The following post comes to you from the lovely Elisse Ahmet.


Japanese culture can sometimes be stereotyped a little too freely. They love sushi, sake and cats, right? Well, as with any stereotype, there’s no smoke without fire. Enter Necco, a lovely little Japanese café in Exmouth Market in Clerkenwell which offers lunch time and evening dining as well as a selection of Japanese desserts.

 For my first blog post for the Collective Individualism team, I went along to see whether Necco would reveal itself as a hidden gem in the treasure chest of London. Now, if your Japanese is up to scratch you’ll already know what the word ‘necco’ means. For those of you that don’t, it’s the Japanese word for cat. Yup.




Necco proudly stands out in hughes of pinks on an otherwise quiet street, cat memorabilia and Japanese treats littering its window display. Upon entering, all three of the female staff members stopped in their tracks to give us a traditional Japanese greeting. This made us feel very welcomed and we were touched by their sincerity.

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The menu is ordered by type of dish and meat in a clever little Filofax illustrated with images of every meal. This made deciding that much easier and it was refreshing to see what we’d be getting. We opted for the pumpkin croquets and giant octopus balls to start – the former because they sounded delicious and the latter because we are childish.

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Beautifully presented, both these dishes come highly recommended. The croquets were crunchy with a soft fluffy middle and were complemented by the garnish and sticky sweet sauce they came with. Likewise, the giant octopus balls were actually pieces of steaming hot octopus covered in breadcrumbs in a ball shape. These also came with a creamy and sticky sweet sauce to accompany them.

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For mains we both went for a Donburi (any meat on a bed of rice). I opted for the Salmon Teriyaki Don – perfectly marinated and sprinkled in sesame seeds, the salmon steak was flaky and meaty – I couldn’t have been happier with my choice. (And the carrot garnish was cut into a flower. Who wouldn’t like that?).

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My friend opted for the Pork Cutlet Don – pork, cooked vegetables and an egg. I have it on good authority that the pork was melt-in-your mouth soft and the egg laced throughout teamed well with the salty sweetness of the meat. Served on pyramid piles of fluffy white steaming rice (there was the option to go brown), the portions offered substantial amounts of hearty food and it was really good value for the price (£9.00 and £8.00 respectively).

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Our pockets were also nicely surprised when we realised it was happy hour (6-7pm) and the Kirin Ichiban beer was only £2.50. What’s not to love?

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All in all, Necco was a restaurant we were very pleased to have encountered. Offering cheap and healthy Japanese food and even nicer staff, this is definitely somewhere we’d recommend and somewhere we’ll be returning to really soon. And who knows, maybe we’ll bump into each other on round two?


For more Elisse goodness, stalk her on Twitter here or see more of her restaurant reviews here