The best sushi in London
In search of sushi perfection? Look for impeccably, freshly cooked, still warm, lightly vinegared sushi rice with every grain facing in the same direction and paired with glistening fish
Moshi Moshi is the real deal and even pre-dates Yo Sushi in introducing kaiten, or conveyor-belt sushi, to London. Sitting at the horseshoe bar is still popular here, though for a calmer and more intimate experience book a table within the sculptural belly of the fish-shaped restaurant with views of Liverpool Street station which are, surprisingly, not at all distracting.
Caroline Bennett, Moshi Moshi's owner, lived in Japan, sparking her desire to bring authentic sushi to the capital. She's also a passionate protagonist of Slow Food Fish and has built up a close working relationship with indivdual fishermen and their boats to supply Moshi Moshi. Hence the quality is exceptional and the menu changes dependent on the catch and there's no waste. Be sure to order the delicious crispy fish ends.
Sushi here is exceptionally well made. Favourites are the tataki, slightly blow-torched, salmon and the faux eel, actually a lesser known, completely sustainable dish. Temaki, handrolls are especially good, try the Cornish crab and avocado. A refreshing salad with chicory and yuzu miso dressing makes a delicious accompaniment.
Within the new Prince Akatoki hotel close to Marble Arch, this luxuriously redefined, now Japanese-owned hotel with bar and restaurant is a wonderful tranquil retreat from Marble Arch, and prices are not fierce.
Tokii the restaurant has a classically Savoy-trained British chef whose brigade have been trained by Japanese sushi masters and the sushi is impressive in its scope, delicacy and presentation. There's lean (akami), fatty (toro) and tuna belly nigiri, fusion salads with lotus crisps and yuzu dressing and miso black cod (actually sablefish) served with sweet, caramelised onion, padron pepper and chilli and a superb yuzu crème brûlée.
Try the full Japanese breakfast too.Read more ...
Originally an artist's studio, the Grade I listed building has a tranquil interior courtyard garden too, idyllic for summer sushi sampling. The menu at Dinings SW3 borrows from Japanese izakaya fused with European tapas ingredients and is impeccably crafted and exhilaratingly creative.
Their sushi rolls are especially alluring: combinations including double crab: snow and soft-shell crab with yuzu garlic vinaigrette, and cress and lobster tempura with chilli soya and sesame sauce. Try, too, their crispies: crisp sushi rice served with sashimi salads.
Dinings SW3 are introducing a new vegan sushi menu including nigiri with grilled shitake mushrooms with truffle soy and avocado with tempura flakes and jalapeño mayonnaise.
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Endo is not like any other omakase restaurant. Omakase is the ‘chef’s selection’: like a tasting menu, yet more personal as it is hyper-seasonal and can change at every service.
Omakase restaurants, both in London and Japan, are typically small, reverential spaces – as anyone who has seen the film In Search of Jiro would know. Endo is different. It is large, light and buzzy with a wraparound window and the interior is all sleek slatted wood, black textured stone and an enormous, paper sculpture-cum-lampshade.
Guests sit at the long L-shaped counter to experience the theatre of Endo Kazutoshi, a third-generation ‘sushi master', and his team. Kazutoshi introduces the sushi and hands it to the guests, instructing them to eat it immediately. Nigiri are flawless with still warm, just sticky but still separate rice and sublime, perfectly balanced acidity with silky-textured toppings such as marinated Irish oysters. Tempura is exquisitely light and flavourful too.
This is transformational omakase, pricey yes, though on a par with any gastronomic treat of a lifetime.
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Top-end takeaway and ultra-modern eat-in café, Sushi Shop is a French-born international brand that collaborates with a different French chef each year. Last year it was Anne-Sophie Pic. Now, it's the turn of Greg Marchand of The Frenchie, who takes a rather more fusion approach inspired by Frenchie's own Paris menu.
Frenchie Roll is an uramaki roll filled with crisp fried chicken, avocado, smoked paprika and sesame, topped with fondant of sweet piquillo pepper and spicy mayo. More bizarrely, there's an Indonesian-inspired satay nigiri with prawn, peanut and coconut sauce given added zing with lime zest and grated coconut. Indian Spring is a vegetarian uramaki roll with roasted carrot, dates, cheese, Japanese mayo, coriander, vadouvan and lime. Completing the quartet is the Scandi roll with smoked herring, cucumber and soba cha crunch. Purists will be outraged, curious foodies bemused and intrigued.
