What could sound better than a popular Copenhagen restaurant bringing their Japanese Sushi brand to London? Sticks ‘n’ Sushi is set in the heart of Covent Garden and aims to bring a fun, vibrant menu of Japanese delights to its central London clientèle.
We enter in a literal whirlwind – Covent Garden is in the grip of a storm – and are welcomed in to a calm, beautifully designed space. We start with drinks – I order a Kamahi cocktail, a delicately balanced English twist on Japanese flavourings with mint, cucumber and elderflower.
The menu itself is varied and witty with set menus such as the Four Wheel Drive and Bankrupt depending on your appetite and budget. Sushi is paired on the menu with ‘sticks’ – skewers of grilled meat and vegetables. This means it is the perfect place for sushi lovers with awkward fish-phobic friends or partners.
Our sushi is brought first and I’m bowled over by the colour, variety and presentation that is placed before us. Expertly cut nigri, decadent makis, a delicious salmon carpaccio, and an alternative salad – rice paper wrapped around fresh leaves and duck with a goma dipping salad dressing. The sushi is delicious – it’s generously filled, well rolled, beautifully balanced and seasoned making it a real joy to eat. If you’re order à la carte I really recommend the decadent Yummy Rolls: Tempura shrimp, avocado, spicy sauce, sesame, tuna, tobiko, leeks, chevrill and black tobiko. Divine.
Just as we are beginning to get full and congratulate ourselves on our sushi demolition efforts, the sticks arrive. I enjoy fusion food and particularly enjoy the westernisation of exotic cuisine, and although the sticks were delicious I found it strange to move on to hot food after an extravagant helping of sushi.
For me, goat’s cheese will never seem an acceptable thing on a Japanese menu – however tasty it is. The sticks are great in theory but I’m not entirely convinced it works nestled up so closely in practice. Having said that, the tuna stick – tuna with chilli dip, teriyaki, chives, red onion and ginger – was so delicious that I would struggle to stop myself from ordering it again.
By the end of the mains I’m so full I think I couldn’t possibly manage dessert but when the taster style menu is shown to me I just can’t resist. I order the Four Tasters – a quadruplet of mini deserts and a Matcha tea. The tea is served at the table – to a paste, hot water is added and then stirred vigorously with a whisk until a frothy drink is created. It is so healthy and really quite delicious.
My Four Tasters are any pudding lover’s dream – white chocolate with sweet miso and popped rice (essentially a Japanese inspired Ferrero Rocher), a Matcha green tea ice cream with hard flakes of bitter sweet dark chocolate, a vanilla crème brulee and a chocolate fondant with caramel and hazelnut brittle. I’ve been told by many Asian restaurants over the years that pudding is not really a done thing but Sticks ‘n’ Sushi have got it right here marrying traditional Japanese’s deserts, flavours and textures with European ones.
By the end of the night the waiters and I are laughing together. I’m so full it feels like Christmas and I’m smiling ear to ear. Although I’m still not sure whether this is a fusion step too far, I’ve already plotted my next visit to Sticks ‘n’ Sushi. It’s the best sushi I’ve had in London in years and in an effortlessly designed comfortable venue that means I can’t wait to come back.
Sticks ‘n’ Sushi
11 Henrietta Street
Tel: 020 3141 8810