JAPAN ON A PLATE

Gonbei

151 King's Cross Road, London (020-7278 0619)

Not the glitziest, and certainly not the priciest, but still one of the best sushi restaurants in London. It's a magnet for Japanese businessmen, which has to be a good sign. The man with the knives, Takao Sensei, has been in London for 30 years after serving a hard apprenticeship man and boy and is unimpressed by sushi fashion.

Sushi-Say

33b Walm Lane, Willesden, London (020-8459 2971)

Willesden might not be the first place you would look for a good Japanese restaurant but cognoscenti come from miles around to get an authentically Japanese experience.

Sakura

Windsor Hotel, 69 Great Pulteney Street, Bath (01225 422100)

Cook-at-your-own-table specialists, a rarity in Britain and especially so in the West Country. The owners, a British-Japanese couple, work hard to source the best ingredients for heart-and-stomach-warming Japanese favourites such as sukiyaki and shabu shabu, cooked in bubbling vegetable broth. Delicious.

Samsi Japanese Yakitori Bar

38 Whitworth Street, Manchester (0161 279 0022)

Expensive but plush, advanced booking usually necessary. A rare UK example of a yakitoriya, or grilled chicken shop. Succulent pieces of chicken (and other meats, including kidney) are cooked on skewers, with optional peppers, onion, and Japanese version of barbecue sauce. Washed down with cold Kirin beer, there is nothing finer.

Bonsai

West Richmond Street, Edinburgh (0131 668 3847)

Excellent value, and highly praised friendly bar and bistro, serving a good cross-section of the wide range of Japanese food types. Has a loyal following, and also does takeaways.

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