The discovery of Sushi Shop has made me very happy, although slightly annoyed at myself that I’ve wasted so many years on mediocre rolls and nigiri from certain high street chains. I’m a great fan of sushi, but I’ve inevitably picked it up as a meal on the go, or a vaguely healthy snack, and so become used to slightly stodgy rice and an overpowering taste of soy.
Which is why Sushi Shop is so exciting. Started in Paris in 1998 by two Frenchmen who had fallen in love with the Japanese delicacy, Sushi Shop stood alone in the French capital. It positioned itself as a casual sushi restaurant and delivery service, somewhere to enjoy innovative, well considered flavours which married French and Japanese cultures, without the high prices of the top end Japanese restaurants. And the chain’s offering remains the same today.
Sushi Shop is now in 14 countries across Europe, but the tradition which started in the year the brand was founded, of inviting a notable chef to develop a sushi menu inspired by the chef’s own style, lives on. The latest to be invited to the celebrated list which features, among others, Thierry Marx and Joël Robuchon, is Kei Kobayashi, who was awarded his first Michelin star in 2012.
In a lovely piece of symmetry, Kobayashi is a Japanese chef who fell for French cuisine, and his menu, from which my favourites were a spicy Gyū Special Roll, Salmon Gravalax Roll and a Red Miso Cucumber Salad, is filled with the complexities found in French cooking, but balanced with the freshness which comes from the vegetables that Kobayashi loves to use. As Kobayashi himself explains,
“The challenge of reinterpreting sushi for a Japanese chef who works in the French tradition is both stimulating and a big risk, for me and for Sushi Shop. I had to detach myself from what I have always known in order to reinvent new recipes.”
I’m happy to say the risk has paid off. The prices might sit slightly higher than the aforementioned sushi chains that have become so familiar to London streets, but it’s a cost well worth paying. Sushi Shop offers a new kind of taste sensation, and makes high quality, freshly produced fusion cooking readily accessible – I recommend you try for yourself as soon as you can.
Sushi Shop has three outlets in London, in South Kensington, Marylebone and Notting Hill. Deliveries can also be ordered via the Sushi Shop App.
More information can be found online here.
Written by Lucy Freedman.