Trip inspirationblog.categories.food-&-drink
Matthew Pearson

Best Sushi in London

An article on the places serving the best sushi in London, starring...

  • An ultra exclusive place
  • A vegan place
  • A far-out fusion place
  • And much more

This is an article about the places to get the best sushi in London. It’s hard to read (or write) such an article that is totally free of puns. Puns on Japanese cuisine. On sushi. On fish. Sometimes just the sea. But that’s not going to be the case with this article, you have my word. No Japanese food puns here. No sushi puns or fish puns. Not even a little one. No ‘there’s nothing fishy about this place’. Not even a ‘There’s lots of good fins about this place’. No, no, no. If you catch me doing a ‘this sushi place is on a roll’, you have permission to serve me raw with a dipping bowl of soy sauce and a little pile of pickled ginger. No fish puns. Even if they’re quite good. But, if on the off chance that one does worm - No! Not a fish pun...though they are used as bait sometimes. It’s not a clear enough reference - if, on the off chance that one does worm its way through, then miso sorry. With this small list, we’ve tried to show the range of restaurants serving the best sushi in London. Some upmarket, some notably more affordable. Some purist, some anything but. But all serving excellent sushi in the capital.

The One You Have to Look Into Booking Now...Right Now One

Sushi Tetsu, a tiny Clerkenwell sushi place, is pretty exclusive. It’s only got seven seats and the booking process (see below), means you’ll have to be on the ball to book a table here. But it’s got to be on this list of the best sushi in London. It’s a special place. It looks like a hidden gem down a side street in an affluent Tokyo suburb. The freshness of the fish, the attention to detail, the atmosphere: all do nothing to contradict this. During your time in the restaurant, you might as well not be in Clerkenwell, City of London. Such is the power of authentic cooking and food-inspired reverie. The best thing to do is leave your evening in the hands of chef Toru Takahashi by ordering from the omakase menu. Omakase means ‘entrusting the chef’. He’s got an illustrious sushi background, he knows what fish is freshest and he’s got one of the best sushi restaurants in Europe...yeah, probably best to let him do the ordering. It’s pricey, but the flawlessly seasoned and prepared sushi and sashimi are worth it. Right, so how do you get a table at the place doing possibly the best sushi in London? Well, they only take bookings over the phone. The reservation phone line is only open on Mondays. You can only book reservations for the following week. The phone lines open at 11am and close at 2pm. Tables are usually all gone by 2pm. So, what are you doing at 11am this Monday? We think we can guess. Before you call up, you can check availability here. Clerkenwell [caption id="attachment_4798" align="alignnone" width="1000"]

missportmanteau.com[/caption]

The One That’s Japanese, Peruvian and Brazilian All at Once One

Sushisamba isn’t fusion in the newfangled sense. Their blend of Japanese, Peruvian and Brazilian food culture wasn’t dreamt up in a kitchen by a chef looking for a new angle. Their fusion style is routed in tradition and history: in the early 20th century, thousands of Japanese emigrants move to South America to start up coffee plantations and make their millions. The Japanese folk who settled in larger cities brought their culture and classic dishes with them, and were influenced in turn by the food culture they found in places like Lima and Sao Paulo. And Sushisamba’s menu is borne from this enriching coming together of South America and Japan, with their iconic and inventive Samba Rolls stealing the show sushi-wise. The El Topo - salmon, jalapeño, shisho leaf, melted mozzarella and crispy onion - is perhaps their signature roll, but the menu is massive and worth poring over for a while. There will be some things you won’t recognise, like the Tiradito - a Peruvian ceviche with the fish cut in the shape of sashimi, covered in a spicy, citrusy sauce. Ask the staff: they should be able to tell you what the hell’s going on. Oh, and it’s located on the 38th floor of a modern tower near Liverpool Street. There’s quite a view. Liverpool Street [caption id="attachment_4799" align="alignnone" width="1000"]

sushisamba.com[/caption]

The One That’s a Vegan One

Sushisamba now offers a fully vegan menu, which is nice. Itadaki Zen is a fully vegan Japanese restaurant which, if you’re vegan, is nicer. Itadaki Zen is also 100% organic, which means it can proudly claim to be the first vegan and organic Japanese restaurant in all of Europe. The way they approach sushi from a vegan perspective is pretty magical. Their sushi rice recipe, use of oriental herbs and careful selection of wild vegetables make their sushi sets satisfying and interesting and refined. And their tempura vegetables are light, crisp and well-seasoned. Choose one of their set menus for a tour of all that’s great about this place. King’s Cross [caption id="attachment_4801" align="alignnone" width="1000"]

itadakizen-uk.com[/caption]

The One With the Tagline ‘Without Soy Sauce’ One

Actually it’s ‘Without soy sauce - but if you want to’. Yashin Sushi puts the right amount of soy sauce and other seasonings directly onto each piece of sushi, so you can be sure you’re tasting it as it was intended. Co-founder Shinya Ikeda got tired of seeing customers at previous restaurants dip their rice into soy sauce (rather than the fish) and covering up the flavour of the delicate fish with too much of the salty condiment. To really leave things in the hands of the chefs, take the omakase journey they set out for you. Yashin Sushi’s team are experts when it comes to selecting, storing and preparing their fish, so it’s a delight to let those who know take charge. They’re artful and inventive with their toppings too, with edible flowers, truffle, ume plum paste, parmesan and sun-dried tomatoes among the more left field choices. South Kensington [caption id="attachment_4802" align="alignnone" width="1000"]

yashinsushi.com[/caption]

That One That’s in a Japanese Food Hall One

The Japan Centre is a go-to place for Japanese produce and ingredients, with a great selection of thinly sliced meats and fresh seafood available alongside store cupboard musts like mirin rice wine, panko breadcrumbs and classic Japanese condiments. And their prepared sushi is worth a visit all on its own. It’s affordable, but fresh, flavoursome and very, very popular. Their set sushi boxes are generous and varied, meaning you won’t feel like you’re missing out on anything this trip, and you have plenty to look forward to on your next visit. Pull up a stool and eat at the long benches in store, or take your pickings away with you. Mix and match mochi and takoyaki (balls of batter filled with octopus and topped with bonito flakes) are both super popular options with regulars. Leicester Square and Westfield [caption id="attachment_4803" align="alignnone" width="1000"]

japancentre.com[/caption] That's your lot. If you've anything you'd like to add on the topic of the best sushi in London, fill out the comment box below. Prefer your fish battered? Have a look at this.

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