The best restaurants, in my view, have the ability to envelop you completely in the culinary journey that they offer. So much so, that they act as a conduit to recollecting past visits to specific countries and are a true reflection of what that type of cuisine tastes like. Sushino En is definitely a place that fits that criteria.
Camera: Nikon D80, Nikkor 50mm lens
Today was brought to you by #nuffnanglunch, with big thanks to Jesse for making all this happen. Also, here is my quick list for Japanese Food (Survival Guide) if you need a quick refresher of what this cuisine is all about.
Entering Sushino En reminded me of an onsen (traditional Japanese baths), most likely because of the stone tiles – I assure you no one was naked (traditionally, at these baths, any sort of clothing isn’t really appropriate – even the towels that you have are too small to actually wear around you).
Yuzu syrup to start the meal, and then we were basically flooded with food. It felt a bit like the Witch’s cottage in Hansel and Gretel, I’m sure someone was trying to fatten us up. From buta no kakuni (pork belly), to agedashi tofu, sashimi, sushi rolls, tempura, the food just kept pilling up. It felt very appropriate that at the time there was a screening of Spirited Away with the scene when No-Face basically starts eating up the entire onsen.
Highlights of the meals include the agedashi tofu – great texture, slightly crispy on the outside due to being deep-friend, soft and, well, tofu like texture on the inside. The tempura was also excellent, still warm and the batter was crisp and fresh (often if you leave it out for too long or don’t make it well enough, it can be a bit mushy).
I’m not particularly fond of “California rolls” style sushi, as I am very particular about Japanese food being traditional. So that didn’t go incredibly well with me (mind you, I still ate it like I was a hungry barracuda), and there were some herbs or leaves on top that I had to keep taking off as they had a peculiar taste. Everything else, however, was top notch – and the dessert was a lovely take on the “classical” matcha ice-cream with an ice-cream filled mochi as well.
Overall, great, friendly staff, good Japanese food (that tasted the way it would in Japan – harder than you think to find in London) and definitely a little gem in the East. If you have watched Spirited Away, the whole experience felt a bit like when Chihiro’s parents start eating from that great feast that was meant for the kami (the gods) – it was plentiful and delicious, but luckily none of us were turned into pigs.