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Sushi - does it actually exist in London?

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I have just seen announcement about political discussion...so I have removed a joke that was at best in poor taste, and at worst could be considered politically incendiary. Apologies if anyone was offended. Now back to our regularly scheduled programming...

Edited by magnolia (log)
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I went last night (prior to going to the Paul McCartney concert - amazing) to the 'cheapo' Japanese in Chinatown and it was really good, genuine (a lot of the customers were Japanese) and very reasonable (the Nigri selection of Sushi was £8 and the Miso Soup was 80 Pence - I think that's cheap!) but the menue had a lot more options much cheaper (including Bento boxes).

The name is, imaginatively, Tokyo, and it's located on the corner of the road parellel to Gerrars Street (go East on Gerrard Street and take a right at the end and it's on the corner).

Let me know please someone, but I think it's cheap and good. Of course it's very basic.

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Good sushi can be sublime - melting, rich, delicate, echos of the sea... 

Yes, one would think one of the few major cities of the world could pull this off over one of the many many minor cities

The search continues...

if you do find a suitable establishment, please come back and let us know. i rarely if ever eat sushi anymore - ever since i moved to london.


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  • 11 months later...
If you don't mind a tube journey then Sushi Say in Willesden Green (Jubilee Line) is excellent, but it's not cheap (surely, in London anyway, cheap sushi is an oxymoron?).

Bumping this up, to ask if anyone has been to Sushi Say recently? Trying to track down reasonably good sushi out that way for my mum-in-law. She's closeish to the Oriental supermarket in Colindale, but we're hoping to point her at someplace that provides a little more guidance and also has some non-sushi entree options. Thanks.

"Tea and cake or death! Tea and cake or death! Little Red Cookbook! Little Red Cookbook!" --Eddie Izzard
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I'm looking for quality at reasonable prices. With an actual sushi bar - forget the converyor belt approach! I'm not looking for quality at mega prices (hard though this is in London)

I'm not sure that good sushi and reasonable go together - I find that sushi is one of the (few) foods where quality is generally proportional to price and I've never had what I'd class as really good sushi outside Tokyo, never mind Japan.

The best sushi I've found in London is probably at Defune. It's near Marylebone high street. When you give up trying for cheap sushi and jut want the best in London, I think Nobu's sushi bar takes some beating. Some of the best O-Toro in the west.

If you're in the area, I can also recommend Yan-Baru on Harcourt street just off the Edgeware road near Edgeware Road tube. It's a pretty basic Japanese place in a cellar. You can eat pretty authentic Japanese lunches (the Unaju is excellent) and low end Kaiseki style in the evening.

I used to work next door and was constantly amazed that Yanbaru was never picked up by Time out etc. I think the London Japanese community keep it secret...

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I second Defune.

Another good one is Ikeda opposite Claridges. Not a very wide selection (in the UK this is a good sign IMHO).

There is a place in Acton that a Japanese friend of mine who just wrote a book on sushi recommends very highly but I have never been. That still counts as London, right?


Edited by balex (log)
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  • 1 month later...


hi the best places for sushi in london is sushi hiro opposite ealing common tube station and its very reasonable for london. Just walk in and you will see nothing but japanese business men probably using their expense account wisely :smile:

but some things you have to know, its closed on monday (a good thing) they only take booking up to 5 people as the place is tiny, they only accept cash (bad thing)and last orders is at 8.30pm??!!

alternatively cafe japan in golders green is pretty good too.

"so tell me how do you bone a chicken?"

"tastes so good makes you want to slap your mamma!!"

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alternatively cafe japan in golders green is pretty good too

I'd have to agree with Origamicrane, Sushi Hiro is probably the best sushi in london for an astonishingly reasonable price (for london). But be warned, there is only sushi here. Don't expect to be served other types of Japanese food too!

O-C, can you compare Cafe Japan and Sushi Hiro for me? Does Cafe Japan do other dishes besides sushi and is it "homestyle" Japanese as you would think from the name?

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What they say. Sushi-Say is the place to go. The last time I was there, the bar was almsot entirely populated with chefs from Nobu.

I would go for lunch on a Saturday or Sunday, where a set meal will set you back from 8-15 pounds. A decent meal in the evening will be about 30 quid, but booze is pricey.

The couple who run it tend to visit their relatives in Japan in January, so if you're around early in February, you may get something esoteric off-menu. The home-made ice-cream is top-notch!

(I lived in Willesden for 3 years and was there most weekends!)

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cafe japan is excellent too as they do other japanese dished including the very yummy black cod and miso at half the price of nobu!! and soft shell crab roles. The atmosphere in cafe japan is more buzzy. Its not japanese homecooking but its still very good. Only thing is a friend told me that they have changed management recently so not sure if the quality has changed.

