"The black cod, whilst not cheap, is toe-curlingly delicious." was going to write a review but that said it perfectly!
7a Artillery Passage, London E1 7LJ
“Here at Habibi Sushi we love sushi. Opened in 2008, our sushi is hand prepared by our experienced chefs using only the freshest fish, thus giving you the best sushi experience. Our unusual name comes from our love of sushi and our sense of...” more...
26 reviews of Bento Cafe in English
I love this place so much!
I always go here everytime I’m in Camden, I think the prices are really reasonable for what you get.
The staff are always friendly, efficient and the food takes no time at all to be served which is great for a meal when you may not have much time.
My date and I shared the superior sashimi platter at £42.50. Acceptable flavours (although scallops were tasteless) but I’ve seen better presentation elsewhere (namely See Cafe in Paddington). Also it’s worth mentioning that they use quite a bit of sushi to bulk out the platter, which is disappointing if you were expecting a boat load of sashimi. Had we known about the sushi we wouldn’t have ordered seperate portions of rice. We couldn’t finish all the carbs so it was doggy bag time. With green tea and dessert the bill came to about £60.
The place is quaint enough (sorry, I’m into the food not decor – you can’t eat wallpaper) and I’d like to go back and try other items on the menu next time. 3 stars for now.
Good food. Efficient service. Nice atmosphere. The bill came to £16pp for a couple of dishes and a drink each including service, which seems good value.
Not outstanding but an excellent choice if you're in the area looking for a bite to eat.
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Where: Bento Cafe, Parkway, Camden
How much: £18 for lunch for one, not cheap considering...
Come here: if you're in the area and craving Japanese or seeing a show at the Jazz Cafe next door
Best not to judge it on looks, Bento Cafe isn't the prettiest spot, inside or outside... Stuck on one of the most unlovely junctions in Central London, Camden Parkway, It doesn't look too smart from the street, with a curling menu in the window, but there have been some reasonable reviews and I couldn't really stomach the thought of Camden Market 'street food'...
Stepping inside, I was pleased to see a sushi counter piled high with fish, though there was slightly too much pre-cut fish for a restaurant that had only just opened its doors. Like the decor, the extensive menu laid in front of me is slightly tatty round the edges. They cover the gamut from tempura to teriyaki, tonkatsu to donburi and a wide range of nigiri, maki and sashimi. The photos certainly look professional, and there are some interesting choices, particularly in the mains (mainly between £8 and £10 a portion, other than the more expensive black cod). I was briefly tempted by Hotate Mentaiko, grilled scallop with superior roe sauce (though a little unsure why it might be superior...)
The bento box, a lunchtime special at 6.40, came with a good sized, fresh portion of rice, a neat side salad and slightly muted pickles. The chicken teriyaki had a good flavour in the sauce but was slightly too dry otherwise. The vegetable gzoyas were the least successful element. Measly parcels of sad that could have come from the aforementioned Camden Market stalls.. I also grabbed a plate of mixed sashimi, a tale of two halves. Meltingly sweet, quality salmon, yellowbelly and mackerel, it arrived fridge cold (I knew there was too much piled on the counter) and in lumps just too big to enjoy. The fish was tender and yielding, with particularly excellent tuna the consistency of foie gras. Once rendered into smaller mouthfuls and slightly warmed it was lovely.
Nice enough if you're in the area and craving Japanese or seeing a show at the Jazz Cafe next door, but not worth a special trip. If you're in the area and just hungry, I'd suggest there are better pickings to be found.
please also see
Bento Cafe is one of my favourite cheap little Japanese places in London. I just went there again recently for a sushi fix with my lovely girlfriends N. and C.
Even though it was in the middle of the afternoon it was busy – it usually is. It is just off the buzz of Camden Market (which is usually a relief), and I have the suspicion that most people there are returning customers.
Bento Cafe offers a variety of sushi and maki, loads of appetizers and warm dishes and has a changing menu of specials. Very hard to choose…
We started off with edamame beans (3.20) (very nice) and some miso soup (1.80), which was light and salty and comforting.
They have a huge variety of classic and rather experimental maki to choose from and we decided on: Alaska maki (3.50) with avaocado and salmon, Crazy Boy Maki (5.00) with eel, avocado and tamago (egg thing) and Osaka Maki with soft shell crab and avocado (7.50). all yummy and moreish.
We shared one warm dish from the specials: capsicum beef (9) (supposedly a beef terryaki with pepper sauce) which didn’t blow me away I have to say. The beef was a bit tough and the sauce uninspired.
Very lovely and competitively priced though is their chicken curry udon (7) and their spicy chicken ramen (7). Furthermore their nasu dengaku (grilled aubergine with miso sauce) (4) is among the best I have ever tasted.
Now the downside:
The service is bad. I mean they are relatively fast and efficient, but they are so unfriendly! The girl who was in charge of refilling the green tea looked like she wanted to attack us with the tea pot. They of course have the service already included in the bill…
By the way, watch out for their lunch menu and lunch bento boxes (served from 12-4pm) – very good value for money.
