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Sushi Tetsu – possibly the best sushi bar in London

Disclaimer: I’m no sushi expert, so I have no credentials to shout over the rooftop that with Sushi Tetsu I’ve found the best sushi in London” or similar. I’m so not an expert it took me years of half-assed attempts (including a disappointing evening at Nobu in Milan) to tell maki from nigiri and to assess my final preference for (good) sashimi.

Moreover, I cannot even say I did actually “find” Sushi Tetsu, as I was pointed there by the great reviews by friend Mulia and by the always reliable Andy Hayler. Opened in July 2012, this very little (7-seats) place in Clerkenwell is definitely well on the radar in foodies ‘circles. So, my claims in regard to Tetsu sushi are limited to: “I went there yesterday, and it was the best sushi I’ve ever had”.

sushi tetsu london review

Others with a better knowledge of sushi- making will describe why and how and give you all the details (check out Gourmet Traveller for a very thorough and expert review). For me, it was such a magical experience I don’t even want to know exactly how it was made possible…I just want it to happen again soon. It’s like a big O, you know….

One thing I am a (self-appointed) expert on, though, is fish. Being born and raised in a fishermen’s village, with many of relatives owning a fishing boat, I am used to wonderfully fresh (=still moving till very shortly before cooking *animal lovers look away NOW*) fish and seafood. I can smell not-so-fresh or (ugh) defrosted fish a mile away and it’s not a skill, it’s in my imprinting probably- childhood powerful olfactory memories of mornings spent with my Grandad haggling for the best price on the shore, before the produce even reached a fishmonger stall. Smell it’s one thing that often puts me off so-so sushi, but it was clear from the start that fresh fish was not going to be an issue at Tetsu. I devoured every piece (even squidgy squid and sea bream and yes, raw razor clams) just wishing it stayed in my mouth a bit longer.

Sushi Tetsu is tucked in an alleyway just behind The Modern Pantry in St. John’s Square, and has a stylish wooden counter and a stone wall, with beautiful ikebana flowers as a decoration. The sushi is made in front of you by ex- Nobu chef Toru Takahashi, whilst his lovely wife Harumi attends to service.

sushi tetsu london review best sushi

The evening opened up slowly like a flower at night, while me and my date went from surprise (in discovering that the place was really tiny), embarrassment (the silence at the beginning was almost religious, everybody talking in whispers), wonder (at the beautiful simplicity of the layout, the care in showing the ingredients, the skills of the chef) to delight in finally admiring and tasting the food.

And then, as it often happens, amazing food makes people open up, so the room went from silence to friendly, relaxed chatter with the chef and the other guests. We exchanged food tips and discussed, in no particular order:

post- lunch siestas in Mallorca

the best Japanese whiskies (of which the nearby Zetter has apparently a great selection)

the best Italian restaurant in London (pizza credits went to Santa Maria)

food bloggers recently visiting Tetsu (among which Luiz of The London Foodie, he himself a great Japanese chef)

…and drank plum wine to no end. More than a couple hours passed without us noticing the time passing, caught up in a slow- paced food heaven.

sushi tetsu london review best sushi

So if you are looking for the best sushi in London, well don’t take my word for it as it may be of doubtful value, but I’d say go and check out Sushi Tetsu for yourself: make sure you book beforehand, prepare to spend around £50 per head, hone your chattering skills and allow plenty of time – the foreplay is worth it.

Sushi Tetsu- 12, Jerusalem Passage- London EC1V 4JP, open Mon-Fri and Saturday for lunch. Reservations: 020 3217 0090 (no e- mails)

Sushi Tetsu on Urbanspoon
Square Meal

Summary
Reviewer
Serena Mariani
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Sushi Tetsu - Sushi Bar, London
Author Rating
5
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5 Comments

  1. Thanks for the mention, I am so happy that I made you discover this beautiful sushi bar! I also loved the experience more than anything, though I have only visited Sushi Tetsu on my lunch break and tasted the small set menu. I will be back for more lunch breaks, but hopefully a long dinner full of chatterings as well! :)

    • You should really go for dinner- not cheap, but worth it. Thanks to you for the heads up, you’re definitely a trusted advisor ;)

  2. There’s nothing like good sushi. Mr. LT and I went to our favorite sushi restaurant for lunch the other day. Until that day, I’ve had nothing but good experiences. The rolls tasted … well, odd. I think they got a new chef.

    • The chef can make such a difference…I really advise you try Tetsu if you get a chance, it’s awesome. The only downside is, I’m never going to touch another Itsu sushi again…

      • If I’m ever in London, I’m going to remember to try Tetsu. :)

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