The scene: Set on the buzzing Festival Terrace on the South Bank, this small eatery was given a recent facelift. Its new look is simple yet elegant, with classic Japanese motifs that include massive blue flowers prettily adorning one of the walls. There’s even a fish tank awash with tropical fish – which I assume are for decoration rather than munching. Seating is on Wagamama-style long bench tables – there’s also an outdoor seating area, perfect for those, ahem, sunny afternoons spent watching the skateboarders, street entertainers and yummy mummies that frequent the area. Staff are smiley and efficient, so you won’t have to wait long for your food.
The grub: Dishes are artfully presented and placed delicately and neatly on dainty rectangular dishes – all sushi is handmade using fresh fish, vegetables, spices and seaweed. The comprehensive menu contains everything you’d expect from a sushi restaurant – nigiri, sashimi and maki. If you’re not a fan of raw fish, there are a wide range of delicious hot dishes to plump for, including Japanese fish and chips with tempura hake with handcut potato chips. To start, we have two bowls of edamame peas, one with salt and the other with chilli – the latter is particularly moreish. For main, the spicy crispy baby squid is melt-in-the-mouth delicious, while the sushimi is velvety and as pretty as a picture. To finish, we have three scoops of ice-cream, vividly flavoured with green tea, chestnut and black sesame – a total taste sensation. Dishes are big on flavour but a little on the small side, so we order an extra main course to share to fill up on.
Behind the bar: A bottle of sake is £10.50; a bottle of wine costs from £30; while Japanese beers cost from £3.50. Soft drinks include apple juice and ginger beer.
Bill please: Starters from £1.50; mains from £7.50; desserts from £2.75.
Verdict: This stylish chain is a tasty option for a no-fuss lunch on a sunny day or a casual dinner with mates before catching a performance on the South Bank.
Unit 9 Festival Terrace, London SE1 8XX