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Sushi of Shiori

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Reviewed by The Wild Boar

I think we probably all have our own particular favourite for Japanese food which we’ll fall back on to satisfy that particular sushi-itch. Over the past month and a bit, we’ve tried Inamo, Atari-ya, Koya (twice), Dinings and now we’ve added Shiori of Sushi to the list.

Shiori of Sushi is tiny! With at most 9 seats (3 at the counter, 5 to 6 facing the store window), it looks more like a take-away store than a proper sit-in restaurant. The menu is also quite limited, with most of the items being either some form of sushi/sashimi or donburi (sashimi on top of bowls of rice). Still, a specialist sushi restaurant should serve some pretty good sushi eh.

We opted to go for the Omakase menu, whereby the chef essentially chose our menu depending on what produce he had to offer. It starts at £30 and I’m not sure what the ceiling actually is. After looking at Lizzie’s £50 menu and Kang’s £40 menu, we figured there wasn’t a huge difference and opted the £40 Omakase in an attempt to keep more money in my wallet.

Well, except that didn’t really work because the PigPig was enticed by the sake list and wanted some too. Sadly, we were complete noobs at sake but the waitress (there’s only one, they used to have someone else but she broke her legs -_-;;) was very helpful. She basically recommended them all as she chose them all herself but did pick out a couple and we ended up choosing the “Nanbu Bijin Gin Ginga (Iwate)” one as she said it was very light and easy to drink for beginners (that’s us alright).

Sushi of Shiori sake

We’re probably not the best people to comment on sake, but we enjoyed our choice as it was indeed very light, easily drinkable with a fresh almost bubbly feel to it. It was also nice that they sell sake by the carafes since I doubt the two of us could have finished a 70cl bottle.

Fried aji (scad). For the opening course, we started with some fried fish marinated in a tart vinegary sauce. The scad itself (never had it before this) was quite a meaty fish with a distinct but not overpowering fishy smell (apparently related to mackerel). I liked it as a starter and appreciated it visually but it didn’t rock my socks off.

Sushi of Shiori, London

Miso soup. Umm yeah it was miso soup. There was some seaweed and tofu skin.

Seabass usu zukuri with ponzu sauce.

Sushi of Shiori seabass with ponzu

Basically, it was seabass hand sliced so thinly (usu zukuri) you can see the pattern of the plate behind the fish with a little dollop of sourplum to set it alight. It also came with some home made ponzu sauce (normally made with vinegar and soya sauce, but chef added a trace of yuzu as well) which we added some fresh spring onion and spiced grated mooli (the stuff on the leaf beside the fish). It looks amazing, but tastes even better – the delicate seabass flavour was complimented quite well with the sour, slightly salty ponzu. I think I would have been happy enough eating it with just the sourplum, but the sourplum in addition to the ponzu was a bit wasted since the ponzu tastes very similar to the sourplum anyway.

Sushi of Shiori seabass

Sashimi platter. From 12 o’clock and moving clockwise, there is the scallops, scad, prawn, chu-toro. They source their seafood from Atari-ya so the quality and freshness is a given. The scallops were incredibly sweet and contained a little surprise dollop of truffle oil which is a new combination for me, but it worked oh so well. The scad felt a bit out of place amongst its more illustrious neighbours and it was easily the weakest link here; the firm meaty flesh with the distinct fishy taste was a counterpoint to the tastes of the other fish on the plate, but wasn’t a personal favourite.

Sushi of Shiori sashimi

The prawn at the bottom of the picture seemed half-cooked which I think brought out the sweetness of the meat while still giving that raw soft feel to the flesh. Lastly is the minced chu-toro with some spring onions mixed in, wrapped in seaweed and yuba (tofu skin). To be fair, I didn’t really taste the yuba but I didn’t really care when I can eat chu-toro. Ahh, to eat fatty tuna all day…

You may have noticed the various vegetable scattered about the plate, we were told it was deliberately placed for us to freshen our palate in between bites and not just to beautify the plate. It is still visually stunning though.

Sushi platter. The bottom row is a salmon and avocado hosomaki which was a nice simple little thing if not particularly amazing. The rice itself was really good, one of the better seasoned sushi rice I’ve had recently and nicely packed without being too dense.

Sushi of Shiori sushi platter

The middle row starting from the left is the squid (tad rubbery), unagi (felt a bit thin), Japanese chilli (a personal favourite of chef’s wife, it wasn’t spicy at all and had a nice smoky taste from the grill) and the last on the right is something I forgot about already but I don’t think it was anything too special.

The top row is far more interesting and starting from the left again is the chu-toro (on nom nom nom… excellent fatty tuna), salmon with salmon roe (it would have been a perfectly adequate if normal salmon sushi but adding the roe on top made it into a real treat for the mouth), yellowtail (the small addition of grated ginger gave it a little more freshness), surf clam (I think that was a little dot of sweet miso on top).

Sushi of Shiori sushi platter 2

Wagyu beef sushi with ponzu jelly. All the sushi before was really good, fresh, a joy to eat. But they saved the best for last. First you learn to make some really tasty and seasoned sushi rice. Then you get some wagyu beef, cook it just a little to leave the inside still pink and tender. How to bring out the taste some more? Some ponzu sauce then, since it’s a little sour, a little salty, that goes well with both beef and sushi rice. Hmm it’s gonna get soggy then, ok, lets make it into a jelly so it doesn’t make a wet mess. Finally, just a little bit of mildly spicy grated mooli and some spring onions to give it a fresh zing.

Sushi of Shiori wagyu beef

Can you imagine how it’ll taste like? I hope so, because altogether, this was a really amazing piece, a work of art for the mouth to savour.

Ice cream. Lastly, for dessert we get to pick any of the home made flavours they have available (green tea, sweet potato, pumpkin, black sesame and plum wine sorbet). We chose the first two options, both of which were really smooth and creamy. The green tea ice cream also came with a little red bean which always goes well with matcha flavour. The nutty biscuit was pretty good on its own but served its purpose for textures better.

Sushi of Shiori ice-cream

Altogether, we paid about £50 each excluding service charge, £40 for the omakase menu and another £10 each for the 300ml bottle of sake. Sadly, we didn’t get to sit at the counter but apparently the chef is great to watch in action. The store is exceedingly tiny but that is more than made up by the friendliness of chef’s wife who is definitely stretched at times between serving plates, taking orders and answering the phone.

Food – 7.5
Service – 6.0
Atmosphere – 4.0
Value – 5.0


Best sushi/sashimi in London? Yeah, probably.

Best bit: toss up between the scallop/truffle and the wagyu sushi.
Worst bit: I used the picture of the sashimi plate for my wallpaper, now I drool at my tv.

Sushi of Shiori
144 Drummond Street,
Off Hamstead Road,
London
NW1 2PA
Tel: +44(020) 7388 9962
Official website

Sushi of Shiori on Urbanspoon


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