IN PRAISE OF TOMOE
So I revisited for lunch having been mighty impressed by an initial dinnertime experience. And it was even better than the first time around. Once again downstairs at the sushi counter and ordered 10 pieces of nigiri, a special of sauteed iberico pork and a small pitcher of sake. All the sushi (fatty tuna, scallop, yellowtail, sea bass, shad, mackerel, squid, orange clam, sea eel) was high quality and the scallop (hotate) from Aomori (northern Japan) was fabulous, sweet, succulent and accomplishing the proverbial melt in the mouth. Pork was served with a green salad and a dab of yuzu kosho, a delicious Japanese spicy paste served as an accompaniment to cooked fish and meat (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yuzu). Sushi chefs chatty and warm recommending sushi specials, answering my questions etc. Waitstaff equally good and gracious. I got served a special shoyu which I assume has been fermented for longer or blended (or both) and hence more flavoursome. Ginger (gari) superior. Wasabi not fresh but higher grade powdered producing a grainy effect similar to the real thing. Sake fine and a good selection by the bottle with monthly specials. Price = 30 pounds (+ 3 service). On the basis that the pork dish was 4.95 and the sake I'm guessing 4-5 pounds, that means that the sushi was 20 pounds for 10 pieces which for the quality involved is outstanding value.
I haven't been everywhere but for me this is the best sushi I've encountered in London to date.
TOMOE SUSHI, SAKE BAR AND JAPANESE TAPAS
62 MARYLEBONE LANE
I went to Tomoe yesterday for lunch, and the sushi was as good as everyone has said. I ordered unagi, fatty tuna, scallop, yellowtail, salmon and sea urchin. The sea urchin wasn't on the menu, but I asked as I had seen it mentioned on blogs. I have to say that the service was a little chilly, but I did come in to the later end of lunch (at 2pm, and their last orders are 2:30) so I can't blame them for that.
The soft shell crab roll was delicious, but quite honestly the fresh fish is what you should be ordering. I don't think it was as reasonably priced as some blog posts have suggested - basically, expect to pay for such great sushi. I would really prefer for the bill to be itemised, though - as I ordered sushi that wasn't on the menu, it would have been nice to have it clearly labeled as I didn't really know what I was paying for. It was more my fault for not enquiring, as I'm sure the bill would have been explained.
One piece each of scallop, oh-toro, sea urchin, eel, yellowtail sushi, two pieces of salmon sushi, one order of the soft-shell crab roll and a glass of umeshu came out to £33. It was delicious and I would definitely go again and try to explore some of the specials.
I'm a new convert - I went just last week for an anniversary lunch!
We stuffed ourselves silly with a classic tonkatsu set, tempura udon, a deluxe sashimi set, and five individual nigiri of tobiko (flying fish roe), unagi (kabayaki eel), hotate (scallop), chu-toro (medium fatty tuna) and o-toro (super-fatty tuna), as well as a portion of tsukemono (Japanese pickles).
Everything was super-delicious!
Glad to see that people are still discovering and enjoying Tomoe. I go there less regularly than before but based on my visit a few weeks back, and in spite of raised prices and less charming service, it remains a worthwhile option. In particular the raw scallops remain ne plus ultra, I haven't tasted better even on my visits to Japan.
I've commented extensively on other Japanese options in London, a couple of newcomers from recent months that are worth knowing about and haven't been mentioned on the board so far:
* Atari Ya Sushi Bar, 31 Vivian Avenue, Hendon Central. The latest offering from the T&S Enterprise/Atari Ya group. Similar (but more extensive) menu to the James St takeout sushi bar - this is a proper sit down + eat in sushi bar. Beyond the good grade sushi for sensible prices, they have a selection of appetisers, salads, cooked items. The seafood salad (very lightly seared 2xscallops atop spider crab white meat and avocado chunks) is delicious and a bargain £6. I want to try the Iberico pork dishes as well as the chawanmushi but these are evening only items and I have only been for lunch so far. Better than average sake selection too, I recommend the Nanbu Bijin.
* Suzu, 53 Charlotte Street. A sushi shop/curry house opened up by Makiko, the lady who used to run the sushi counter in Selfridges (pre amalgamation with the woeful Yo Sushi). Reminds me of Tsuru but is a less designed space (no bad thing). They serve a home made, slow cooked curry as well as a selection of sushi/sashimi and other cold/hot items. Quality is high, prices are regular. Curry probably not quite as good as Tsuru's, however sushi is superior and made to order. Good concept and very likeable/knowledgeable owners, I hope that they roll out more sites and outshine ersatz chains like Samurai, Wasabi, Yo and Itsu.
Thanks oonth for recommending the Atari Ya Sushi Bar in Vivian Avenue. Just so impressed with the quality and the prices when compared to City/West End places.
Adored the seaweed salad.
Two people can eat very well for under £40 (with no alcoholic beverages)
This has come at a time in my life when I have to visit Hendon once a week. Now I will incorporate a visit to the Atari Ya Sushi Bar.
Anything else good happening in Hendon?
Loobcom, glad that you enjoyed Atari Ya Sushi Cafe and thanks for reporting back. I'm heading there on Sunday evening and will get the chance to try some of the evening only items which I'm looking forward to.
Can't help with other recs in Hendon I'm afraid as it's not an area I know well. Seems quite non-descript and residential although ethnically quite strongly Jewish and Indian, there may be one or two worthwhile options, let me know if you find anything notable.
Let me know if you find anything notable too because I lived there for 18 years without finding a single thing worth eating, except for the occasional bagel (which are better in Golders Green).
There were a couple of Afghan places that I never got to try though, that might be worth checking out. There's a mosque in West Hendon and on Fridays the guys who go there usually pack out the nearby Afghan cafes. Might be good.