Tag Archives: Sushi London

Kurobuta – Marble Arch

9 May

After my review of Kurobuta’s pop up in Chelsea, the management got in touch with me to explain a few things and to thank me for my review. I was really flattered that they had read my review and that they welcomed the feedback. I was kindly given the offer to come down to their permanent location in Marble Arch, when it opened, which it now has, and enjoy an evening on them.

I relished the opportunity to try more dishes and have a better view of their menu and of course to see the new space. Let me tell you it didn’t get voted top date spot by London Eating for nothing. It’s a vibrant, beautifully lit, fun and exciting restaurant. It has all the qualities and charm of a high-end location, but without any intimidation or stuffiness. The kitchen is open for all to see and the beautiful low hanging bulbs add an enchanting ambience to the place.

To begin with I chose ‘The Green Bastard’ as my cocktail. This was Hendrix gin, cucumber and Midori. It was refreshing and cool. A really summery, very drinkable drink.

download-5We sampled some wine called Gewürztraminer, which I’m told is going to be more mainstream in the next few years. It’s a different type of grape from the norm and strangely when you smell the wine, it isn’t that normal wine smell that so often puts me off, the aroma is that of elderflower. It tastes like elderflower cordial too. It’s light and sweet and vastly different from wine as you know it.

We ordered a selection of plates from most sections of the menu. A couple of my favourites from my previous visit were on there; the tuna sashimi pizza (still the winner for me) and the salmon and avocado gravadlax.

tuna pizzaalmon gravadlaxThe restaurant added in a few extras for us that we hadn’t chosen, the prawn tempura being one of them. This was incredible, it was hot and had a beautifully light batter with a prawn that was meaty and that actually tasted of something. The sauce was light, creamy and spicy and the rice noodles not only looked wonderful but with a little sauce doused on them they could be a contender for a low-fat snack. It was an effortlessly cool dish, executed so well in accordance to taste, presentation and quality.

download-6The Wagyu beef sliders were absolutely delicious, the one thing missing was a dash of sauce. It says that it comes with Umami mayo, but I didn’t detect this at all. It just needed a spicy mayo of some kind, under the patty, and it would have been perfect. I loved the crunchy onions inside, they were a real treat.

download-2The miso baby chicken was fantastically smoky with a sharp yuzu sauce, the chicken was very tender and it was topped with very finely sliced jalapeno that gave it a really tasty kick. A tiny criticism is I felt yuzu was over used a little, not just in this dish in proportion but its use across the menu in many dishes.

download-3The salmon sushi béarnaise was presented immaculately and the buttery béarnaise and crunchy fries on top were delicious, what I would have liked was something that added a bit of a tang to the dish to oppose the buttery salmon and béarnaise taste. Perhaps something simple like a sweet soy-glaze between the salmon and the rice.

download-8The flamed edamame were really good, but I think I would have preferred them to have been grilled in garlic oil instead of butter, it makes for a nicer partnership with the rock salt.

downloadI ordered the roasted scallops which I could just tell were going to be exceptional. They were heavenly! Cooked to smokey perfection it was a faultless dish. Melt in your mouth delicious and accompanied by mushrooms that bounced with flavour. This dish is a must!

download-1We chose the doughnuts for dessert. This was a collation of pistachio parfait topped with honey coated hazelnuts, Limoncello jelly, the chocolate and hazelnut filled mini doughnuts enrobed in green tea sugar and a couple of other little delights. The overall part of this that stood out was the parfait. It was very cool in temperature without being iced, its texture was smooth with little a little crunch of pistachio and the taste was to die for.

The doughnut wasn’t as good as I had hoped, the shell of the doughnut was thin and hard as opposed to that freshly baked, light fluffiness I’m so fond of. It tasted good, but the hazelnut chocolate filling wasn’t quite creamy enough.

download-4Overall this place is brilliant, it’s a really exciting restaurant, it doesn’t feel like you’re dining in London as I feel it’s unlike anything we have here. It’s reasonably priced and a great opportunity to sample new and authentic flavours.

Our waitress was wonderful, she knew her stuff inside out, she was unbelievably polished on knowing what dishes contained, what to recommend and she delivered everything in a charming, friendly and honest way. She made the evening what it was and not only did she engage with us, but she knew when to step away.

I’ll definitely be back, I have to work my way through the rest of the eclectic menu and order myself another tuna sashimi pizza…

Thank you so much to the Kurobuta team for your professional nature and for the ongoing support for laymytable. It means a great deal.

