Jon, our friend J and I arrived at Sushi of Shiori last week with high expectations. London Eater, who eats a lot of sushi, loved it so much he visited three times over a two-month period; Hollow Legs, never one to hold back if she dislikes a place, raved about her £50 omakase (chef’s choice) dinner there. And of course, pros, too, are fans.
We’d called ahead to ask for an omakase dinner for £40 a person. I was expecting mind-blowingly-fresh fish and a relaxed evening catching up with J, but when we left Sushi of Shiori two hours after we’d first arrived, I felt like both my expectations were half-met.
Sitting at the 3-person counter facing the chef, (who’s ex-Umu, if you hadn’t heard), the three of us found it mildly awkward carrying on a conversation. One of the differences between Sushi of Shiori and other sushi counters is that there’s nothing separating you from the sushi chef. It didn’t help that for the first 30 minutes or so, we were the only diners in the restaurant (there are five other seats, which isn’t much, but having even just two other people around can help the atmosphere).
A mouthful of delicate, sweet crabmeat was a good start.
Fragrant, umami-rich miso soup was possibly the best version I’ve ever tried. The chef’s wife, a one-woman front-of-house, told us the rice-krispy-looking garnish were deep-fried flowers. They added nice texture, but the soup would have been excellent even without them.
The sea bass sashimi was beautifully fanned out, peacock style, with each “feather” dotted with sticky plum sauce. We dipped each delicate slice of sashimi in a small bowl of ponzu sauce, which did its citrus refreshing thing. All very good, but the fish seemed to rely heavily on the sauces for flavor.
Highlights of the sashimi platter were the scallop and the prawn, both wonderfully sweet. Low point was the not-so-fatty tuna, which had been seared to the point of becoming a lukewarm cube of flavorless protein.
Rice-based nigiri and maki are usually my favorites at sushi restaurants. On the plus side, the rice was slightly warm, not too sticky, and a good balance of sweet and tart. The downside was that none of the fish was memorable.
The seared beef nigiri was very nice, topped with spring onion and a ponzu jelly.
And for dessert, the green tea ice cream with a crispy, nutty biscuit would’ve been a perfect end to our dinner sans mealy chestnut.
At around 9 pm, a wave of people arrived at the restaurant to order takeaway, which made me think Sushi of Shiori would be a *brilliant* place to order takeaway sushi. But for a transcendent sushi restaurant experience? Not so much. Maybe £40 a person wasn’t enough to experience fireworks, but I left Sushi of Shiori disappointed. High expectations are a bitch.
Sushi of Shiori, 144 Drummond Street, NW1 2PA; 020 7388 9962
- Click here to read a post about SaSa Sushi, a more everyday sushi place I frequent
- Click here to read a post about Chilli Cool, a Sichuan restaurant in the same(ish) neighborhood as Sushi of Shiori