CHISOU: "NOT TOO BAD AT ALL" SUSHI IN THE WEST END
My friend, Nick put it perfectly
“It’s good, but it’s not brilliant. Then again, that word is reserved for very few places these days”
He is absolutely spot on. These days, “brilliant” is an all too rare exception and the hunt is for “perfectly fine” or “not bad at all”
Shameful given the amount we have to spend on a meal out in London but all too indicative in the shift of power in the quality:cost ratio as punters are gouged for increasingly little return.
On that basis, Chisou on Princes St is a real little treasure. Very decent food at not too stupid a price served by friendly staff, the perfect place for me to celebrate the anniversary of my trip to Japan at the beginning of EAT MY GLOBE.
Alongside set lunches, a la carte sushi/sashimi offerings and the usual smattering of fried dishes, were some of the Izakaya staples which had become favourites on my visit and Nick’s request for me to order for him and his charming, if wilful thirteen year old daughter, Juliette gave me ample room to see if they passed muster.
Basics dishes such as edamame, tempura and pickles were good indicators of a competent kitchen out back and sashimi of tuna and marinated mackerel were signs that they knew what they were doing behind the open counter in the front of house.
Sushi was less impressive with the rice under sea bream and sweet shrimp nigiri sushi being too cold, but a piece of ungagi (eel) glazed with sweet soy was as good as you are likely to find anywhere in London.
It was the Izakaya dishes, which stood out. Tori Karaage (fried chicken) was crispy and the dense flesh strongly flavoured with soy, garlic and ginger. Best of all, the Yakitori, served as requested, two skewers with sauce, two with salt. Both excellent.
Nick was kind enough to pick up the bill of £100 for three of us including green tea and water, which brings it very firmly into the “not too bad at all” category and, in London at the moment, that is about as good as it's going to get.