But if its just sushi you want i have yet to go anyhere in the uk that is better sushi hiro.

For instance i really rate the following restaurants for overall quality

matsuri - really fun and tasty japanese teppanyaki place but expensive.

cafe japan - very reasonable high quality food with a family run kind of feel.

noto - a little hit and miss but when its a hit its really amazing and reasonable price

nobu - :) hehehe reserved for when i get my annual bonus!!

chiso - this place is really good and does have some home cooking but expensive

yumi - excellent service very authentic with kimono clad waitresses but expensive for what you get.

but sushi hiro basically is miles ahead in the sushi department. In fact the last two visits i was at sushi hiro i thought the standard had fallen slightly (might have been the younger chef making the sushi) but even then it was still cheaper then any of the others on my list above.

The only problem with sushi hiro might be that it is too authentic japanese it really lacks atmosphere but then maybe that just focus your attention to the food?

akiko you mentions sushi say do really good ice cream? what flavour do they have?? as i'm looking for a place that serve wasabi ice cream!! :D

"so tell me how do you bone a chicken?"

"tastes so good makes you want to slap your mamma!!"

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Thank you thank you thank you -

just returned from Sushi Hiro and an excellent and mind-bogglingly cheap meal. £36.50 for two - and we ordered a large amount of food. Given it was Sunday, and the fish at least a day old, it was by far the best I've had over here. I can't wait to try it when it's straight off the boat.

It's not quite the sublime experience of the top places in LA (Sasubune, Nozawa etc - although the decor was far fancier in Hiro), but a definite recomendation.

I'm not sure it's worth comparing with Nobu - they're such different beasts.

We had the largest selection of sushi (at only 12 quid!), plus a chef's selection of sashimi, and three more orders of toro, one yellowtail, and a tuna roll (six pieces).

The toro (labled tuna belly on the menu) - which at its best rivals any mouthful of white truffle in my estimation - was only a fraction below the best I've had. Notable was the mackeral (sublime, tender and perfumed, not rubbery and over-strong), and the squid (which had the texture of scallop, amazingly). The eel was the best I've had (including the LA places). And the salmon, much fresher than the stuff you find in LA (apologies for my limited experience in all this).

The other customers were all Japanese families. This is just the sort of place I'd steal away to if I lived any closer, and I might do anyway.

"Gimme a pig's foot, and a bottle of beer..." Bessie Smith

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yeah sushi hiro is pretty much the best on the quality/price ratio.

btw there is a japanese fishmonger just a mile from sushi hiro called





they got another branch in north finchely,

they supply nobu with their sashimi :biggrin:

if you ever feel like making your own sushi go there

although i swear that the fish in sushi hiro is still better!!

:huh: *i don't understand!*

"so tell me how do you bone a chicken?"

"tastes so good makes you want to slap your mamma!!"

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The best sushi I have had in London has been at Kikuchi in Hanway St (round the corner from Hakkasan).

I can't supply any international comparisons but, for my money (quite a lot of my money actually...) it was sight better than I had a Nobu.

I was introduced to it by a friend who works for Sumitomo and whose years living in Japan make in far more qualified than me ( I don't know my arse from my ebi...). At this point I could also say that the clientelle is almost exclusively Japanese. I could point to this as an indication of quality, but on the other hand Little Chef has an almost exclusively British clientelle and that doesn't exactly make it Gary Rhodes now, does it ?

I would be interested to hear if anyone else has tried Kikuchi and is able to make a comparison with some of the other places mentioned in this thread.

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Cafe Japan (Finchley Rd, nearest tube Golders Green) is my local Japanese, and the unaju there is the finest I have tried so far.

Black cod in miso for a third of the price of Nobu - what more can you ask for?

I find their chirashi a good deal as well - Lunchtime weekends it's just a tenner.

The only problem is their very short opening hours - 6-10 Wednesday to Sunday, plus 12-2 Saturdays and Sundays.

It's better than Ikkyu and cheaper than Kikuchi. I haven't yet tried Sushi Say or Defune, so I can't compare, but Cafe Japan has been voted best Japanese restaurant in London for years.

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akiko you mentions sushi say do really good ice cream? what flavour do they have?? as i'm looking for a place that serve wasabi ice cream!! :D

Origamicrane, then you are in luck! They serve wasabi ice cream, along with the best coffee ice cream I have ever had. And... green tea, sesame, I think the requisite azuki is also on the menu...

They are homemade so I believe the menu might change but I'm willing to bet any ice cream they make is unusual and delicious.

Origami, I will have to get to Cafe Japan... our taste in Japanese restaurants in London is very similar. I too agree that Sushi Hiro is Heads above any other sushi here in London and like Matsuri for traditional Japanese foods (they do agemono so well!).

