#OGR – Bento, Centre Point Food Store

It is customary, for the first piece of a New Year, to nod in the direction of diet and frugality. You’ll note from the weekend supplements that writers are required to be dismissive of fasting and salads in their first paragraph, but then offer a tangental ‘guilt free wallet friendly’ idea all of their own. Here’s mine.

The pavements around Centrepoint are for passing through, not stopping. Rush away from Tottenham Court Road to the civility of Fitzrovia. Hang a hard right or left to duck down to Soho. Accept fate and be dragged west, by the throng, to Top Shop and Nike Town. Whatever you do, don’t dawdle. Head down. Go.

There is one other option: if you’re hungry, head directly to Centre Point Food Store, the Asian supermarket on St Giles High Street. Not for a bag of bonito flakes (that won’t sate the hunger). Rather, go into the supermarket and immediately upstairs to their slightly quirky Japanese café. A haven of early 80s architecture, set to a soundtrack of western pop transmogrified by mandolins and bamboo flutes.

I think they call themselves a ‘sushi café’, and their sushi and sashimi is decent, competent and (maybe most significantly) generous. You could deliberate for a while over the a la carte. But, really, the One Good Reason to head up here, is the bento box section of the menu.

There’s plenty of choice over the two pages, but for me only ever one order: the sushi, sashimi and tempura box. £18 for a miso soup, salad, thick hunks of salmon, tuna and the white fish of the day, a few nigiri, salmon maki, fat prawn and sweet potato tempura and a plate of fruit.

It’s plain vanilla stuff, you’ll find lighter tempura elsewhere and, as always, no mention of inexpensive Japanese is complete without saying it’s not as good as Koya. But it’s decent enough and certainly streets ahead of chain alternatives. Moreover, it’s a good value meal and relatively healthy … which (finally) is the extremely tangental link to the New Year. Best wishes, good luck, etc. etc.


Centre Point Food Store, 20-21 St Giles High Street, WC2H8LN, 020 7240 6147

One Good Reason

Bento. £10-20