|Photo by Freeimages.com/Nanette Nicholson|
by Estella Shardlow, The Daily Telegraph, June 16, 2016
International Sushi Day (18th June) calls for more than a lunchtime dash to Itsu. For the most sensational sashimi and marvellous maki this side of Tokyo, head to one of these restaurants and raise a glass of sake…
The decadent offerings at this Izakaya-style Marylebone townhouse include yellowtail sashimi topped with British caviar, and Wagyu beef nigiri with foie gras. Nobu alumni Masaki Sugisaki and Keiji Fuku are at the helm, offering a menu of ‘Japanese tapas’ with modern European influences.
Dinings, 22 Harcourt St, London W1H 4HH, 020 7723 0666
Standout design and a commitment to sourcing sustainable fish have won Brighton’s Moshimo a legion of fansmen/thinking-man/why-are-most-internet-trolls-male/. The modernist building is meant to resemble a floating lantern floating, with shoji screen-inspired walls that slide open onto the square in summer. Its Japanese vegetables and herbs are grown a tiny farm outside of Lewes, appearing in highly original sushi dishes such as tuna salad with red radish and watercress, and tofu, mizuna, sun dried tomato, red onion and cucumber. It also runs sake tastings and sushi-making workshops.
Moshimo, Opticon, Bartholomew Square, Brighton BN1 1JS 01273 719195
This Soho spot isn’t hot on décor or fancy fusion menus; what matters here are the beautifully simple morsels coming round on the kaiten sushi (conveyor belt), while you watch the deft knife-work of the chefs in the centre. As well as the fresh fish offerings, make sure you snatch the miso aubergine when it comes your way, and place an order for the soft shell crab roll. You can eat like a king for £15, and they throw in unlimited green tea refills.
Kulu-Kulu, 76 Brewer Street, London W1F 9TU, 020 7734 7316
A top choice for special occasions, Roka’s tasting menu boasts some of the most indulgent sashimi in town: yellowtail tuna with yuzu-truffle dressing and rock lobster with mandarin kosho. It goes beyond sushi to offer exemplary contemporary robatayaki cuisine, crafting signature dishes such as gindara to gazi no gyoza (black cod, crab and crayfish dumplings) on a central robata grill. At the Charlotte Street flagship, glass walls are perfect for people-watching; other Roka branches are to found in Mayfair, Canary Wharf and Aldwych.
Roka, 37 Charlotte Street, London, W1T 1RR, UK, 0207 580 6464
The name means ‘Bottoms up!’ in Japanese, and from a seat by the open kitchen or at Kanpai’s sushi counter you can toast the chefs with a glass of plum wine. The interior is all polished beech and pendant lighting, while the menu focuses on three pillars: sushi, sake and tempura. Dishes such as grilled scallop nigiri and tuna sashimi have earned it a string of awards, from the Michelin Guide to The Scottish Restaurant Awards.
Kanpai Sushi, Grindlay Street, Edinburgh, City of Edinburgh, EH3 9AS
For the freshest fish, it makes sense to go straight to the source. Well, Atariya supplies seafood and other Japanese ingredients to restaurants all over the capital, as well as running its own chain of no-nonsense sushi bars. The vast selection includes lesser-known delicacies like uni (sea urchin), Botan Ebi (spot prawn), engawa (turbot fin) and natto (fermented soy beans), often prettily plated on slate or wooden boards.
Atari-Ya has eat-in branches in Ealing Common, Swiss Cottage and Hendon, plus a James Street take-away
Newcomer Wazen has made waves thanks to its polished décor, knowledgeable staff (head chef Toshimasa Tanahashi hails from the Arts Club’s Kyubi) and authentic, beautifully presented cuisine. Located on a quiet street in Kings Cross, it’s billed as a neighbourhood Japanese restaurant and highly prizes Omotenashi, which roughly translates as "the spirit of Japanese hospitality". Even the loos are of the high-tech Tokyo variety. Generous sushi and sashimi platters are perennially popular, and two strengths of soy sauce are served to complement different dishes.
Wazen, 2 Acton St, London WC1X 9NA, 020 3632 1069
Sushi at Maze, Gordon Ramsay
Gohei Kishi – alumnus of Michelin-starred Tokyo restaurant Kappou Nakajima – is on the other side of the sushi counter here. He dreams up modern twists and unusual flavour pairings: kingfish with pecan nut and dashi vinaigrette (the base to miso soup) and tuna maki with jalapeño miso are on the menu. A superb cocktail list completes the experience.
Sushi at Maze, Gordon Ramsay, 10 -13 Grosvenor Square, W1K 6JP, 020 7107 0000
This article was written by Estella Shardlow from The Daily Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.