Rate: 4.4

Kurobuta – Marble Arch

20 Kendal St, London W2 2YE

0203 475 4158

http://kurobuta-london.com/marble-arch/

Follow them on Twitter @KurobutaLondon
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Tobiko

22 Aug

I’m a sushi lover, a connoisseur of all things raw fish. I love the art behind the food, the attention to detail that doesn’t come with many other cuisines and the beauty of the presentation. It is the food that makes your eyes open wide and truly appreciate the chef’s work.

Tobiko is an absolute gem. A take-away sushi place in between Covent Garden and Leicester Square. It’s near all the out dated Spaghetti Houses and Pasta Browns that adorn the central London streets and it stands out as a beacon of hope for fish lovers!

There are a handful of tables outside, under the canopy giving it such a friendly feel. Pop inside and the chef never fails to give me a beaming smile and greeting, before getting back to preparing the sushi. You can pick and choose to make up your own box, or choose from one of the ready-made selections. I always go for the Salmon Box, priced at £6.50 (4 salmon nigiri, 2 salmon and avocado rolls and 4 salmon rolls). Occasionally I’ll opt for some Miso or Edamame too, which are also great. but my heart lies with the Salmon Box. Spend £8 or over and they give you £1 off your next visit!

The fish is SO fresh and the taste of it just melts in your mouth, the avocado is always soft and ripe and I can honestly say it is the best fish used in sushi in London that I’ve had. Unbelievably delicious. It is so finely prepared, the best cuts of the fish used, and honestly, there’s nowhere better. DEELISH!

Rate: 5

Tobiko

8 Garrick Street, Covent Garden  London, City of London, Greater London WC2E 9BH

020 7836 7291

http://www.tobiko.co.uk/
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Sushi Samba London v Sushi Samba 7 New York

3 Aug

The highly anticipated Sushi Samba arrived in the daunting Heron Tower a week ago. Having booked about 2 months ago, this has been a long time coming. I’ve been to Sushi Samba 7 in New York, many times and believe me, London had a lot to live up to. The essence of the New York one is perfect. While it’s more upmarket than other sushi restaurants in the area, giving it a bit of an edge, it’s aware that it’s in The Village and can’t be too exclusive as it’s on 7th and Bleecker not Perry and Bleecker if you understand me. What I mean is that it’s leaning towards the dive bars, late night pizza places and student haunts and while a mere stone’s throw, it isn’t conversing with the town houses and boutiques that are just ever so slightly west. Therefore, you have an eclectic mix of young and old, tourists, business men and artists all coming together for the love of fusion, ambience and great food. Fly across the pond and somewhere along the way they forgot what it was all about.

Hop in the lift to the 38th floor which zooms at a hugely accelerated pace, and you are greeted by one of the many clipboarded hostesses that are all wearing the same slinky, orange dress. As smiley and well presented as they all seem, later on they proved they had no customer service knowledge whatsoever. The bar area inside is nice enough, nothing spectacular. The focus is on the raw bar, but you can’t see what the chefs are preparing as the wooden border goes up just too high. The bar over to the right is pushed into the corner and if you angle yourself just right, behind the massive staircase and a few oddly placed pillars, you can see the breathtaking view; Tower Bridge, Gherkin, The Shard, The Thames.

The Outside bar, is chaos; broken bottles on the bar, empty cigarette packets, loads of empty glasses with a seemingly well staffed bar. Service is hard to come by, they’re all looking down, talking to each other and not really paying attention to the task in hand ‘Excuse me, do you have a drinks menu?’ ‘No, you’ll have to go inside for that.’ ‘So, you don’t have a menu out here?’ ‘Hang on (rolls eyes)’ Then a couple of minutes later she threw a couple of menus on to the bar. Wading through the gluttonous sea of ugly mouthed, suited city boys was an atrocity I’d rather not repeat. The general demeanour of the clientele had about as much charm and grace as someone throwing a brick through the all glass wall. Unfortunately, sitting on this outside terrace on the 38th floor entitled me to simply look at a conservatory roof from the floor below and in the distance, look north to what could have been Mongolia, suburban Texas or anywhere. Why on earth the bar, or any seating for that matter is not South facing, so this investment wasn’t all in vain, is beyond me. The photo below is that same view, but from the inside of the restaurant.

I had a ‘Nina Fresa’ which was pretty tasty (Ketel One Vodka is shaken with freshly squeezed lime, grapefruit and guava juice and sweetened with strawberry puree and simple syrup. Served ‘up’.)

