An Umami Symphony: Sosaku Onigiri Delights the Taste Buds
Nestled in West London, Sosaku Onigiri stands out as a hidden gem for those seeking an extraordinary culinary experience. This cosy eatery stall in Shepherd’s Bush Market not only embraces tradition but also introduces a modern twist to the beloved Japanese classic, the onigiri. A newbie to the market, Sosaku Onigiri has been open for 4 months, run by a husband and wife.
What is onigiri?
Onigiri, a staple in Japanese cuisine, has a rich history that dates back centuries. Also known as omusubi, onigiri is a traditional Japanese rice ball typically filled with various ingredients and often wrapped in seaweed (nori). Its origins can be traced to the early days of Japan, and it has evolved to become a popular and convenient food item.
Ancient Roots (Nara Period, 8th Century): The concept of rice balls can be traced back to the Nara period (710–794). During this time, people would mould the rice into simple shapes for easy consumption. These early rice balls were often eaten as a quick and portable meal, ideal for travellers and field workers.
Evolving Fillings and Wrappings: Over time, onigiri evolved to include a variety of fillings such as pickled plums (umeboshi), salted salmon, grilled fish, and other ingredients. The use of nori (seaweed) as a wrapper became more prevalent, enhancing the flavour and providing a practical way to hold the rice ball without getting your hands sticky.
The moment you step into Sosaku Onigiri, you are transported to a tranquil haven. The minimalist decor, adorned with subtle Japanese elements, creates a calming atmosphere. The warm lighting and wooden accents set the stage for a delightful dining experience.
Sosaku Onigiri menu
Currently, there are six onigiri varieties on the menu, Ume, soboru, takana, salmon, tuna and kombu, all priced at £3.50. The miso potage (s £3.50) (m £4.50), and set menu are new. Set 1 you can get two onigiri and a small soup for £9.50. Set 2 gets you two rice balls and a medium soup.
Sosaku Onigiri takes pride in offering a diverse range of onigiri options, catering to both traditionalists and adventurous food enthusiasts. From classic fillings like tuna and pickled plum to unconventional choices like kombu and yuzu miso, the menu is a testament to the chef’s creativity. Pair the onigiri with the decadent rich and creamy miso potage for a filling meal.
Each onigiri is a work of art, meticulously crafted to perfection. The presentation is a testament to the chef’s attention to detail, with vibrant colours and textures that not only please the eyes but also hint at the explosion of flavours to come.
Flavours and Textures:
Unwrapping the ume onigiri, a burst of citrus explodes from the packaging. The first bite into a Sosaku Onigiri is nothing short of a revelation. The rice is flawlessly seasoned, achieving the ideal balance of sweetness and saltiness. The fillings burst with freshness, and the combination of textures—creamy, crunchy, and chewy—adds a dynamic element to every bite.
Monthly special dishes:
While most of the onigiri options are exceptional, the chef’s monthly special creations stand out. The “kombu” is an umami symphony with a medley of miso-marinated kelp, Japanese cabbage, and a touch of truffle mayo oil is a flavour explosion that leaves a lasting impression.
The service at Sosaku Onigiri is impeccable. The owner is knowledgeable about the menu and is more than happy to assist with recommendations based on your preferences. The prompt service ensures that you can savour each onigiri at its peak freshness.
Ume – Japanese Salty Plum (Umeboshi), Perilla (Shiso), Japanese Pickled Mooli (Takuan), Yuzu Miso, Sesame
Kombu – Japanese Kelp (Kombu), Truffle Mayo, Sesame, Japanese Cabbage
Takana – Spicy Pickled Mustard Leaves (Takana), Kimchi, Japanese Mayo, Garlic Miso, Japanese Pepper (Sansho), Sesame
Sosaku Onigiri is a culinary haven for onigiri enthusiasts and food connoisseurs alike. With its commitment to quality ingredients, innovative twists, and impeccable presentation, this eatery has undoubtedly earned its place as a must-visit destination for those seeking a taste of Japanese culinary excellence. Prepare to embark on a gastronomic journey that elevates the humble onigiri to new heights.
More information on Sosaku Onigiri:
Please visit their Instagram page @sosakuonigiri for the latest updates and posts. As they tend to sell out before closing time. I made that painful trip from East to West arriving at a sold-out sign when I first attempted to visit. Specials change every month, for £3.50 the onigiris are a total bargain and are classed as cheap eats in London.
No.6 @shepherdsbushmarket, W12 8DF.
Shepherd’s Bush Market
⏰ OPEN MONDAY-SATURDAY 12:00-18:00.
*invite/all opinions are my own
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