Amongst many things in life, I really cannot get enough sushi and Japanese food in general. I thank my old college friend Andrew for this, who took me out for my first Japanese lunch in Chicago one Sunday afternoon in 1996. It became our little tradition and before you knew it, I knew all the names of all the fish in Japanese. I still get the occasional weekend hankering for sushi. Or well, weeknight hankering. Or well, okay okay, any time of the day hankering. Here’s where I’ve been eating sushi lately.
Oliver Maki, Soho: Hah! I spent £70 quid on lunch! £70 just for my food and drink! Hah. Heh. I don’t know how that happened. OK, I do know how that happened. SUSHI at a Bahraini/Kuwaiti restaurant in Soho and I am so not an oligarch. I liked the modern clean-lined space, and I liked how friendly the proprietor and waiter were. I liked the loos. And the origami chopstick holder. I also liked the sushi. But I really can’t go around London splashing out £70 on lunch all the time now, can I? (To be fair, this did include a small £15 sake and I may have over-ordered food-wise. Also, they did give me a free umbrella, which I prefer to think of as a £35 umbrella so maybe I just spent £35 on lunch.) The Verdict: Only for special occasions or when someone else is paying. (Get the Jewel Box!) Or when you need an umbrella to go with your meal. Or well, when I make the millions that I deserve.
Sakana Sushi: Aldgate East: In contrast, I’ve eaten at Sakana Sushi on Commercial Street a couple of times now and I always waddle out for £20. (It probably helps that they are BYOB, but still, even with a £15 tiny bottle of sake, that’s £35.) (Note Yelp says they are not BYOB so call and check. They were BYOB in November and December of last year.) This space is super tiny and super brightly lit, but the service is sweet and the menu is interesting and the prices are very easy on the wallet. Help a sister out and go eat there. Bring your friends. If I had any criticism, it’s that the lights are too bright. The Verdict: The prices are so right, it’s a no brainer.
Tajima-Tei, Leather Lane: Why have I not eaten here before?? This is the most Japanese-feeling Japanese place I’ve eaten at in a while. The staff do that Japanese greeting shouting thing when you enter and the lunch special list is super-long…a cornucopia of bento box and combo options. (I am a sucker for any combination of anything that arrives in small amounts.) I arrived early but by the time I left, the place was packed with local city workers, including many Japanese-speaking ones. The mackerel in my bento box was particular delicious. I quickly fell in love with the restaurant, the staff and the food and I will be back many times. The Verdict: Fun for everyone.