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Upstairs in Kensington High Street’s Japan House, Akira is a haven for Japanese dining recently awarded a Michelin Bib Gourmand in its first year for its meticulous sushi and contemporary Japanese dishes and tea-serving.
New this spring is chef Shimizu Akira's exquisitely presented Japanese afternoon tea including savoury sushi besides Japanese mochiyashi (sweet rice dumplings), doriyaki (pancakes filled with red bean paste), jelly-like desserts with matcha and crisp sushi rice cookies with plum. It is accompanied by the finest Japanese teas and, to make it extra special, sparkling sake.
Atari-ya is an open secret among Japan-loving chefs, particularly Jonny Lake of Trivet, ex-The Fat Duck, and Heston Blumenthal himself. Ealing Common is not as much of a schlep as it sounds: it is on the Central line, and the restaurant is right opposite the station. While its sushi is superlative, Akari-ya is also a wholesale fish supplier to the likes of Puma and Roka. Try dishes beyond sushi that you're unlikely to find anywhere else in the UK, including a Japanese savoury custard called chawanamushi – ambrosial with a hint of yuzu.
The sushi itself is outstanding, served at exactly the right body temperature and the rice is impeccable as is the fish: whether seabass, seabream, boiled or sweet prawn, sea urchin or tuna three ways. The velvety, buttery toro belly is true sushi decadence.
Be guided in ordering sake, too, as the owner is also a sake specialist and supplies The Fat Duck and other top restaurants.Read more ...
Dark, noisy and invariably busy, Sticks'n'Sushi may be part of a small chain, yet the quality of the ultra-sustainable sushi is unassailable and the Scandi welcome is warm and stylish. Originating in Copenhagen, Sticks'n'Sushi does things differently. There's a rather lush catalogue-like menu of incredible sushi platters that actually live up to their picture. This is high-fashion, highish-volume sushi with no compromise on taste or skill. Try, too, the robata grilled sticks and great desserts.Read more ...
A real insider's gem, Takahashi is an intimate local run by Japanese, former Nobu chef Nobuhisa Takahashi, aka Taka, and his wife Yuko.
It only seats 12 guests, so booking a month ahead is essential. Even Marina O'Loughlin praises the delicate elegance of Taka's nigiri: 'absolute luxury'. Each order is made with utmost care and precision so the rice is just sticky enough and the fish just vinegared enough. Soft-shell crab tempura is breathakingly good. Taka offers some Nobu-influenced dishes too, including that miso black cod. As is usual in a serious Japanese restaurant, there is very little to distract from the very, very good food.Read more ...
Still the hang-out of A-list celebrities and those in search of a glam, spare-no-expense night out, Nobu offers exemplary classic and creative sushi, mesmerising in its presentation.
Special mention should be made of their exquisite dessert menu, too.
For a taste of the Nobu experience, their new bento boxes, which can be pre-ordered for speedy dining, have a selection of their emblematic sushi plus iconic dishes including black miso cod and shrimp salad with matsuhisa dressing.Read more ...
Enter through the noren (half-curtains) of this tiny rustic bar-restaurant and you seem far away from a Soho back street and transported to downtown Kyoto. It is alluringly unknowable and always full of Japanese gourmets. There are only four tables and counter seating to watch chef-patron Yuya Kikuchi prepare each sushi in front of you as you wait. It is not a place to visit if you're in a hurry.
Each piece of sushi is flawless and the fish, whether molten yellowtail, razor clam, turbot or wild prawn, is totally mesmerising and served with the merest wisp of sticky soy glaze or tiny garnish of minutely chopped chives. Even the ginger tastes home pickled. Sushi and many other dishes are served on beautiful rough-hewn plates. There's a discerning choice of sake too.Read more ...
Still a hot spot for the rich and famous and those who enjoy people watching, the vast Knightsbridge Zuma (the first of a global group) is perpetually buzzy. The sushi is skilfully made using top notch luxury ingredients and very much in Zuma's own style, quite a departure from the classics. Highlights include spicy yellowtail nigiri with sansho (a citrusy pepper), avocado and wasabi mayo and lobster, spiny crab, shiso maki roll. Do order the steamed spinach and sesame sauce starter and a dazzling selection from the robata grill including sake chicken wings with lime and sea salt. Desserts are alluring too: cherry blossom flourless chocolate cake with macadamia and cherry ripple ice-cream stands out.Read more ...
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