Originally published under my alias Queen Spatula on Tryum.com. Check out the site for more great foodie recommendations.
If, given the Christmas splurge, you’re hardly feeling flush for cash this January, it can be highly inconvenient to find yourself in central London and in desperate need of lunch. Such a situation can also ruin any new year resolutions you’ve made on healthy eating.
Let’s consider the following dilemma. You only have £6.90 to spend on lunch. You could get a burrito and screw the health repercussions. Or you could get a take-out salad and a juice. You may feel saintly but your stomach will likely be despondent within a half an hour, and the chances are that some pre-packed lettuce really didn’t excite your taste-buds.
Or how about option three: you could go to Dozo, get a delicious Japanese set lunch and feel absolutely amazing. This comes with the added bonus of getting to smugly gloat at any passer-bys with supermarket sandwiches.
Wedged next to Soho’s famous G-A-Y club, Dozo has a modest store front but a surprisingly authentic interior. It’s beautifully decorated – a large koi (carp) adorns the walls and low-set tables with a dropped floor replicate dining arrangements common in Japan. It’s a little dim inside but it’s an oasis of calm in one of London’s busiest districts.
Of course, you can’t see its exquisite décor from the outside. What is really going to draw you in is the following sign:
A lunch set for £6.90? Really?
Some scepticism is perfectly understandable. That is until you’re presented with a beef teriyaki bento with perfectly cooked rice, two sets of pickles, a side salad and some miso soup. The teriyaki sauce is fantastic – full of great umami flavour and steering on the right side of sweet – and the salad is fresh with a great tangy dressing. What’s more, if you have penchant for drinking the sauce – and who would blame you when it tastes this good – the waiting staff will take pity on you and provide you with a spoon 😉
There’s a whole lot more than teriyaki dishes in the 12 – 3pm offer: crunch on some prawn and vegetable tempura, tuck into tonkatsu (deep-fried breaded pork cutlet), slurp through some ramen or dine on some sushi. Again – any of these for £6.90.
So my sound advice to you is… go and strand yourself in central London immediately and wait for lunchtime. Dozo will leave you with a happy and healthy body and wallet.
Where: 32 Old Compton Street, Soho, W1D 4TP
When: 12 – 3pm weekday lunch, also open for dinner. Details here.