Bad sushi, the sad balls of of rice you pass over in Boots, or see forever lapping the conveyer belt of shame in bad chain restaurants, is not something worth wasting your time on. But good sushi, with fish so fresh it melts in your mouth like butter, and rice which provides a perfect pillow for it to rest on, is always worth seeking out.
That doesn't mean it needs to cost the earth, which restaurants in London catering to both blow out special occasions and a quick meal where you have a hankering for some sashimi. To point you towards the best maki on the market we've rounded up the capital's best sushi restaurants right here.
Dōitashimashite! That's you're welcome, in case you were wondering.
Famous among London's in-crowd, this restaurant perched high up in the heavens of East London is a place people come for the spectacular views but stay for the mouth-watering sushi. Actually a mixture of Japanese, Brazilian and Peruvian food, the menu includes perfect shrimp and seasonal vegetable tempura and excellent ceviche and tiradito.
Tucked away on Islington's Chapel Market, Hot Stone feels like the hole in the wall in the backstreets of Tokyo which you have to know about to find. The restaurant offers an ordinary à la carte menu with a wide array of maki rolls, carpaccio and dishes seared on their eponymous hot stone. They have also recently begun a special Omakase with just three sittings each evening and 4 seats available. The 90 minutes 14 courses meal includes a selection of seafood and meat dishes made with seasonal vegetables.
One of London's swankier sushi spots, Roka is known for their serving robatayaki cuisine with a modern edge at their four outposts in the city. This means Japanese-style BBQ dishes like scallop skewers, cedar roast baby chicken and lamb chops, as well as your more classic fare like sushi and sashami on the menu too. Don't skip the dessert either, where dishes like the banoffee and tonka bean ice cream slice with fire roasted banana are on offer.
This cosy, dimly-lit Hampstead gem is all about the authentic sushi experience, from the perfect temperature sushi rice which you can get with the wasabi already applied under the fish, to the juicy yakatori skewers which are seared on the grill around which guests can sit. Larger plates, like noodles and rice bowls are also worth exploring once you've had your fill of sushi.
Carnaby Street's dining mecca Kingly Court is home to Oka Robata, a spot serving deliciously fresh sushi in a a relaxed environment. The jalapeño salmon rolls are a must, as is the red dragon roll which is filled with prawns in a panko crumb and topped with tuna tartare.
Sake no Hana
As one would expect from the Hakkasan Group, this Japanese restaurant located in St James' successfully combines brilliant service with striking futuristic design, with interior designed by esteemed Japanese architect Kengo Kuma. The signature dishes, like the Chilean seabass with a Champagne yuzu miso sauce, are worth trying and as for the drinks list, there's a notable selection of both saké and whisky.
A stone's throw from Regent Street, this modest joint is a great lunchtime spot to check out. From classic salmon sushi to the more innovative unagi maki special (avocado and fresh crabmeat rolled inside out with flying fish roe and topped with braised eel) the chef's at Chisou pride themselves on creating the finest sushi.
For the last decade, Nobu alumni Masaki Sugisaki and Keiji Fuku have been serving up mouth-watering Japanese tapas and sushi in the heart of Marylebone. Dinings is a less fussy affair, but brings their same level of quality to proceedings, with the wagyu beef nigiri topped with foie-gras and sweet soy proving a menu highlight.
Established in 1978 and employing only chefs trained in Japan, Kiku remains independent and family owned. Whether you're there for a classy business do or a romantic dinner, we recommend you indulge in glistening sushi and sashimi platters until you can no longer move.
This chain is big in Copenhagen and you can see why, its restaurants offering lively atmosphere but with enough space of your own to feel intimate. In London there's branches in Covent Garden, featuring a huge dining room and downstairs there's a sushi and yakitori bar, as well a high-ceilinged spot which is a neighbourhood favourite in Wimbledon Village. Our tip? Try the set menu for two which is made up of a selection of succulent skewered meats.
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