Ezo is a Japanese restaurant in West London just a few minutes walk from Acton Central station. It sits half way up Churchfield Road which is a vibrant local high street with several independent cafes, bakeries, and a craft beer store and wine shop. While I’ve seen Ezo on Instagram, the visit was completely unplanned. We were simply looking for a nice restaurant after a long day of work. As we walked along the road, Ezo came into view and we decided we had to check it out.
The restaurant name refers to the old name for Hokkaido and territories to the north of it. Hokkaido is the most northern of the four main islands in Japan. It’s most famous for its seafood, ramen, snowboarding, and the Sapporo snow festival. Also if you like wildlife, you may have heard of the Ezo Momonga. This is another name for the cute Japanese dwarf flying squirrel. As head chef Tomo hails from Hokkaido, I imagine this is where the restaurant gets its name from.
First thing to know about Ezo, is that it is a small restaurant with only a few tables and a counter upstairs. However, there is outdoor seating plus tables downstairs as well. It gives that comfy local restaurant vibe, with people coming with their dogs and friends enjoying some sushi at the counter.
Starters and drinks
Another thing to know about Ezo is that they do not sell alcohol. Instead they let people bring their own, and as A Pint of Hops is only two doors down, my friend was happy to buy a few bottles while we waited for our order. Ezo has a nice selection of authentic starters, and we went with the yakitori skewers and aubergine dengaku. The yakitori skewers were excellent – succulent pieces of chicken marinated in a homemade teriyaki sauce. I liked the dish they served it on too as it was different to the typical Japanese restaurant dishes you see in London.
After that came the aubergine dengaku. Now we did not take a photo of this, but we really ought to have! We shared this dish and absolutely loved it. Ezo sear the aubergine with Saikyo miso from Kyoto, and the result is a sweet taste from the miso which combines wonderfully with the aubergine. The best things are always the unexpected ones aren’t they?
Next came the main dishes. My friends ordered the Tonkotsu ramen and the Salmon Teriyaki on rice. The Salmon Teriyaki was a delicious dish made with Scottish Salmon marinated in Teriyaki sauce and placed on a pillow of Japanese rice. The Tonkotsu ramen was well presented, however unfortunately the boiled eggs were chilled and the broth could have been richer.
Meanwhile I ordered the Chicken Sho-yu ramen. I thought it would be a ramen with a chicken based broth which uses soy sauce for the seasoning sauce. There are some ramen shops in Japan that have Sho-yu ramen with chicken slices for toppings. However at Ezo, they add grilled chicken pieces as a topping along with seaweed. I know this is occasionally done for home cooking but never tried it myself. How was it? It was actually really good in my opinion. The shoyu soup broth was rich and the chicken pieces were soft. There was a generous portion of chicken too and you almost couldn’t see the noodles. Still you had enough space to get your spoon into the broth so you could enjoy it from the start.
This is a lovely Japanese restaurant to know if you live in the local area. The staff are friendly, and it’s really nice to be able to order and chat in Japanese. The food is authentic and they have many fantastic dishes. However, my rating for Ezo is 4 stars out of five. While the ramen I ate was great I can not honestly say it is in the best 5 in London. I want to give 5 stars for the service and the other dishes but I need to try to be objective. Next time, we will order sushi as I can see lots of great reviews and I can see that this is Chef Tomo’s forte. Again, their starters were incredible and I was impressed by their aubergine dengaku. I would definitely recommend Ezo to anyone if they are looking for a Japanese restaurant in West London.
If you have been to Ezo before, please feel free to let us know how it was for you in the comments below.