Sunday, July 16, 2006

Food: the quality of the food is in inverse relationship to the decor

I always wondered why people made such a fuss about Sashimi until I ate it at the Sydney Fish Market, carved straight off the tuna and onto the plate. Fresh fish has some sort of reaction to the soy and wassabe to produce a fizzy tingling feeling on your tongue. Later I was fishing with some guys from work and we found a squid that another group had been using for bait. It was very recently dead, so we ate some - same fizzy tingling feeling. (It was also a bit crunchy, but that was sand.)

The tuna on our sashimi plate at Asakusa had the last remnants of that same tingly feeling, meaning that its tuna was about as fresh as it can be in London. One of our friends noticed that the rice in one of her rolls hadn't quite cooled completely - a sushi no no - but an indicator of unbeatable freshness. The tempura was light and crisp, the gyoza were soft, fluffy and flavoursome with a crunchy bit on each side where they had been cooked, the grilled barbecued steak was wonderfully rare, a little short on flavour, but also about as fresh as it could be in London. All up, the food was superb.

The decor is hideous, but you will ignore it as soon as the food arrives. And, honestly, if the decor turns you off there will be plenty more to take your place, because at 6.30pm on a superbly sunny Saturday evening, we could only get a table in the downstairs overflow section, and we had to be out by eight.

265 Eversholt Street NW1 1BA
(near Mornington Crescent tube)
020 7388 8533 (after 4pm)
Enough superb sushi, sashimi, sushi rolls, grilled beef, teriyaki chicken, tempura, bottled water and green tea for four people: £65


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