About Time You Tried: Incredible Sushi at KouzuBy Angelica Malin
There are certain sushi restaurants that just have “it”.
I don’t know what “it” is – something undeniably cool, slick, effortless – that feels authentically Japanese. When dining out on Japanese, you want real. Forget the overly fussy, fancy stuff, you want the kind of good quality sushi that doesn’t need to hide behind mayonnaise and wacky flavour combinations. The kind of understated simplicity that speaks of respect for quality, good taste and elegance.
I’ve been searching for this kind of cool in London for so long, I’d almost given up. And then, by accident, we found Kouzu – a Japanese restaurant tucked away in Victoria, the kind of place you need to know about, as you wouldn’t just stumble upon.
This place is the dream. There’s no hoisin duck sushi or spicy mayonnaise here – and it’s all the better for it. Think fresh sashimi, incredible Asian-inspired cocktails and the best black cod in town – this is the sushi restaurant that does it right. If you’re looking for a mind-blowing Japanese night out, here’s what you need to know:
If you’re a foodie, you’ll love dining at the Sushi Bar. This gives you the best full experience of the sushi-making in action, and it’s great fun to watch your food being made. Diners are assigned a chef each, who will guide you through your order and recommend dishes based on your favourite fish or flavours.
It’s a fantastic, interactive way of dining (dare I say – great for a date, too), but be warned, if you don’t like being told how to eat your food, it’s not for you! The chefs will tell you how and when to each piece of fresh sushi, as certain types taste better eaten with your hands. Forget what your mother told you, eating with your hands here is positively encouraged.
Don’t miss the starters – they’re a real highlight. Opt for the Yellowtail Sashimi with truffle, marinated in yuzu kosho and topped with grapefruit, avocado and mixed micro herbs. It’s a fantastic, fragrant dish – super thin fish with a light, tangy truffle dressing. You might think fish and truffle is an odd combination, but this totally works. Also order the Salmon Sashimi with julienne apple and cucumber marinated in chilli oil and yuzu soy; it’s full of summery freshness with lots of freshly squeezed lime and a lovely citrus tang, brought together with a dash of soy. These starters are proof of a chef that really knows his stuff – the balance is totally right, and you can still taste the fresh-out-the-sea flavours of the fish, without compromising on ingenuity. Heaven.
Next allow your sushi chef to choose you a selection of their finest sashimi and sushi. Our particularly favourites were the Spicy Tuna with sundried tomato puree, pickled jalapeño, daikon cress, carrot and chilli tempura flakes. The lovely light crunchy outside is a fantastic combination with the minced tuna, and also try the incredible Scallop Nigri with wasabi. Whatever you order, you won’t go wrong – the sushi rice is cooked to total perfection, and the flavours are faultless.
If you’ve still got room (but save some for dessert) they also have a range of grilled fish and meat for mains – the highlight being their Black Cod with comes with an orange cherry tomato salsa, grilled fennel and fresh orange, and the Agedashi Tofu. The cod is a beautiful, light take on the fish – and it’s cooked to total perfection. For those that feel that a meal isn’t complete without a slab of meat, try the lamb chops with chilli miso sauce and leeks.
Serious note: don’t leave without trying the dessert. No really, don’t. Even if it means rolling home – you simply have to order the Green Tea Fondant with chocolate ice cream. It sounds unusual – a white chocolate fondant with a melting middle, made with Matcha green tea, and a chocolate side – but it’s honestly one of the best things I’ve ever tried. Forget the banana mousse and black sesame mille feuille, this fondant is worth crossing London for. Trust us.
When it comes to drinks, they’ve got an extensive cocktail menu with lots of Japanese influences. Luckily for you, we sampled most of them and can tell you which ones to order. Basically, if you like Pina Coladas (or you do and don’t like to admit it, like most people), you’ll adore the Pink Grapefruit Pina Colada, with Havana Club, Pineapple & Pink Grapefruit Juice and Dry Coconut. It’s not as thick and rich as a normal Pina Coladas, but has all the flavours of holiday. Total heaven.
All in all, the food is sensational, and although pricey, if you’re looking for something special, it’s worth every penny. If you’re hankering for real Japanese food, this is the closest I’ve ever found in London. Sushi at Kouzu isn’t just a cuisine – it’s a work of art. Each piece has been carefully considered, and is served just to the chef’s liking, with simple yet refined presentation – the kind of sushi that lets the freshness of the fish speak for itself. Green tea chocolate fondant and a little nip of Sake is exactly how a special night out in London should be spent. Take my word for it: just go.