You’re a Londoner. As such, in addition to elevated stress levels, a knackered Oyster card and a penchant for moaning about property prices, medical testing will prove that three per cent of your overall body mass is comprised of sashimi-grade fish. Indeed it’s a little known fact that the London allowance wage increase is largely intended to facilitate a move from packaged sandwiches to sushi at lunchtimes, so you can return to your office feeling like you have truly had good midday fodder, dripping soy sauce from your chin as you inform your colleagues you were ‘healthy’.
But forget all that, because put simply – sushi is delicious. Thus it is no surprise that a range of chain sushi places now adorn our capital’s streets, but there are plenty of independents much more likely to offer an intriguing dining experience. However, sometimes in striving for ‘authenticity’ (or hiding behind it), they can be hit and miss. But fear not, if you live in north London or indeed fancy a wander, Café Japan is here to save you. Cleverly disguised with a dreary looking façade, inside it is a true masterpiece. A long counter filled with beautiful sashimi-grade fish awaits your eyeballs as you wander in, and the staff welcome you to modest tables or, as I would recommend, the counter where they prepare the fish in front of you.
Not a novel idea, I know, but you will soon see the true class of the chefs as they casually knock up a Californian roll like you would make a cup of tea. I must confess given they have no online menu I have forgotten exactly what the menu fully offers, but needless to say all the usual suspects are there such as sushi rolls, wraps, sashimi selections and vegetable accompaniments.
I have been a few times now, and every time it has been excellent. They have got the main ingredients just right: high quality fish, perfectly cooked rice, and fresh preparation. My favourites include the sashimi platter, and sushi filled with deep fried prawn and yellow tail tuna.
The atmosphere feels right too, with guests arriving to the happy chirps of one particularly enthusiastic member of staff, with a more silent and efficient glint in the eye of the chefs. Overall it puts many other sushi places to shame, and is well worth a trip if you feel the urge.
And yes, they do takeaway…
626 Finchley Road
Tel: 020 8455 6854