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Restaurant Review: Apothecary, Shoreditch in London

Shoreditch’s Apothecary revives a Japanese pastime in east London.

By Georgie Bentley-Buckle  |  October 26, 2021

Opened back in June of this year in London’s Shoreditch is Apothecary, a Japanese Izakaya or a ‘stay-drinking-place’ inspired by the taverns of Tokyo. Recreating the sociable environments of Japan’s ubiquitous Izakaya bars; Apothecary offers an expansive menu encompassing a variety of culinary disciplines: from its robata grill alongside hirata steamed buns and a selection of sushi rolls, sashimi, tataki and tempura.

Each Sunday, the large restaurant space, which is filled with booths and large indoor plants, hosts its very own live DJ between 12 and 4pm which I was booked in to try. Playing a variety of funk and soul music for weekend diners, at £30 per person and in keeping with the restaurant’s sharing plate offering – Apothecary’s brunch features a selection of sharing sushi for the table, including the Chirashi lucky roll and spicy salmon rolls.

Opened back in June this year in London’s Shoreditch is Apothecary – a Japanese Izakaya or a ‘stay-drinking-place’ inspired by the taverns of Tokyo

Meanwhile, larger brunch dishes (which you are asked to select per category) include pork belly and teriyaki chicken thigh skewers, crispy prawn tempura, a fantastic sweet and indulgent miso-glazed aubergine, soft hirata buns, crispy fried chicken, grilled vegetable skewers and Japanese-inspired desserts to finish.

Alongside hot and cold sakes, local and Japanese beers, and an extensive list of wines is a highly creative collection of cocktails have been designed by Hamish Denny (previously at Spiritland and Hawksmoor). Well worth a try, these vibrant cocktails complement Apothecary’s colourful dishes (with a free-flowing option for brunch each Sunday at £20).

These include the refreshing ‘Zen Garden’ which combines Roku gin with green tea and lime cordial, or their take on the famous cosmopolitan; the Maiko – which as they describe is ‘a Sex and the City drink, but bolder, richer and more complex… more of a Samantha’. This features a mix of Absolut vodka, triple sec, beetroot, pomegranate and lime. Thankfully this delicious cocktail simply uses the beetroot element to add colour, over taste.

Alongside hot and cold sakes, local and Japanese beers, and an extensive list of wines is a highly creative collection of cocktails have been designed by Hamish Denny (previously at Spiritland and Hawksmoor

Continuing with a small plate sharing concept where you’re encouraged to order food and drinks in no formal order, is Apothecary’s daily à la carte menu. Broken down into clear categories that will guide you through its extensive offering – warm up the table with chilli edamame, miso soup or the exotically described ‘wild Argentinian popcorn shrimp’. The ever-popular bao or ‘hirata’ buns as Apothecary have coined them also line themselves up – from a barbecue beef short rib option, to a slow-cooked pork belly, chicken or the veggie spicy tofu bun.

The sushi here is the main event and features all the regular favourites. This includes a dragon roll – available with spicy tuna, roasted red pepper or crispy prawn. Fancy cooked or raw dishes? Apothecary offers a wide selection of each, from the robata grill, highlights include the Japanese A4 wagyu beef skewer, the short rib truffle miso or smoky tenderstem broccoli. Whilst from the clearly marked ‘raw’ section is sea bass ceviche or seared beef tataki with a spicy sesame dressing and the yellowtail tiradito with yuzu soy, truffle oil, jalapeno, and coriander cress – no doubt inspired by Nobu’s infamous signature dish.

The sushi here is the main event and features all the regular favourites.

Down in the basement can be found Apothecary’s private dining room space. Accommodating up to 22 seated or 35 for standing receptions, with exposed brick walls and vintage turntable – choose from menus that feature Apothecary’s signature Japanese style sharing plates. This includes their selection from the robata grill, skewers, sushi, sashimi and hirata steamed buns complemented with the selection of local and Japanese beers, hot and cold sake, wine, and Asian-influenced cocktails such as the ‘Apothecary Highball’ or ‘Found in Translation’.

Meanwhile upstairs, Apothecary’s dynamic dining space also offers a variety of semi-private areas. These spaces combine the buzz and ambience of the cosmopolitan East London restaurant whilst offering a great experience for group bookings, whatever the celebration may be.

Factbox

Address: 36 Charlotte Rd, London EC2A 3PG
Phone: 020 7060 5335
Website: apothecaryeast.co.uk