I miss my friends Cathy and Bobby, who moved away a few weeks ago to Hong Kong. In tribute to them (and to feed my ever-present sushi cravings), I recently ate at the Hare & Tortoise restaurant in Kensington, which is where we’d eat together after hanging out at their flat on Kensington High Street.
I have no idea why it’s called the Hare & Tortoise. The first time I went, I worried that any restaurant with the word “tortoise” in its name did not bode well, but that’s me seeing the glass half empty, because I conveniently ignored the “hare” bit. And in fact, service has always been efficient, though not particularly helpful or friendly. That description of H&T’s service could apply to decor and food, too: it’s all good enough, but not outstanding. The appeal is that the place is reliable and good value by London standards.
My favorite dishes there are the agedashi tofu (£3.20) and shrimp tempura rolls (£6). They’re always freshly fried, come in a nice portion size, and most importantly, they’re modestly priced. I often get assorted nigiri and maki, too, but generally, unless the fish is sublimely fresh, I’m interested more in the “cooked” foods.
Hare & Tortoise is pan-Asian, so I surprise myself by liking it. I normally prefer restaurants that specialize in one cuisine (figuring you should just do one thing well instead of lots things poorly), but you know, the curry laksa (£5.95) at the restaurant also rocks my world. It’s hot and spicy, but also comfortingly creamy and sweet. Malaysia in a bowl.
In this dark, rainy weather, I take refuge in eating fried goodies, decent maki, and savoury soups at Hare & Tortoise. Visit it the next time you need a getaway from the chain hell of High Street Ken or are visiting Olympia.