We were initially showed to our seat in a corridor, I politely declined, looking through the glass to the side of the outside terrace at the back of city boys or, on the other side, a white wall, whilst a constant stream of customers pass through, was not what I had in mind when booking a table at the top of the Heron Tower. We waited…and waited…and then were seated in the restaurant, as opposed to the periphery, but our view was now of the conservatory roof I so fondly described earlier, and some sort of crane like contraption blocking any minute side view I might have once been able to have. I settled for it as realised fighting it would have been futile.

Next, I’ve worked in restaurants, expensive ones, cheap ones and I know the drill. Step One: Establish the clientele. This is a simple test to determine how much attention bad waiters will give to said patron. The water question. Still or sparkling. They might as well ask, ‘How much money are you going to spend?’ I have no qualms with responding to this by saying ‘tap’. The next is asking if you’d like any edamame, tempura etc etc. This is before you have even seen the menu…I again declined. The reluctance of handing over the menu is strange, you can’t even find it online.

After deliberating, we chose the Poussin and four different Samba rolls; BoBo Brazil,  Neo Tokyo, The Samba London & the last one was a mixture, like a Rainbow Roll. Presentation was good, not quite as spectacular as NY, but credit where credit is due, it was good and very colourful, for London, sorry. The tempura crunch was salty with just the right amount of crunch and the fish was good although wasn’t that flavoursome. The Wagyu beef roll was lovely and very decorative, with a good smoky taste to the meat. The most simple thing however, the base for all of this which is so often overlooked is the rice. To quote Jay Rayner when talking about Sushi Tetsu ‘It is all detail…the rice is exactly how you always wish it might be and so rarely is. It is the right side of just warm.’ Samba had cold rice that was not fresh and Rayner’s description is so spot on as not only does fresh, warm rice accentuate the taste of the fish, it’s soft texture and freshness are so much more appealing than rice you know has been kept chilled for a while. For around £15 a roll you expect the best of the best. The Poussin was really nice; smoky, soft chicken with a delicious barbecue style and slightly spicy sauce, great as something a little different on the side.

Samba New York gets the rice just right, the fish is fresher, the crunch, crunchier. They are also a lot bigger! Photo below is from Samba NY to compare and we had very similar rolls, so that the comparison could be more accurate.

After dinner we walked out onto the other balcony, where a few people were drinking (you aren’t allowed to eat out there) and in one small corner of this balcony is the view you’ve been waiting for. It was amazing to see, it’s just a shame they didn’t design the restaurant in a way so it could be enjoyed by all it’s customers.

I wouldn’t say it was an amazing experience, it was lacklustre if anything. And for those prices you can go to Sushinho for a much nicer atmosphere and keep your feet firmly on the ground, which is maybe what Samba should have done…in more ways than one.

Rate: 3.2 (London)

Rate: 4.8 (New York)

Sushi Samba

110 Bishopsgate

London

EC2N 4AY

020 3640 7330

Sushi Samba 7

87 7th Avenue South

New York, NY

10014

(212) 691-7885

http://sushisamba.com/
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sticks’n’sushi

4 May

One thing to know about me is that I like to make up songs to go with food. Sushi has a very special place in my tummy and so it definitely has it’s own song. It’s only one line…and one day you might be lucky enough to hear it’s tune…it goes ‘Let’s get some sush sush’. KEEP READING if I haven’t lost you with my weirdness!

sticks’n’sushi is the latest export from Copenhagen and if their other exports were anything to go by then I knew I was in for a treat; The Little Mermaid, Pastries (Danish Ones, but there it would just be pastries!) and bacon!

We went on a Sunday afternoon and the atmosphere was very chilled and happy with background funky house music playing. Platters came pouring out and the look between Aky and me was ‘we’re onto something here!’ The food was beautifully presented and tasted great. The Hells Kitchen Roll and the Ebi Bites were the most deelish and I know we will definitely be going back!

Rate: 4

Hells Kitchen Roll, Rainbow Roll & Ebi Bites

Close up: Rainbow Roll & Hells Kitchen Roll

Yakitori Sticks: Beef with Sticks Sauce, Miso Marinated White Fish, Tebasaki Chicken

Crème brûlée

Sticks’n’Sushi

58 Wimbledon Hill Road, London SW19 7PA

Phone 020 3141 8800

http://www.sticksnsushi.com/
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