Hai Street Kitchen & Co, which opened in March in the beautiful surrounds of Leadenhall Market, might have won the top prize for unusual fusion cuisine in London. Inspired by the Sushilito chain in San Francisco, Hai Street combines surprisingly compatible Japanese and Mexican flavours to serve up something a bit different to Londoners.
Their signature lunch option is a sushi burrito, which is much more appealing than it sounds. According to manager Mark, the current trend (particularly in the US) is for ‘customisable’ food, so you order your food in the similar conveyor-belt style you see in Subway (minus the soggy bread and ‘steak’).
There’s a pretty good range of options for your main filling – fish katsu, pork belly, roasted carrot, pastrami salmon (I’m not sure what that is), and then you can choose from a wide range of sauces and fresh crunchy salad bits, with all the ingredients free from trans fats and MSG. If you don’t fancy the seaweed and rice wrap that surrounds the burrito you can have your lunch as a rice or salad bowl.
It was interesting to see how Hai Street’s influences have manifested. Some options, such as the jalapeno mayonnaise, are completely Mexican, whereas in some places they’ve really mixed up the two – the wasabi guacamole being a prime example.
I went for a fish katsu wrap with salad and tapatillo salsa, which was indeed prepared very quickly. The lettuce, onions and asparagus gave it a lovely crunchy texture, and it was very filling. They also whacked in a dollop of wasabi guacamole, which had a nice kick to it and was still guacamole-ish enough to go with the salsa. My only criticism would be that the taste and texture of the breadcrumbs on the fish katsu was slightly overpowering.
Perhaps I’m a little over cautious (and an incredibly messy eater), but when I’m deciding what to have for lunch I try to look for something that won’t end up all down my work clothes or enmeshed in my teeth. Luckily this is something Hai Street has considered. They give you your burrito wrapped in brown paper, then encased in a box, plus optional carrier bags, wet wipes and a knife and fork.
With wraps ranging from £3 to £8, and drinks and vegetable crisps available as an added extra, this is a fresh, unique lunch option for all you hungry people working in the city.
Hai Street Kitchen & Co
38 Leadenhall Market
Tel: 020 7283 0709