04 April 2014

Tokyo via Copenhagen

Last night, I had planned to go with a couple of friends to the Earlham Street Clubhouse for some '90s TV- and film-themed cocktails and pizzas. They told me I couldn't book for only three people, but I assumed that if we got there at 6.30, we might have to wait for just half an hour or so. In fact, there weren't any tables free, which would have been fine if there was a wait-list, some indication of how long the wait might be, or if any of the staff showed any interest in helping us to get a table ("we aren't a restaurant," one of them said when I asked why there wasn't a waiting list).

Instead, we walked down to Maiden Lane and after finding that the new branch of The Big Easy was, unsurprisingly, full, we headed hopefully into Sticks 'n' Sushi, a wonderful Japanese-Danish hybrid I've been wanting to try for a while. Contrary to the poor service we'd received earlier, the Sticks 'n' Sushi crew couldn't have been more accommodating, helping us to set up a table for the three of us near the bar.

As you might expect for a place that marries Scandinavian and Japanese culture, it was very stylish inside: all sleek, minimalist wood and dark interiors.

The menus are a little overwhelming and come with helpful pictures of the numerous, beautifully presented combinations of sushi and yakitori on offer. While we mulled over the food options, I ordered a Kamahi cocktail with sochu, mint, cucumber and elderflower, which was refreshing and delicious.

In the end, we all decided to share the Four Wheel Drive combo, which, for £69.50, was more than enough food for the three of us. The platter, when it arrived, spanned most of the length of our small table, and contained salmon, tuna and shrimp ngiri, various varieties of inside-out rolls, and some inari.

I hadn't tried inari (in the bottom-right of the two photos above) before, but they are essentially rice wrapped in a slightly sweet fried tofu. I don't normally like tofu, but it was really good — I'm glad I followed our waitress's advice by eating it last. In fact, all of the food tasted very fresh and the quality was great.

I wasn't expecting the dessert menu to be that great — I'm not really into Japanese puddings — but when I saw it, I was sorry that I was already way too full, because the various chocolate and caramel fondants, and four-piece dessert 'tasters' looked really good. Next time. I know I always say that, but they did look amazing.

Sticks 'n' Sushi. 11 Henrietta Street, London, WC2E 8PY (Tube: Covent Garden). Website. Twitter.

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