Tsukiji Sushi Mayfair
37 Conduit St, Mayfair, London, W1S 2YF
The Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo is a high energy and to the outsider a chaotic place, like Billingsgate on steroids. If you’re not careful you will be run down by one of the porters driving a forklift laden with fish at high-speed. You have the feeling that you’re a bit player in a high-speed piscine virtual reality game with the prize being one of the huge tuna being sold off in the early morning auction.
In comparison Tsukiji Sushi restaurant in The elegant Westbury hotel in Mayfair is an oasis of calm and beauty. With only twenty covers and an intimate red wood interior there’s an air of tranquility that insulates you from the high-end blandishments of Bond St. Maybe you shouldn’t buy those ridiculous £500 pair of heels that seemed so attractively cutting-edge in the shop?…
Malaysian head chef Show Choong creates a new menu each season highlighting organic ingredients. Having been invited to review it’s important to follow the primary food blogger’s commandment which reads “Thou shalt not take the piss with the ordering.” However in the interests of full disclosure you need to know about the £395 (for 2 people sharing) Kyodosakusei menu – 7 courses of top-end ingredient deliciousness accompanied by lashings of Dom Perignon 2006. However we were in no way hard done by opting for the Tasting Menu at £65 each and at £95 with matched sake.
Our first course was a plate of Buna Shimeji- grilled beech mushrooms with a subtle woody flavour enlivened by a piquant green sauce. We drank a floral Cherry Bouquet Sake Ginjo from the Dewazakura Brewery with pear, melon and red cherry notes.
Hamachi Usuzukuri – Yuzu Ponzu, was a clean-tasting minimalist plate of thin slices of yellowtail garnished with chilli, radish and spring onion.
We moved on to a mild dry Northern skies sake from the Akita Brewery with ripe peach notes. It was a great match with the rich, fatty tuna belly – Tataki Chu Toro with a Jalapeño salsa. It had a luscious mouth feel and was a real contrast to the previous dish. The next plate, an Octopus Carpaccio – with fennel, radish and a truffle mustard miso dressing – was a wonderful dialogue between the cool crunch of the fennel and radish and the bite of the dressing.
Black Dragon sake Junmai Ginjo- Kokuryu was described by the charming sake sommelier as dry, rich and welcoming which sounds like David Niven on a date. Can a sake be welcoming? I don’t know but it tasted good.
Yellowtail Maki roll with a spicy Jalapeño sauce had an unexpectedly crunchy outer layer of deep-fried rice adding a textural twist.
Moving onto our final sake, Fair Maiden Daiginjo- Hoyo, from Uchigasaki Brewery. With milk chocolate and wild mushroom on the nose and liquorice and star anise on the palate this was a complex sake that sat well with the restrained deliciousness of the Black Cod dish with its sweet Saikyo miso sauce.
Reaching this point in the meal I realised that I was still hungry but then the sushi cavalry arrived…Our final savoury plate contained five kinds of Nigiri Sushi – the Chef’s choice – with a delicately fragrant miso soup. Tuna, butterfish, snow crab, scallop and salmon were all beautifully prepared and really fresh with that simplicity of approach that marks out top-quality sushi.
With a final glass of luscious Plum wine arriving it was time for dessert. Green tea ice-cream came with a chocolate ripple and raspberry compote dominated by the raspberry. It was unexpectedly lovely.
A creamy citrus Yuzu sorbet with white chocolate and miso granola rice paper was the perfect end to the meal. Not too sweet and with a hint of salty-sweet crunch from the granola.
Top quality sushi is a rare treat and it was a pleasure to watch the chef plying his trade. Whether you’re a Mayfair regular or are looking for a special treat Tsukiji Sushi is worth a visit. It’s the opposite to the louder Nikkei-style places with the emphasis being on simplicity and quality. I just need to find someone to treat me to the Kyodosakusei menu now…
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