We were informed that Sakana-tei was a destination restaurant for Japanese types in London. This we took as a good sign. Indeed, the blackboards listing specials covered in Japanese script with no translation showed the clientele they were catering to.
They did have menus in English; they seemed to have a lot of chef’s or seasonal specials with no hint of how much one was going to pay. I suppose this would be acceptable if you had been before and knew what to expect, but for a neophyte visitor it was a touch impenetrable.
We ordered a couple of starters. Raw octopus was very chewy and I didn’t really go for the slimy texture. It was in some water with pickled cucumber and seaweed, both of these were nicer than the octopus.
Our second starter was some skewers of grilled chicken. This was a real success; the chicken was bursting with flavour and the sauce they had been marinated in was quite delicious. This perked me up no end after the weirdness of the octopus.
Finally, we get to sushi. We ordered a chef’s special; we were asked if we wanted six or eight pieces and chose eight. The highlights were an amazing piece of eel, some great tuna, lovely bonito and a fantastic scallop offering. The wasabi levels were a bit inconsistent in these, but not enough to ruin the experience. All of the pieces ranked as serious sushi.
Overall, this ranks as the best sushi we’ve had in London. It is not surprising that this restaurant was packed with Japanese people, as it was serving top-quality sushi that must be a taste of home. At £82 for the entire meal, including a few beers, you just cannot go wrong. Next time I’d like to try sitting at the sushi bar, but I’d just be happy to visit again and have some top quality fish. No slimy octopus, please.
Contact details: Sakana-tei, 11 Maddox Street, London W1S 2QF 0871 0757855.