Charco Charco in Holborn
A stone’s throw from the British Museum, in Holborn, Charco Charco offers a unique dining experience for Japanese food enthusiasts. The restaurant features tables equipped with yakiniku grills, ready to serve up charcoal-grilled delights, as well as a sushi bar station. It attracts a young, trendy and predominantly Asian clientele.
Our meal began with a tasty array of edamame, sea snail salad and soft-shell crab, followed by a hearty serving of king prawn tempura. The portions were substantial and filling. To complement our starters, we sipped on fruity, refreshing cocktails: a sake punch and a Sakura martini, both showcasing a playful fusion of East-meets-West flavours.
The owner, Leo Jin, comes from Hong Kong and has a background in food distribution. His expertise was evident in the high-quality ingredients and warm atmosphere of Charco Charco, and the friendly staff ensured a comfortable dining experience.
Next, we enjoyed a selection of sashimi, including salmon, bluefin tuna, yellowtail and sea bass. The thickness of the fish was impressive, and each piece was delightful. We also tried the grilled eel maki roll and the caramelised salmon nigiri, which, the owner remarked, they “are the only ones doing it”.
With our initial courses, we had a Mio sparkling sake, popular in Japan and often used in celebratory toasts. The atmosphere was lively, even for a Tuesday evening, with a great soundtrack of South Korean pop songs and ballads filling the air.
The highlight of the evening was the yakiniku grill at our table, where we cooked razor clams, wagyu short rib and wagyu skirt. We paired this with a Dassai 45 Junmai Daiginjo. 45 is a reference to the polishing ratio, which indicates a higher-quality sake. Both steamed and grilled mushrooms accompanied our meal, adding a delightful earthy note.
Although we were too full to sample their sukiyaki, we now have a good excuse to come back. Charco Charco has recently opened a sister location in Covent Garden, offering Chinese street food and hot pot.
Photos: Filippo L’Astorina except header
To book a table at Charco Charco, 83-93 South Hampton Row London WC1B 4HD, call 020 7580 4621 or visit the restaurant’s website here.