The Woodstock Kushiyaki, Mayfair
The Woodstock Kushiyaki is a new opening just off the South side of Oxford Street and a very welcome one it is too. There is hardly anywhere decent to eat or drink around there, and indeed the Woodstock is flanked by a terrifying Angus Steak House (read this great piece about Hawksmoor exec chef eating at one) and a Spaghetti House. One of my friends once got taken on a date to a Spaghetti House; I think we can guess how that one turned out.
The idea behind the Woodstock, I'm told, is to serve as a post work pitstop of Japanese skewers and perhaps a sake or beer (their Japanese beer list is extensive). I like this idea, but in much the same way as we don't really do tapas style eating properly here in the UK, the Woodstock say they are finding that people are coming wanting to have a full lunch or dinner in the small plates style to which we have become quite happily accustomed. We're not really in the market for having a small snack somewhere and then moving on somewhere else I suppose, we prefer to make ourselves comfortable and order away. And that's exactly what my friend Alex and I did, starting with this super amazing Japanese 'Iced Tea', if iced tea were potently alcoholic and flavoured with Midori:
We ordered a selection as recommended by our waitress, who was able to explain all of the dishes in detail and was very lovely indeed. Firstly, some pork with tonkatsu (£6), courgette tempura with a yuzu mayo (£3)and some chicken hearts.
I've been meaning to try chicken hearts since I saw them Spanish style on Instagram, annoyingly I can't remember who from, but they looked like something I definitely wanted to eat. Here they were served yakitori style in a sticky sweetish glaze and were plump and quite moreish. Alex declared them to be 'not like offal', which in many people's books is a good thing. You could easily imagine they were just a particularly succulent but slightly more earthy piece of thigh. I can hardly believe this, but they were only £2.50 too.
Here's a close up:
We chased these down with a very pretty soft shell crab with wasabi mayo (£8.50):
And some lovely padron peppers (£2.95), then some enoki mushrooms wrapped in bacon (really good, £3.50):
All of the dishes were beautifully cooked and seasoned to perfection. There are still so many things on the menu that I want to try - mackerel teriyaki and the quail eggs to name just two - that I will definitely be popping in again. Next time you're shopping on Oxford Street, sack off your hastily grabbed Wasabi sushi or Pizza Express lunch and do nip in for a restorative skewer or two, you won't regret it.
The bill for two of us would have been around £45, but this included £20 worth of wine, meaning the food is outstandingly good value.* They also do some excellent set lunch options that are worth investigating.
*We were treated to this on a complimentary basis to launch The Woodstock Kushiyaki. Big thank you to everyone there for their excellent hospitality.