July 9th 2012

Last week I had lunch at Satuma with Len and Su. Satuma is a small Japanese restaurant in Kentish Town (close to the tube) which does reasonably priced Bento lunches. Bento is the Japanese equivalent of a packed lunch, though they go to a lot more trouble than we do. A traditional bento box contains rice, fish or meat, cooked or pickled vegetables, etc. In a restaurant these boxes are generally lacquered and of high quality, though in Japan one can buy them in department stores varying from cheap plastic to hand made. When buying a takeaway bento meal, these boxes are generally polystyrene.


Su ordered a Genmaicha, a green tea containing roasted brown rice – some of the rice pops during the roasting, you can see some floating on top like popcorn. The green tea tastes as expected, but with an aroma of rice.

miso soup

All the lunches included miso soup as a starter. Miso soup contains a broth called dashi, a simple stock, often made with fish. Miso paste is dissolved into this stock, generally made with fermented rice, barley and or soybeans. To my western taste buds this was a very good savoury (umami) tasting soup. Note the cute chopstick holder to the right of my bowl.

chirashi sushi donburi

Su and I had a delicious Chirashi Sushi Donburi – Chirashi Sushi is raw fish on top of rice and in this case with a mixed salad and chilli sauce. Donburi means bowl. Len had a fantastic looking Mixed Sushi Bento (not pictured) and I’ll have to try that next time.

fruit salad

Our lunch included a beautifully presented and refreshing fruit salad for pudding.

We drank Sapporo beer with lunch (of course).

Everything was excellent and I will be going back. The staff were very friendly, food was served promptly and it had a good atmosphere. It is, as noted in Time Out, very small and only has 10 tables, however, I find that quite authentic – there are lots of little restaurants like this in Japan. If you are unlucky and can’t get a seat, it’s worth noting that Satuma sells takeaway bento boxes. Food was about £10 per person which is good value, though there were also some cheaper options.

Satuma is at: 8 Fortess Road, Kentish Town, NW5 2ES

Tel: 020 7485 7078

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About Mad Dog
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21 Responses to Satuma

  1. ChgoJohn says:

    This sounds like my kind of restaurant, MD, for I really enjoy a good Bento lunch like the ones you’ve described. I’m lucky to have a good little sushi restaurant within walking distance of my home. Like Satuma, the prices are reasonable and it’s nice to be able to enjoy a nice Bento lunch just about whenever the mood strikes.

  2. All sounds delicious, and well-priced, too. I would happily swap my left arm to have take-away sushi available where I live.

  3. I haven’t tasted Japanese food in a long time. I used to have Bento boxes sent up to the editing suite in Soho when we were cutting commercials. I miss that:)

  4. suearon says:

    Thanks for this Craig. Will definitely pop in to Satuma next time I’m delivering stock in Kentish Town Road.

  5. Like others I am a big fan of Japanese food…don´t think I´ll be getting any in Bexhill on Sea, but we will be nipping up to London every now and then so this is on the list!

  6. We go for Sushi or order it for take out quite regularly. I think it’s one of the healthier choices out there and so full of unusual flavors. I love miso!!

  7. ceciliag says:

    Once again i will say i WISH I had known you when i lived in london and spent those endless weekends trudging about by myself looking for somewhere goo to eat that was not a steak house.. c

  8. Hi there,

    I’m Ele, and I’m on the eCommerce team at Square Meal. Whilst getting to know the Square Meal world and website, I’ve been looking at the input of bloggers, who link their personal blogs to restaurant pages on our website.

    On behalf of Square Meal, I want to say a big ‘thank-you’ for your loyalty. I’ve really enjoyed reading about your meals (good and bad!) and I particularly love the photos you’ve included. I know how valuable it is to Square Meal users to have easy access to other diners’ experiences, to help them choose a dining venue.

    Please do keep your blogs coming in and spread the word amongst your contacts. If you have any questions or suggestions about how we can improve your experience, please do get in touch – via email, phone, Facebook or Twitter.

    Best wishes


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