Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Sushi Say

Fresh off the back of my trip to Sushi Hiro, I visited Sushi Say in Willesden Green with a friend last weekend. I had read a few good reviews about this place, and given that although Sushi Hiro was a trek, it was one that I'm glad I made.

Being a bank holiday weekend, there were some travel difficulties. The whole of the Jubilee line being under maintenance, for example. Because of this, I had to get a train, then a tube, then another train and then a bus in order to get to Willesden Green. It took me almost 1.5 hours. I hoped it was worth it.

Upon arrival, the restaurant was nearly empty. There was a young family sat by the sushi counter, and two other tables were occupied. I sat down opposite my companion, who had a face resembling thunder. Apparently when he asked if we could sit at the sushi counter, the waitress told him that it was not for lunchtimes. And yet there was this family sitting there, happily munching away. If I'm honest, it put a little damner on my excited spirits.

The menu is vast. We opted for tempura soft shell crab, which was delicious. Not a hint of grease, light and fresh. We also ordered the top picture, a raw squid dish. My companion wasn't too sure of the texture but I loved it - slimy, slightly crunchy with a little heat from grated ginger and the umami of the nori seaweed. An excellent start. Some vegetables lightly poached in dashi stock cleansed the palate and were refreshing.

I also ordered an uni nigiri, only because I've never tried sea urchin before. This was perfectly tasty with that iodine tang that they're famous for, although I can't help thinking it would be more delicious scooping the orange roe straight from the shell in the sunny south of France with a glass of chilled rosé.




We both opted for the 'Maze Chirashi' set. This consisted of the 'Chef's Special Clear Soup' which was surprisingly flavoursome given it was completely clear. This accompanied a deep bowl of rice with raw fish which came already soy sauced. I was quite surprised when this turned up, as I had envisaged large pieces of sashimi adorning the rice, rather than the slivers and chunks. The use of diced fake crabsticks also confused me a bit; I'm not adverse to them, but they don't really scream high quality to me. I was impressed by the amount of tobiko, though. This was a filling dish. I finished all of mine like a good girl, but my companion struggled to do so.

To finish, we ordered a scoop of wasabi ice cream and a scoop of red bean ice cream. The wasabi ice cream was delightfully pungent, although after two or three mouthfuls I'd had enough. I did muse whether a lime and wasabi sorbet would be more appropriate.

All in all, a nice little place. The waiting staff telling us we couldn't sit at the counter whilst others could left a bit of a sour taste in our mouths, especially since they weren't busy. The food was lovely (£30 a head with a beer), but we left a little despondent.

Sushi Say

33B Walm Lane

Willesden, NW2 5SH

Tel: 020 8459 2971


Sushi-Say on Urbanspoon

11 comments:

Charmaine said...

Okay, that is true dedication to trek that far! How incredibly annoying that they wouldn't let you two sit at the counter... favouritism really irks me, as it seems clear that the family were perhaps regulars?

I'm not sure if you know, but chirashi sushi really is just bits and pieces of fish scattered on top of rice – my mom used to work in a Japanese restaurant and the staff always got to have a chirashi-don for lunch with the scraps the chefs had left over from carving up the nicer fillets of fish!

Chris said...

I'd forgotten about the crabsticks. Another reason for me to HATE them, the elitist bastards.

No, in all fairness, it wasn't too bad. But they need to sort out their seating policy....

Browners said...

What a trek for Bank Holiday Monday. Sorry to hear about the bad service and the "Mexican Standoff"...

The tempura looks awesome. You've made me crave it!

MsMarmitelover said...

Damn, I'd like to try that place, it's near me.

Helen said...

I'm interested to hear that the soft shell crab was enjoyable as I've never eaten one that tasted of anything apart from oil and batter. Perhaps I will start a quest to find the best soft shell crab in London. In fact, I will! Huzzah!

pigpigscorner said...

We went to Sushi-say again last Sunday cause I was craving for more sushi. Sorry to hear that they didn't let you sit at the counter. I wonder why.

a4 printers said...

I hope i could visit this place soon.. Thsy say their sushi is really great

Food Urchin said...

Not had much experience with japanese food but have been to Chisou where I tried their sea urchin, smell reminded me of rock pools and tasted delicious. Your review has inspired me to go out and try some more sushi restaurants, Willesden is a massive trek though.

Lizzie said...

Charmaine - Ah, thanks for the info. I didn't know that.

Browners - the tempura was very good. Which reminds me, I should make some soon...

Helen - I'd be happy to accompany you on your mission!

Food Urchin - If you're trekking, I'd head out to Sushi Hiro.

An American in London said...

You've reminded me I haven't been to Sushi Say in months, mostly because my friend who lived around Willesden Green has now moved to the southern (SW) climes. I know exactly what you mean about how seemingly-small service issues can ruin an otherwise tasty meal.

Helen Yuet Ling Pang said...

I remember finding it harder to choose which homemade ice creams to have than what sushi to eat! The flavours were so unusual for London, though in Japan the choices are overwhelming. My order of preference was red bean, green tea, wasabi, ginger, sesame and chestnut (I didn't have 6 scoops, but was with 2 other people!)