49/52 – The Sushi Eatery in Soho
Okay, I have a confession to make. As much as I love (obsess over/ fantasise about/ crave) sushi, I’m sort of a wimp when it comes to the whole raw fish thing. I’ve just never enjoyed the texture of fish sushi or sashimi and always opt for chicken or veggie options! This means that good old Yo! Sushi has always been a pretty safe way for me to eat Japanese food – I can see exactly what I’m about to eat and there’s no scary incomprehensible menu or tiny expensive plates of exotic slimy things.
This in mind, I was still desperate to find a really authentic sushi restaurant where I could indulge my tastes for Japanese food. After extensive research I found a little place in Soho on the fringes of Chinatown. The Sushi Eatery had great reviews, and offers an ‘all-you-can-eat’ sushi option for under £20 per person – I was sold!
Chinatown and the surrounding area is swiftly becoming one of my favourite places in London – right next to Piccadilly Circus and on the way to fabulous Soho, it’s honestly a perfect place just to wander around in the evening, perhaps even heading over to Carnaby Street for some shopping (I loved this street – it definitely deserves its own blog post!)
Keep in mind that the Sushi Eatery opens at 6pm and when we arrived at ten minutes past (on a Wednesday), it had already started to fill up and people were being turned away by half past! There is a small upstairs area with a bar where the sushi and sashimi is made, and a slightly bigger downstairs area with lots of big tables and group sofas.
I asked right away for the ‘all-you-can-eat’ menu (I couldn’t resist) and the almost aggressively efficient waitress drilled us on the buffet procedure – eight items from the hot food menu (and no re-orders) and then six items from the sushi and sashimi menu (but you can re-order up to six times – a total of thirty six dishes if you can fit them in!) We were given little tick-list forms to fill out and I agonised over all of the delicious dishes before choosing a mix of tempura (vegetables, squid or prawns fried in batter – delicious!), teriyaki (beef and chicken – the chicken was so good!), chicken gyozas (similar to dumplings), breaded pork and steamed rice.
I found the sushi/sashimi options a little harder to choose, because there were lots of fish options, and of course Sashimi is just thick slices of raw fish – heaven for true sushi lovers but definitely something I was looking to avoid! In the end, I loved the vegetable maki, including avocado and cucumber, and the crispy salmon skin roll was incredible. The spicy tuna, although including a little of the dreaded raw fish (I truly am such a wimp!) was delicious and I was sad it was one of the ‘bonus dishes’ that you’re only allowed to order once! I wish I’d taken more photos but honestly I ate it all up pretty much as soon as it got to the table (;
The menu threatens a ‘charge for food wastage’, but I think this is just so that people don’t hugely over-order and then end up leaving lots of food. We ate all eight (!) of our hot dishes and were almost full (they’re not big portions but it makes a pretty substantial meal!) so we only ended up using two of our sushi/sashimi reorders, but it was still incredible value! To get that much fresh sushi and other dishes for such a great price was amazing, and it was nice not to have to feel stressed out about the bill while we were choosing different dishes and trying new things.
The service, although not excessively friendly, was polite and efficient, and the quality of the food was just amazing. I would recommend the Sapporo Japanese beer as an authentic but affordable option – and I read great reviews of their Sake (Japanese rice wine), so if anybody wants to come with me and try it – I’m in!
After dinner why not wander through the main street of Chinatown (currently lit up with beautiful lanterns!) and then through Soho onto Regent’s Street, or perhaps back towards Piccadilly Circus. You could always grab some bubble tea on your way as an after-dinner snack – but after all that sushi I’m not sure you’ll have any room!