Sushi is not a special occasion food for me. I feel like it often. This is a problem in London, where finding a happy place somewhere between Nobu and Yo Sushi is a massive challenge. My first 7 sushi–eating years were spent in South Africa and left me with a totally warped sushi world-view. You can’t expect fresh quality fish at reasonable prices to be the norm when you stray too far from the ocean. Such luxuries are reserved for places like Sydney and Cape Town. Fact. So I’ve pretty much given up on Sushi in London. Unless it’s an occasion that merits an outing to a quality establishment like Dining’s, I tend to settle for a lunchtime box from Itsu.
Hence my excitement last week when a similarly discerning and sushi-loving friend announced she’d become a local at a little soosh spot on Lavender Hill. Her sister’s boyfriend happens to own the place and has adopted her (and her friends) as in-house tasters and atmosphere makers. Not that he needs much help. The menu offers a full range of yummy and beautifully crafted Sashimi, Nigiri and all the Makis as well as platter options in all the right combos. The lighting and décor are glowingly dark and Lost in Translation-esque.
The best part is the intimate service. So attentive was the sister’s boyfriend that a second complementary bottle of wine was on its way to us while we’d hardly dented the first. Naturally we had no intention of drinking it but the problem with the two of us is that we don’t have the best track record when it comes to Monday night outings. The last time I visited Lavender Hill with her saw us consume five Margueritas in way too quick succession while plotting our 3-phase guide to a surviving a break up. The result was a splitting Tuesday headache. So predictably for us, it only took a few more morsels of Uramaki before we were tucking into our second refreshing bottle of Sauvignon Blanc and had taken up work on the book again.
This place is a very welcome filler for London’s big sushi gap. £20 later we’d washed down a whole lot of top quality soosh, had way too much wine and a great night. If it wasn’t for my imminent move to New York (please God let there be quality sushi for non celebrities) the real appeal for me would be that they’ve got three more branches in Central and West London so no overland train journeys required for a quick fix. Oh Ukai, if only we’d been introduced sooner!