Have you been to Tsunami?

would be interested to hear if anyone else has tried Kikuchi and is able to make a comparison with some of the other places mentioned in this thread

Gareth, I've been. The sushi is not as good as Sushi Hiro, nor is it as good at Sushisay. Kikuchi's is a decent all rounder. But if it was sushi that I was after, I would go somewhere else first. Then again I haven't been back there in a year so it may have changed!

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do you have to book at sushi say? is there anything else of note in ealing?

i don't think i posted this before, but i went back to tsunami a couple of weeks ago and the food was great although the service was a bit stretched.

the oyster platter, as ever, was amazing and we had some spicy tuna rolls. the hot pot was less good, i think it was beef. this is one of those places where keeping your eyes open and asking what other people are having is very useful...i saw a really interesting scallop dish that looked like it had its own brazier served with it.

i can't comment on the sashimi, but i am going to try to go there or sushi say over the bank holiday so i will report back.

Suzi Edwards aka "Tarka"

"the only thing larger than her bum is her ego"

Blogito ergo sum

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think i will have to make a beeline to sushi say for the wasabi ice cream haven't had that since i was in hong kong 4 years ago.

Have you been to Tsunami?


Nope haven't been to tsunami probably because its south of the river :raz: hehe

the question is, is it worth me driving pass sushi hiro to get to it? :cool:

is there anything else of note in ealing?


there a shopping centre in ealing broadway and quite a lot of restaurants in the area. Theres another two jap restaurants there one is called MOMO and the other i forget they both serve other food and not just sushi. Yeah Monday is generally a bad day for all things seafood unless you live by the coast.

"so tell me how do you bone a chicken?"

"tastes so good makes you want to slap your mamma!!"

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David, I empathise completely.

There's a little karaoke place (sorry, I've gone there so many times and still haven't got its name!) along Frith Street in Soho, diagonally opposite to Cafe Nero.

Mitsukoshi departmental store in Piccadally Circus also has a basement restaurant. I haven't tried the sushi there, but the grilled saba is to die for.

Otherwise, for more pedestrian fare, there's always plenty around (if you're not a visitor to London and have all the time in the world). But qualification: again, coming from a foodie country myself, I empathise completely with your sushi woes. If I'm just out for a quick lunch in Central London, and comparing like for like, Feng Sushi is definitely better quality for the same price than Yo! Sushi, Taro (Brewer St), Ten Ten Tei (Brewer St - don't go to Kili Kulu - I got a tummy ache there once), Gili Gulu (great deal for 12 pounds eat all you can conveyor belt - eat fast before your stomach connects to your brain!), Sukiyaki? (Regent St). Then there is also the Chelsea crowd: Nobu, Itsu et al.

Am definitely going to try all those places you guys have listed here!! One by one... Thanx! -AL

Fresh from London. Eating as always.


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I love sushi.

& I am here on an extended stay in London.

To date, my sushi experiences lead me to conclude that London sushi places have no actual concept of what they are trying to do.

The quality is low, the pieces are small, the prices are high.

I first tried Itsu in chelsea, well enough recommended by Time Out. By the time I left, I was practically laughing it was so far off the mark.

Zuma I just tried last Friday on strong recommendation from the Economist. Very medium quality, very small portions. The sake (drink not salmon) was good. The grill did pretty respectable grilled sea bass. But why would I go there again?

Other small places I have tried have not left me impressed.

I'm looking for quality at reasonable prices. With an actual sushi bar - forget the converyor belt approach! I'm not looking for quality at mega prices (hard though this is in London)

Ok, to be fair, I've spent 6 months in Japan and at home in Portland Oregon have a fabulous local sushi place with a sushi chef from Kyoto, great quality, modest prices, etc.

But surely London can compete on the sushi front with Portland Oregon - or can it??

Other posters have made the pertinent point that London is not close to the sea and thus transportation costs for seafood are high (if you want high quality, fresh seafood at least).

Thus, it's an oxymoron to ask for cheap, quality sushi. It might be cheaper if you made it yourself (my Mum's makes better than restaurant quality sushi. A sushi chef she knew told her so).

Also, if you're accustomed to American style sushi, it would be foolish to look for the same in London or anywhere in the UK.

One last thing, what is quality? For me personally, it's authentic and fresh sushi. Such an eatery can be found by the number of Japanese dining. It ain't cheap but good things aren't.

If you really like sushi, perhaps it's something you'll have to eat less often than you did in Japan or the US.

My fave places for sushi in London were:

the tiny little place in Hampstead (Jinkichi)

the restaurant in Kentish Town (Asakusa)

the restauant off Piccadilly (Piccadilly Place?)

the restaurant on the other side of the road of Finchley Road tube (wakaba)

It's been a few years since I left the UK for the US so I can't remember all the names.

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