LAND OF CAL FUSION
Let me get this first line out of the way because it sounds, and is, impossibly wanky.
I just had lunch with my publishers. Told you. But, there you go, the good people of John Murray have taken a gamble that not one of the people I meet along the way on the rest of the EAT MY GLOBE trip will want to beat me to a lifeless pulp after spending elongated amounts of time in my company.
They have also decided that EAT MY GLOBE may just make a fun story that one or two of you saps, suckers and ne’er do wells may want to read at some point. Go figure.
Publication May 2009 and, don’t you fret, I shall be imbedding the ISBN as a subliminal message for the next year or so.
So, anyway, there I was having to think of a lunch location with the delightful Eleanor and Nikki. A place to ponder matters of literary import
“ of course, I think it is important that I retain my true voice, Eleanor. But, the real question is, will this book make me more likely to pull any decent sorts?”
That kind of stuff.
Kobe Jones seemed to meet the necessary criteria. Dark inside (no point scaring them at this early stage) Light food of the California ruins Japanese type and not far from their office.
If you weren’t looking for it, you would walk past it without a second glance. Hardly a good start for a new-ish place. If I am not mistaken, when I was a sales rep way back when, their entrance used to be the entrance to the car park under the YMCA which reeked with a piss & vomit perfume that stays in my mind to this day. Again, not a good start for a new place. A La Recherche Du Vom Perdu.
Still, once inside, the room is quite pleasing in a sub Hakkasan kind of way and the sweet front of house showed me to a booth while I waited for my new chums. Odd thing, the booths. The table did not seem to have been fitted an equal distance from the two seats so, while I was a good arms length away from the edge of the table my companions, would have to suck up huge gulps of air to squeeze into their space on the countering side.
So far, a bit of a hodge podge as my good mother used to say. So too, was the food.
You can’t ruin edamame beans. Buy ‘em frozen, steam ‘em, put too much salt on ‘em and whack them out for a £5. They got that bit bang on the money. Same with a bowl of miso which was suitably restorative for me as I tried to talk without hacking my guts up following a chest infection.
The rest was a mish mash of tired ingredients, poor execution and sloppy presentation.
An order of mixed vegetable and seafood tempura had far to thick a covering of batter which tasted more like a chip shop bag of scraps than the light bubbly magnificence of good Japanese frying.
Dragon Rolls and Spider Rolls were all a bit messy and fell apart between hand to mouth which I think, in Cal fusion Japanese leads to calls to “do a Mishima” The ingredients within were equally limp and we left most of them, even when Nikki joined us.
Nigri Sushi was better, with the fish being fresher and Hamachi and Uni both hitting the taste spot even if the plate was sloppily presented. The Unagi though was as mushy as a Catherine Cookson mini series.
Kobe Jones is an Australian enterprise, I think and has branches in Melbourne, Sydney and Bangkok as well as London. I am not sure if this level of sushi would pass muster there, but even here in relatively sushi rube London, it is a good few levels below what has become acceptable and it is little surprise that there were few other people in the place.
The service was lovely, which counts for a lot but not enough to make me rush back.
I was being treated to lunch, so don’t know what the final bill would have been. I am guessing too much.
A place as hard to find as Narnia with food of middling standard at top prices. It is not a heady mix for long term success.