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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Written by Niamh
Cooking and travelling, and sharing it all with you.