Excellent sushi and sashimi in the heart of Camden. I had been here before but for some reason not recently. Yes, there are usually queues at lunchtime or weekends, but once seated we had very quick service. There's a skylight in the rear of the restaurant but the decor is fairly plain.
We each ordered once of the speciality Bento boxes - mine was tempura vegetables with sticky rice, various pickle salad and ginger, miso soup etc
Possibly went slightly overboard as we also ordered a tray of sashimi ( actually it had prawns, salmon and various items) which was too much.
Prices aren't dirt cheap, but the quality of food is really good, and service was fairly quick amd pleasant.
Exquisite i loved the smell, the bottomless green tea, the food, well thats another thing, it was like indulging in heaven it was so tasteful and much better than i have ever had. Its a must go! Thumbs up over and over as this cafe is perfect and i will be a regular customer when i can!
Yeah, like, what they all said...
Another dangerous North London discovery for those of us who work from home and can be there in about 20 minutes door-to-door. Or "me" as I'm also known around these parts.
Simple, straightforward and, at lunchtime, incredible value. A mere £6.20 for a generous Bento box? Another quid for actually quite good green tea that gets topped up every three minutes?
Actually, the only "downside" is the service: while attempting to get the bill, we were, instead, offered tea another four times. Not much of a downside as downsides go, more just pleasantly shambolic - although one of our party had to wait another five minutes or so for her main, which is a little silly.
But hey, at these prices, you can forgive them a lot. The vegetable curry Bento - seriously, what is it about Japanese curry? it's like crack - was hearty, filling and accompanied by decent pickles and fresh salad. The pork katsu looked damn good too.
I'll venture back for dinner / sushi one of these days and report but it's probably the best lunch I've had in Camden. Which isn't necessarily saying much, but is meant as a compliment.
If you love cheap and cheerful Japanese food then this is the place to go. Don't be put off of by the 1980's decor; I do think the restaurant is in desperate need of a complete makeover. Although the food is nice. We opted for maki, carpaccio, miso soup, yaki soba and some tempura noodles along with some very nice Japanese beer and plum wine. The staff was attentive and the food was served fairly quickly. A relatively cheap night out our bill came to £53.00 for 2 people. The only downside to my night out was that the floor was dirty and I slipped over, fortunately I didn't hurt myself too much.
The Bento Cafe well deserves it's popularity.
The staff here managed to squeeze us in on an early Friday evening with no booking and it was already rammed.
The black cod, whilst not cheap, is toe-curlingly delicious. One of Camden's best gems. Top sushi and phenomenal Teriyaki.
Comment 1 comment on this review
Ali Aeei, 26 February 2011:
This was one of the first really good sushi places that i discovered when i came to london - shortly after i moved into camden town itself. While i lived there i went abotu once or twice a month.
The food is really good quality, and the range of options is even better. I normally have the bento 'set a' which i condescend to share with my husband. Its a great selection of starters and then a boat(an actual boat) adorned with sushi for the main course. After that you just sort of roll out of the restaurant rather than walking.
Highlights: ebi mugi-ae (prawns in oat flakes - tastes so much better than i can describe)
the boat - a highlight all in its self
Normally getting a seat is fairly easy as long as its just two of you and its before 8 on a friday. For big groups i know it can be a bit of a hassle unless you book a day or two ahead of time rather than just walking in - as is the case with most places.
Only downside is the service - it veries from decent to just about acceptable. No one is downright rude, but on occasion they dont make you feel exactly welcome.
Despite that, the good food and the great prices make this a restaurant i'll keep going back to.
I adore this place - discovered it in a 'must find somewhere to eat’ moment years ago, and have made it a regular haunt when I’m near Camden ever since. It’s got a good selection for veggies who love Japanese food, and the atmosphere is cosy and comfortable. Try their 'future shock’ fried tofu - a real treat!
I ran in quickly, hungry before meeting a few friends for drinks that I knew would be a mistake on an empty stomach.
I grabbed a quick Chilli Chicken Ramen which was delicious, hot filling and cheap. The chicken was a grilled fillet and the soup came with some veggies and seaweed. It wasn’t as spicy as it promised though!
It was early on and the service was really quick and efficient. I’d definitely pop by again and not just as late night kebab prevention.
Close to the center of Camden (Near the Odeon), this is a restaurant selling a variety of Japanese dishes. The menu is extensive but the all day bento boxes are the best value for money. The drinks list is quite limited; I think there are a couple of different types of sake and usually 2 Japanese beers on offer.
Food is consistently good but service can be limited due to how busy it gets in the evening. Usually the place is filled with couples and families and is very popular.
There is a take out service as well which is very good but impossible to contact at peak times.
The atmosphere in the restaurant is nice; it is usually quite quiet and there are a range of different sized tables to accomodate everyone.
Their bento boxes are my favourite but you can also order sushi selections or individual pieces, a wide variety of Japanese side dishes (such as gyoza fried dumpling, sauteed mushrooms in butter), and many larger main dishes including ramen and udon noodle soups.
This is a great place to introduce people to Japanese food as the nenu features pictures of most dishes and the bento boxes are an easy option.
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