A tiny sushi place situated in Brewer Street right next to Fresh & Wild, Taro is, unlike its bigger brother in Old Compton Street, extremely busy at lunchtime.
If you’re the kind of person that needs only a minute to sit down, another minute to decide what you eat and then goes straight for the bill after a meal, this is your kind of place – otherwise you might find this venue a bit stressful. The place is tiny, with maybe 15 tables, a bar and a kitchen squeezed into one room. It’s almost empty around 12 but it gets very busy after 12.30 pm.
The clientele are mainly professionals in their 20 and 30s, as you’d find anywhere at lunchtime in Soho. The waiters are quick but not very friendly. You will be presented with the bill straight after you had your last bite and if you are daring enough to extend your stay for another five minutes the staff will remind you that your time’s up. If you thought that as a regular you get a slightly better treatment you will soon find out that you are not as special as you thought.
Still, the sushi is fresh and good value for money. If you have visited Taro in Old Compton Street you already know that the menu is the same in Brewer Street. The menu is kept quite simple with dumplings, teriyakis and soups as well as bento boxes and some curries. As lunch service tends to be quite hectic you’re better off thinking through in advance what you fancy rather than ordering in dribs and drabs. The teriyaki tends to be filling and so is the soup, which usually contains a good portion of noodles as well as vegetables and comes in the salmon, pork or beef variety; it’s particularly nice in winter (both around £5 - £8).
The gyoza (dumplings) are always a good option, there’s pork or cabbage filling to choose from; be careful when actually eating as they are served really hot (around £3). The bento box (between £11 - £18) might be a little challenging at lunchtime. Instead go for two or three different maki rolls and throw in one or two sashimi. It’s a smaller portion but you still get the variety of a box and you get by cheaper as the maki only costs £2 to £3 for four pieces. Stay away from the curries, which are overcooked and come with loads brown sauce and rice, neither of which are particularly tasty.
Taro doesn’t have an extensive drinks menu; there’s the usual assortment of sake, plum wine, Asian beers and European wines, and of course there’s the lovely green tea. If you feel adventurous, try the Calpico, a fermented milk drink.
The Last Word
Nice enough food, although you can certainly find places where they treat customers better.