Sunday 28 July 2013

Sushi Tetsu: an eency weency corner of Japan in London

I have a problem with Sushi Tetsu. Although in fairness the problem lies more with me than them. I was going along quite nicely, enjoying sashimi from Itsu once or twice a week after the gym as a light, protein-rich, lunch. I always knew it wasn't great, not real sushi, not like I had had in the fish markets of Tokyo, but it was fine. Quite enjoyable actually. No longer. I can't stomach it anymore. Not since I was reminded what sushi should really taste like.

Now what's quite special about Sushi Tetsu is that its not the first time I have tried to seek out the clean refreshing flavours of "proper sushi" in London. I have travelled the lengths of the Piccadilly line in search of sushi - out to Ealing to Kiraku, one of the best in London according to Japanese friends. But, while it was great, it didn't hit me like Sushi Tetsu. In Kiraku I was in a very nice Japanese restaurant in Ealing, stepping through the curtain into the tiny seven seat sushi bar at Sushi Tetsu, I was in Kobe.

The menu is made up of sashimi, sushi and various sushi rolls. Unfortunately the Omakase (chef's choice) has to be booked in advance so it was up to us to do the honours. That said, we were expertly guided through the menu by Harumi, our wonderful host. Some sashimi to start, some mackerel (Chef Toru's speciality) then onto the Chef's choice of sushi.

We opted for the medium fatty tuna, sea bass and spear squid. Toru got to work, preparing fresh wasabi from the root, treating the fish with a reverence rarely seen, the end product was one of the most beautifully presented plates of sashimi I have seen. Rich tuna; squid, beautifully scored, provided bite; fresh sea bass - all framed by fruity shiso leaves.

Then came the mackerel - lightly cured, skin flash roasted by blow torch, surrounding by sprinkles of Japanese seven spice (shichimi) and cucumber. This was one of those dishes you just know you are going to remember. Everything about it was perfect.

We were then left in the hands of Chef Toro. Hand-pressed rice, topped with incredibly fresh fish, we were encouraged to devour them in one mouthful. Each one better than the last, we had tiger-like salmon, sweet and juicy prawn, lightly scored squid, delicate sea bass, rich tuna... on and on it went, none disappointed.  


Black bream (I think!)
Turbot (I think!)
Sea bass
Prawn tail
Tuna and salmon rolls with some more of that seven spice
Its probably clear by now that I didn't exactly dislike Sushi Tetsu. It is quite simply the best sushi in London. Hands down. No quibbling. No debate. The fact that it is served in such a wonderfully intimate and friendly seven seat restaurant just makes it all the better. If you want to go, though, you had better be quick. They often book out for the following month on the morning the tables are released. Needless to say I have a reminder for the 1st of August to try and get a space for September. Not many restaurants warrant such organisation, Sushi Tetsu does.

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