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Sushi Say

Erm, apologies for the absence. My life has been upside down for the last few weeks but it’s slowly normalising. My laptop broke, I killed the screen on my remaining camera (it doesn’t have a viewfinder), I’m half way through moving, I’ve moved out but not in anywhere yet, so I haven’t been cooking much as I haven’t had a kitchen and when I have had one it’s contents are in boxes. I have been eating out though and there’s one place in particular that I would like to blog about – Sushi Say as promised in my last post.

Sushi Say in Willesden has been on my list for a long time. I am terrible for going to places that are near me as I feel they will always be there but, Sabras proved that this is not always the case, so, I made sure we went when my sister and her fiancée were over. They had never eaten Japanese before and were a bit nervous, but, open to it. I gave my sister a mini-sushi-crash-course in Harrod’s that morning with some tuna nigiri and she refused at first but after one bite was hooked. So, after a heavy day circling the streets of London looking for the last minute wedding bits she needed, I was in need of some nourishment and definitely some sake!

Sushi Say has been recently refurbished, gone are all the set menus from the window, which previously looked untidy but eclectic. Not an issue for me, I am suspicious of things that are too tidy anyway! As we arrived, we passed the sushi counter, which was all reserved and were greeted warmly and guided to our table. We weren’t sure what we wanted to eat, I was tempted by the tempura soft shell crab and defintiely wanted to try the sashimi. We decided that we’d all get a different set menu and see how we fared. We asked for advice on the sake, it’s far from my specialist subject. Our hostess recommended a cold sake, it was excellent, really crisp & dry.

Now for the food, this may be dull if you’re really not into food, but then I’d have to question why you’re here in the first place ;)

So, the set menus that we had were the tempura menu, sashimi menu, sushi menu and sushi say menu. They ranged in price from approximately £24-35. We started with some garlic shoots in a sweet & thick miso paste/broth. It was divine. It looked almost like cucumber and was perfectly arranged and presented as Japanese food always is. I really didn’t know what to expect and was pleasantly surprised when it fell apart after my chopstick touched it. The bitter shoots were beautifully contrasted with the sweet miso. Next was a light broth with vegetables, mushrooms and tofu. Again, delicious. The broth was light and fragrant and the tofu had absorbed the flavours of it and the accoutrements.

Yakitori

At this point in the meal the sushi say set menu stepped into it’s own and the rest of us were jealous! A bubbling pot of savoury custard – chawanmushi – was brought to the table. Nestling within was a variety of savoury treats. I am told it was delicious. Next, for all of us came yakitori, one of my highlights of the meal. The chicken pieces were seperated by spring onion, the meat itself was succulent and moist and the skin crispy. I woke up craving it the next morning!

Next up, more joy for the sushi say menu recipient and more teasing for us. A main course tempura platter – a selection of vegetables and fish in a light batter. Very tasty, although, it might have been lighter. Finally, came our main courses. Sashimi for me, thickly but beautifully cut, it melted in the mouth. It goes without saying that the fish was super fresh. The sushi arrived for the sushi & sushi-say set menus, quite a large amount and I really couldn’t criticise it! The tempura was the same as received earlier.

Finally we all had a light fruit salad. At this point I could hardly move! Huge amounts of food had been consumed. It was such a lovely evening, the food was fantastic, really great value, and even though it was a Saturday, very relaxed and we were put under no pressure to rush or leave. Mr and Mrs Shimizu are fantastic hosts. There’s a dining area with tatami mats at the back, I plan to go back with some friends and eat there.

Rainer Becker puts this at number 3 in his top 5 sushi list in the Observer Food Monthly.

Sushi Say was nominated as one of Tatler’s Most Consistently Excellent Restaurants.

Dos Hermanos, despite being traumatised by the trip to Willesden, also thoroughly enjoyed their meal.

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I like food. I like to make food. Eat food. Photograph food. Write about food. Mainly in London but when I am lucky or organised further afield.

7 Comments

  1. I’ve had to bookmark this post as it is a great explanation of why I love Sushi-Say. I’ve lived local for a good 6 or 7 years now, regularly looked at the menu in the windows, but only tried it out in summer 2007 for the first time. Absolutely fantastic sushi and sashimi. As you say, the sashimi just melts in the mouth. Plus Mr and Mrs Shimizu is very helpful in explaining everything to those unfamiliar with the food on offer, without being in the slightest bit patronising. Well recommended!

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  2. Oh, it was Kay – you should check it out!

    Thanks Mark! I was there again just before xmas and it was, again, superb. This time we had the tempura softshell crab – divine, and some seafood dumplings with sushi and yakitori. I want it all again just thinking about it! It’s destined to become a regular favourite of mine, even now that I have moved out of the area.

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  3. oh wonderful review, and such luscious pictures! i’m missing sushi , residing in york we have an absence of sushi places. plus having travelled to various parts of the world where sushi actually comes from finding a decent sashimi inspired dish is hard to do. Picky, picky, picky springs to mind. Sushi Say looks amazing, and sounds equally lush too!

    i’ve a mind to book my train ride to london town now! Thanks eat like a girl, great blog! :-)

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  4. Hi Maz! Thanks! It’s a great spot, you should definitely try and get there. I need to go again soon myself. It’s always a treat to find a quality establishment like this. They’re so lovely too.

    Thanks for the lovely feedback too :-)

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  5. My boyfriend and I have just moved to London after living for three years in Tokyo and have been shocked by the price of sushi and Japanese food here and the lack of quality or authenticity. We went to Sushi Say for my birthday and got the Nigiri Set and we were very happy with it. The staff were speaking Japanese around us (such a good sign!) and were very pleasant. While the nigiri wasn’t as good as our fav place back in Tokyo we were still really happy with it and are excited to go back and try other food we’ve been craving. Their menu seems to cover a great range of food from sashimi to kutsudon (Japanese fast food heaven!).

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  6. Hi Erica, things are crazy here compared to Tokyo. I am delighted that you found Sushi Say though and enjoyed it. I love it there, I haven’t been in ages as I’ve moved to another part of London that is pretty far away. It’s well worth the trip though!

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