I’m a bit of a princess regarding aesthetics especially when it comes to eating sushi in London. If i’m not getting attitude from a leggy russian receptionist, drinking a sake/hibiscus/yuzu based cocktail and pretending not to order rice, then I haven’t been afforded an authentic experience. When I arrived outside of Eat Tokyo’s unassuming Notting Hill branch a year ago, I was a little perplexed. A friend had told me that the sushi was some of the best in town and that I had to give it a go. Small and modestly attired with little wooden tables and photo menus encased in ancient plastic wallets, I was slightly suspicious of my friends sanity.
It was my experience here that shamed my sushi snobbism for good and from that moment I vowed not to be such a brat. The food here is not only excellent but also amazing value for money without a chippy door girl or clipboard in sight. I’ve been back many times since and the standard of food has been consistent. My only gripe is that the service can be very slow but be patient because it’s definitely worth the wait. Anything you order will be good but the hot dishes really excel. Here’s a round up of some of my favourite things.
All of the rolls are great but some are more interesting than others. I’m really into the crispy salmon skin variety but the dragon rolls and soft shell crab rolls are worth a try too. I’m sure many of you will take issue with the use of yuzu mayo here but quite frankly it’s delicious and works well with the salty skin.
I go really on and off sashimi and I blame Itsu entirely. I’ve had too many a slimy salmon chunk in my time to find many cuts that appeal but at Eat Tokyo, you’re in safe hands. The toro and o-toro are sublime with its soft and buttery texture being leagues above most similarly priced sashimi i’ve had the displeasure of eating before. I always get a portion of octopus and mackerel too but the yellowtail and scallop are equally delightful.
This formidable dish is what I keep coming back for. Not only is the portion enormous, but maddeningly it’s also a cut of salmon that is so often thrown away and thought of as cheap. I love it for its diversity. One mouthful will give you these amazing crispy and fatty parts and the next will be the juicy, sauce drench flakes you’d expect to find in a fillet. I like to get my money’s worth and find all the best parts at the end for my boyfriend until just the bones and the bad bits of skin are left. Order it with a bowl of rice to make the most of all the sauce and crispy parts left behind.
Mackerel definitely isn’t to everyone’s taste but for those who know that it’s actually the best fish in existence, this dish is for you. It’s light, meaty and incredibly fresh with piles of grated radish and spring onion that have been doused in a simple soy dressing. The mackerel is seared so it still has the bite and heartiness of it’s sashimi form without being quite as potent and fishy.
Another unmissable item on the menu is the braised pork belly. I always get excited when I see pork featured on a menu but have so often been disappointed – too dry or sporting a grizzly crackling. Eat Tokyo’s version is so tender you can divide it with a spoon whilst the spring onion give it a little kick of acidity and freshness. I think it sounds wrong to describe pork as creamy but that’s the only adjective I can muster to semi do it’s deliciousness justice. In short, it’s great and should be ordered.
Chicken liver yakitori
Uni (sea urchin) Nigiri
18 Hillgate Street
020 7792 9313
(There are also branches in Hammersmith, Holborn, Golders Green and Trafalgar Square)