Nathan’s just told me:

Just popped into Zaibatsu on Trafalgar Road on the way home from the Picture House tonight to find out from the owner that it is currently ranked as the No.2 restaurant in London on Tripavisor!! Brilliant! He said he’s getting phone calls from all over the world booking tables months in advance. Made my evening to hear they are doing so well.

Now, I confess that I haven’t actually been to Zaibatsu since it was Zin. I’m not a huge fan of Japanese food and haven’t, for various reasons, been eating out at all recently. So I’m asking you guys – is this really as good as the reviewers on Tripadvisor say?

‘Cause if it is, that’s amazing. I know there are ways to skew sites like this, but this just doesn’t look like the sort of place that would put that much effort into an interenet campaign. I do note a fair few of the reviewers have only posted one review on Tripadvisor, which makes the Phantom radar twitch a little, but that could be down to them having had one good experience and wanting to share it.

It certainly shows the might of Tripadvisor – though of course Tripadvisor can give and Tripadvisor can take away. Sounds like the owners of Zaibatsu have got a good thing going and if they’re wise, they’ll keep that recipe – and the quality – as it is – a hidden jewel.

No one’s going to give it any prizes for its looks (sorry I have photos somewhere but I’m darned if I can find them this morning) but maybe that’s its charm – the excellent food comes as a surprise. Some of the most exciting places I’ve eaten in the world have been, frankly, scruffy.

Wouldn’t it be nice if it made the other places on Traf Road pull up their culinary socks?

10 Comments to “Zaibatsu”

  1. Scott says:

    Yes it’s all true. The food is amazing, the restaurant itself is as it was in the Zin days, ie not great.

    Bit annoying that they even take bookings. Better to have a full restaurant instead of empty tables waiting for people to show up for their booking in my opinion.

  2. momo says:

    Went there last week for the first time, tables were reserved, but it was early (7ish) and we were given a table.

    It’s fantastic, and well deserves the good reviews.

  3. Helena says:

    Hi Phant, we went on saturday and liked it so much that we went again last night. The food really is very good and fresh and something for the non sushi eaters definitely – i’d recommend the aubergine with some form of peanut satay and definitely the prawns in buttermilk and oats (special item, not on main menu). As far as sushi goes, the dragon roll was excellent. Admittedly part of the draw is the genuine happiness of everyone working there and their pride in the tripadvisor accolade. Well done them! I’m one of the “one off” reviewers but I meant every word…

  4. daisychain says:

    on reading this post, went along this evening, all I can say is thank you so much. normally would have walked past always saying one day. but we had such a great evening. food was amazing and we ordered a lot to the alarm of the waitress and we ate every single bit with the bill being stupidely cheap. there was a steady stream, booked and walk in. personally I love places that are low key and focus on food as i’m always underwhelmed by places that look great but to me never seem to deliver taste wise.we will be back…thanks Phantom

  5. Andy says:

    I went here last night with some friends, mainly because of the post here. We really enjoyed it. It looks a bit like a transport cafe but that sort of adds to the charm. The food was really good, with plenty of choice for any veggies out there, and it doesn’t break the bank. The service was friendly, and they let you bring your own booze, which keeps the cost down. We will definitely be going back.

  6. Nathan says:

    Phew! Glad it’s not just us that rate it! Every time we’ve been there have been tables reserved, even last Sunday night at 10ish. Saying that we’ve always managed to get a table when we turn up. Made me chuckle to imagine some of those people reading the reviews and then arriving at Trafalgar Road! Still, the food is very good and it’s not just sushi. Although, the volcano rolls are brilliant. Like you say Phantom, all good if it rubs off on this little end of Greenwich!

  7. Jacky says:

    Try the soft shell crab … And in a roll … And the spicy edame … And all the sushi … And pick up your wine from Daniel at the Theatre of Wine before you go in !!!

  8. Sophie says:

    That’s so funny, I love it when little local places go bonkers on Tripadvisor. We’ve had takeaway from there a couple of times recently, and if you tell them to hold the mayo on the sushi rolls, it’s great.

    The same thing happened to Meze Mangal on Lewisham Way – another great value place.

  9. Richard says:

    Have moved allegiance to Ajiichiban on Nelson Road, central Greenwich. Great service, always busy and very, very good food.

  10. Sophie says:

    Richard, we like Ajiichiban too, and I agree the food is better than at Zaibatsu, but it’s much, much more spendy.