolls: opt for a chef’s selection if indecision gets the better of you. Hot dishes run from deliciously light tempura, teppanyaki and robata grills with teriyaki sauce to donburi rice bowls – perhaps thinly sliced beef or succulent eel with a potent umami kick. Beers include Asahi, Kirin and Sapporo; otherwise, saké, umeshu (plum wine) and shochu are additions to the short wine list. Pleasant service runs at a stately pace.

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - £30 - £49
Cuisines
Japanese, Sushi
Ambience
Cosy, Lively

Location for Kurumaya

76-77 Watling Street, London, EC4M 9BJ

020 7236 0236

Website

Opening Times

Mon-Fri 11.30am-9.30pm

Reviews of Kurumaya

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7 Reviews 
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Service
Atmosphere
Value

Mr. Alex G

Turning truly Japanese
25 October 2018  
When is Japanese food not Japanese food? This isn’t a question from a specialist philosophy paper, but more an observation about how much of the Japanese dining scene in London has seemingly morphed into what has been dictated as ‘cool’ and instantly Instagram-able by many trend-setters. If, however, you’re looking for authenticity (and the antithesis of a venue such as Sushi Samba), then consider Kurumaya. Located on one of the oldest streets in the City of London, Kurumaya has a long pedigree and a head chef who has been making sushi for over 25 years. Pass the take-away pit-stop on the top floor and descend to the basement for an experience which may not seem out of place in Tokyo. Beyond the stark and austere decoration, the wood and lacquer finishes and the prominent sushi counter, there is even a room replete with tatami mats, for those who want to go the whole hog here. Onto the food, and it is broadly what one might expect: a raw fish range (sushi and sashimi) followed by an offering of more substantial mains. The emphasis is on locally sourced produce, prepared to the highest standards. Both our sushi platter and our chirashi (meaning ‘scattered around’) bowl of fish on a bed of rice had that amazing sense of freshness, so much so that one could almost taste the sea. The presentation showed the fish off to its best effect, a vividly hewed rainbow spectrum. Meanwhile, a beef teriyaki main was comparable to similar offerings sampled in Japan, with pungent beef paired against bean sprouts. Pricing was not cheap, but then it is rarely is for Japanese food. Perhaps the best indicator of the success of the venue was simply how busy it was. This is a well-kept secret worth seeking out.
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Ms/Mrs. Kelly W

05 January 2013  
Came here with friends for dinner on a Monday. Restaurant wasn't too crowded, wait staff were attentive and the food/wine were excellent.
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Ms/Mrs. Penny S

28 September 2010  
I regularly pop in to Kurumaya during my lunch break due to my fondness of the sushi and sashimi there. I've always found the fish fresh, the sushi well made and dishes well presented. My only gripe would be the queues at times to get served but I can't really moan at the fact they are busy!
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Mr. Richard E

07 August 2010  
The craze for converybelt sushi has generally lead to overcook, cold rice and average at best sushi and sushimi. Kurumaya's converybelt is always packed with fresh, well prepared food; the uni is lovely, the soft shell crab hand roll a staple and there is always a dish that is not your usual “salmon and tuna”. In fact, unlike so many places, I cannot think of a bad mouthful I've ever had here, and I go a lot. Add to this the exemplary service, and it is a place that it is difficult to find fault with. OK, it is not inventive, it is not going to win Michelin (or even Squaremeal) stars and it is not the cheapest of lunchtime options in the City (a place not known for its cheapness), but it is the best overall Japanese in the City and, like the previous reviewer, Kurumaya has become my canteen. I'd add too, that I think recently standards have dropped a little. Nothing too serious, but I've started to think that the fish at Ribon, which has clearly upped it's game recently, is fresher, and overall is a better place for lunch.
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Ms/Mrs. Sabrina G

03 August 2010  
If I'm being honest, I'm almost reluctant to tell you how good this place is because not only is it incredibly cheap for PROPER Japanese food, but it is always packed with Japanese clientele – which as we all know, is a very good thing. Hidden beneath what looks like a normal take-away Sushi joint with a little bar for eating in, this basement restaurant is really fantastic. Shoes off for Tatami style dining with sunken tables and matting on the floor. The Sushi is so fresh and the quality is really very good indeed. You'd be hard pushed to find better Sushi in London, especially at these prices. Service can be slow as they get so busy and I would not recommend going without making a booking as you can incurr a long wait, standing on the staircase for up to 30 minutes at a time. Both the sushi/sashimi and the cooked food is great and when you order quite a bit of sushi, it is presented on a magnificent structure of a ship, which although a bit tacky, still has a wow-factor about it. Great place to eat.
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Ms/Mrs. Emily A

14 July 2010  
Went there for lunch today. Upstairs is a normal “pret” style affair with salads and sushi ready made and ready to go, downstairs however is another matter…split into two parts (shoes on and shoes off) both sides are open and although you are close together (it is a small place) you do not feel as though you are sitting on your neighbours lap. We had the Salmon, miso soup, chicken skewers and the pork & fresh vegetable stir-fried noodles – all of which was lovely and filled us up nicely. This all came to less than £30 which we were very surprised about and for the quality of the food had expected to be a bit more. We couldn't squeeze a dessert in but it all looked good. Will definitely go back and recommend to others to give it a go!
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Mr. Louis M

21 March 2009  
In a sense Kurumaya has become my Sushi/Sashimi canteen. Wonderfully consistent quality produce marshalled by head chef Rico Venzon. My perfect lunch runs something like this. Salmon Sashimi Mackerel Sashimi Soft Shell Crab Temaki Prawn Tempura Gyoza MORE Salmon Sashimi Spicy Tuna Temaki Produce is sourced from around the world to ensure the finest of fayre. Best Japanese food in the City.
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