Sushi lovers know quality when they taste it. Good sushi is unlike any other dish in the world – bitingly fresh, it should melt in your mouth, pinging off every taste bud.
The purists will argue that it is impossible to get authentic sushi anywhere outside of Japan. But there is an avid sushi scene in London, which has attracted some of the best sushi chefs in the world.
First of all, avoid all the all-you-can-eat restaurants. Sushi is expensive because it is fresh. If you are paying £15 for a buffet meal you can guarantee that there will be a catch. Either the sushi on offer will be rice-heavy, or it will be a cheap replica of the real thing. This isn’t for you.
It is also a good idea to steer clear of the sushi chain stores. While most (such as Abocado and Wasabi) use only fresh ingredients and handmade pieces, for the real sushi lover they are limited in their offerings. Tuna, salmon and prawn feature in almost every dish, while the fast-food culture of these places means that presentation is sacrificed.
So now that you know where not to go, here are our three top picks for the best sushi experiences in London.
Hidden away off the side streets of Hatton Garden (London’s diamond district), this place is not easy to find. It doesn’t advertise, there is no flashy sign outside the door and they don’t take reservations.
The décor is pretty sparse, with lots of long tables and a few private cubicles downstairs. But the food… it is out of this world.
Think incredibly fresh sashimi, melt in your mouth katsu, and the best soft shell crab you’ll ever taste.
Prices are reasonable too, and there is even a modest beer and wine list.
Since it opened in 2012, there has been a permanent queue outside SushiSamba in London’s Heron Tower. The location is divine with views all over London, but it is the food that keeps people coming back.
Combining Japanese, Brazilian and Peruvian cuisine, this is sushi dining with a twist. Try the Samba London Roll, a piece of sushi art made out of crab, tuna, salmon, yellowtail, prawn, scallop, beef and avocado, which combines the flavours of Peru and Japan in one incredible bite.
Booking is essential, and make sure you take time to enjoy a cocktail on the roof terrace before you dine.
The original and the best; Nobu was one of the first restaurants in London to offer a high end sushi experience when it arrived in 1997. Nearly 20 years on, a second branch has been opened on Berkeley Street and both restaurants have become firm favourites with the London foodie set.
The black cod miso is legendary, but the toro tartare and other fresh sushi dishes are unlike any other Japanese cuisine in the city.
Book well in advance and dress up for your meal – this is one of the most exclusive restaurants in London.