Review: The Woodstock Kushiyaki Bar

Because I used to work at Oxford Circus, I would never make the trip into town on a weekend to shop. However, since my offices moved to Jermyn Street, the flashing lights of Oxford Street are no long a stones throw away. This means that when I require something, I quite often have to make a special trip into town to pick it up. That’s exactly what I did on Saturday. The requirement was for a Registry dress and luckily for me, it didn’t take much to find the perfect one. It took three dresses in the first store and I was at the checkout.

Having completed my single task for the day, stomachs started rumbling. Whilst we initially aimed to head over to trusty old St Christopher’s Place, I quickly remembered that The Woodstock had opened shortly before I flew off to get married. So we popped over for a quick bite to eat.

We entered into the rather quirky room, with textured walls, fur throws and Japanese flags. We took a seat at our high table and were told that we had arrived during Happy Hour. So Miss S ordered a fruity concoction whilst Miss R and I went for Mojitos.


When I first read about this place, it was described as London’s first traditional Japanese Izakaya . Whilst I have little idea what Japanese Izakaya is, I had expected the menu to be full of yummy Japanese small plates. However after a little chat with the general manager, we found out that they had recently changed their menu.

The reason? – people apparently didn’t get the cuisine.

Its pretty sad when a restaurant sets out to do something different and has to give in to peer pressure (?!!) but I get it, investors want returns and without returns, the restaurant wouldn’t last.

We started out by ordering the Lamb Salad.

To be perfectly honest, the lamb was well cooked, slightly crumbly and possibly needed an egg to help it bind, but other than that the actual salad was lacking inspiration. It looked home made with a mix of iceberg lettuce, tomato, cucumber and carrot and topped with a mint  and yogurt sauce. Frankly speaking, if I had made it at home, it would have looked more appetising.

Next up was the chicken satay.

Our first portion was slightly under cooked so we sent it back. However the second portion that came out was really nice, great flavours, tender and really well cooked. This is obviously the kind of food the chef was bought in to make and he did a really good job.

The prawn salad was much like the lamb salad and presentation was definitely not great.

Taste wise, this was ok. I can’t really say more than that sadly.

The edamame was good, but then it was simply edamame so you get what you ask for.

The squid arrived next with a mayonnaise sauce.
Eaten as served, the dish was fine. However we discovered a home made teriyaki sauce at the end of the counter, (sadly this was partially hidden by the menu). This is what the squid should have been served with. It added flavour and a bit of excitement to an ordinary dish. When we relayed this back to the general manager he was slightly defensive and said that everyone has different opinions on taste – the words of a man who has obviously had to unwillingly change his menu!

To end our meal, the lovely general manager gave us a shot of plum wine each. This was good stuff and should definitely be tried if your in the area.
Although I have come across fairly harsh in regard of The Woodstock, the general atmosphere and quality of the drinks was great. It had a day into evening vibe which would have made for a great buzzy restaurant. Its just a little sad that they had to digress from their original plan and I think with a bit of care and attention, the food could be fantastic. The Japanese flavours were great so definitely give them a go if your passing by…and why not try out the drinking test on the floor too!

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