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An Omakase Tasting Menu of Exceptional Class: Tsukiji Sushi Bar
September 26, 2017
The team behind The Westbury must have quite the contacts in the catering industry, having secured the likes of Alyn Williams and now head chef, Show Choong for their cosy Japanese sushi bar, Tsukiji that only sits twenty. The red wood furniture and white walls have a minimalist feel, although you are constantly distracted by the glass-bottomed floor that is filled with pebbles.
For once, you are glad it’s not another chef that boasts about using local produce. Chef Show Choong happily picks the best ingredients from all across the world and the best way to sample his intricate creations is to order the omakase tasting menu. I often think tasting menus are a lazy way for chef’s to only prep a certain amount of dishes to reduce waste and boost profit margins, but when it comes to Japanese cuisine, you really do have to trust the sushi master on knowing what are the freshest ingredients on the market for that day.
The first six courses are more amuse-bouche type dishes but contain some top-notch ingredients matched with stupendous sauces. The first course of buna shimeji had a slightly nutty flavour and firm texture and was paired with an herby green sauce that gave the dish a welcome acidity.
The next few dishes were exceptionally fresh sashimi courses: Hamachi came with a zingy, vibrant yuzu ponzu. Tataki Chu Toro was as buttery a tuna as I’ve tried in London and only marginally seared to retain its flavours. It was served with an appetising jalapeño salsa, which left us longing for more. Octopus carpaccio had a soft texture, which wasn’t overly chewy and the truffle mustard miso dressing should be bottled and sold in all premium supermarkets.
Oysters aren’t to everyone’s taste, but if restaurants serve more warm options like the version from Tsukiji with a creamy sauce and tobiko, then it might be a more popular dish with the British public.
If there was a weakness, I would say the unakyu maki should have bigger pieces of eel, because you could barely taste the flavours especially when it was served with an overpowering teriyaki sauce.
Thankfully, if you were worried about needing to cook more food when you returned home, the nigiri sushi and black cod main courses were far more sizeable courses. The sushi was immaculately prepared so that the fresh seafood played the starring role rather than an over-abundance of rice. Whether it was the salmon roe or the scallops, the provenance of the ingredients was of the highest order.
The texture of the black cod was so silky smooth, I had to ask the waitress where it came from. Their supply gets flown in fresh all the way from Japan and you can really tell; the tender, rich texture and flavour was unlike anything you will find in traditional London restaurants.
As traditional at a Japanese restaurant, the omakase menu was finished off with a delightful green tea ice cream with chocolate ripple and raspberry compote. For a small, unassuming Japanese restaurant like Tsukiji, their tasting menu definitely packs a mighty punch.
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