Age: A few years now. Well, six, fact.
Previous incarnation: The rather average Satuma, another sushi establishment, in fact.
Where exactly is it? Central Kentish Town, a moment from Clapton Craft.
So what goes on there? A year ago this sushi stalwart had something of a revamp. So we were curious whether the food offer had, in fact, been ramped up too.
Ah yes, the interior: Discuss. The refurb is pretty welcome. Now it’s all Mayfair-dark walls, hard tiles and counter seating, with low lights and a feel that’s way sexier than its previous vibe. The back room was neither laid for dinner nor lit appealingly on our visit, but the kitchen-facing counter is spot on. We weren’t, however, offered a chance to eat there.
What should I eat? There are now expensive tasting menus (at £38 and £58 per person) as well as the usual tasty rundown of gyoza, sashimi, nigiri, hand rolls, maki, noodles and grilled dishes. Chicken gyoza come soft-centred and lightly coated, while tuna tataki – maguro, the belly – is sliced wafer thin and dressed with spring onion: our fave dish, it transpired (although a slim portion at £9.50).
What else? Yakidori skewers were tastily charred, although the thigh was not as butter-soft as at, say, Dalston’s excellent Jidori. Salmon and avocado maki? Room temperature and pillow-soft. Black cod, our most expensive dish at £20, proved a slender cut too, but opaque and it flaked at the touch of a fork. On a nest of bamboo shoots, beans and vegetables, it barely needed the rice we ordered on a whim.
To drink? We stuck to beer, but there’s obviously sake by the small jug (or bigger, in fact).
Service and atmosphere? Just a touch aloof to start, growing much friendlier when we mentioned we hadn’t been in since the refurb. We were the only diners though on a Thursday night, peak-time, so the atmosphere wasn’t buzzy as we hoped. Throughout the meal a radio station blared out tacky hits, which doesn’t quite set the tone for a restaurant that’s now really quite upmarket and expensive.
Do say: “It’s the best Japanese restaurant in Kentish Town.”
Don’t say: “Where’s Asakusa?”
Main image: PR