TAJIMA-TEI: ME, MAGDA and MAKI
Supper tonight with my ex, Magda
It's always a pleasure. Primarily, because she has the appetite of a small sparrow and consequently, I am left to finish off whatever is left. A task to which I have proved more than equal.
Tonight, after a swift Martini at Match EC1 ( both well made as ever. Mine with a twist, hers with two olives and a slick o brine ) we headed up to Leather Lane, a slightly grim St near Hatton Garden that runs between The Clerkenwell Rd and Holborn. There are a number of Japanese restaurants in this area. Primarily to serve a large ex pat community working in banks and legal firms. Matsuri is the best and best known but there are any number of others littering the side streets.
I almost never walk down Leather Lane, but did so the other night when a little early for my supper at The Trading House and came across Tajima-Tei. Peering in through the window, it was packed and so, I called in and booked a table for our supper for tonight. I am very glad we gave it a try.
When we arrived, it was, bar one table, empty. By the time we left, it was filling up, primarily with Japanese businessmen.
As mentioned before, I am no expert so forgive me if we ordered like rubes and did everything the wrong way. What the heck, people get very up themselves about the correct way to eat sushi. I love it, but in the end it is fish and rice. get over it. You can have too much of this "in Japan, they stand on one leg, grasp the nigiri between the second and third fingers of their left hand, dip it in blah blah blah"
Anyway, To begin, some hot sake and some edamame peas.
Then an assortment of Tempura. So often when I have this, the frying is greasy. Not so here. It was spot on. I could really eat plate after plate of this.
They had a number of specials and one of them sounded too good to miss. Seared bonito with shaved green onion, daikon, grated pickled garlic and fruity soy sauce. A great combination and at £8 very good value
We ordered three Nigiri, Toro, Unagi and Uni. The Uni was the weakest of the three. A far cry from the unctuousness of that at Yasuda, this was firm and slightly rubbery. The unagi though, was excellent quality.
Also, Maki of squid was very fresh if a little bland. Futomaki of Salmon and Salmon Skin was a little crude not that it stopped me polishing it all off when Magda was unable to eat any more.
With a bottle of sparkling water and a deserved service charge, the bill was £65 for two.
I would put Tajima-Tei at the level of a decent neighbourhood Sushi place in NYC. That is no bad thing as if there is one aspect of NYC that I really envy it is the ability to find sushi of good quality around every corner.
This is not quite around the corner, but, fortified by a Martini en route, I can certainly see myself going there again. Hopefully with Magda. I get to eat so much more.