a japanese sunday

This weekend I went to London to see S. As I wrote last week, we had our first wedding anniversary on the 19th, and he was here the weekend before to celebrate. On top of this, I had already booked in that I would come to London this weekend because there was a Japanese harvest festival on the Sunday that we were going to go to. So I took Friday and Monday off and had a long weekend in the city I used to call home seven months ago. (I still called Stockholm home too!)

Now I don’t know if it’s because I was introduced to Japanese food at an early-ish age (mum is a huge sushi fan and dad’s wife is half-Japanese) or because it just appeals to me on a taste and texture level (probably a bit of both), but I really like Japanese food. I love sushi, and it has been one of my great sorrows that S doesn’t (lol) –  but he’s starting to open up to it a bit! But I also really like their meat/chicken and noodle dishes – yakitori, yakiniku, teriyaki, tonkatsu, katsu curry, ramen, udon, and so on – as well as for example lotus roots and yuzu.

Either way I love it, and since S and I had said we would double celebrate our anniversary (nice dinner and Bridget Jones’ Baby in Stockholm the weekend before and nice dinner in London the weekend after) my wish had been to go to Sticks’n’Sushi, a Danish restaurant group having branched out in London. We’ve been there before with friends, but since S is now getting more adventurous with the sushi bit, we thought it could be nice to go just the two of us.

The day started at Trafalgar Square though, at the Japan Matsuri (a harvest festival) where we were treated to some Japanese food and culture. We bought some really nice Gyoza and a Hirata bun (sorry, no picture of that), and were then treated to a Japan Airlines bento box in the Guest Section. The bento box was apparently what they serve first and business class passengers on JAL, and though a few things were not quite to my taste (I don’t like mackerel for example), most of it were really nice. We were also given a bag of Scottish shortbread – which is never wrong!

We were supposed to have lunch with a friend from uni, but since we’d had so much food at the festival we decided to invite her to dinner instead. Unfortunately, S started feeling bad in the afternoon and by dinner-time he was too sick to go out! So I ended up having dinner with just my friend, while S was at home and asleep.

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It wasn’t quite what we’d planned, but the food was still nice. We had a sharing plate of sushi and three sticks each, and then shared three desserts (they’re quite small). The sticks were pork belly, chicken skewer, and chicken meatballs, and the sushi was salmon, tuna, sea bass, and prawn nigiri, and pink Alaska, spicy tuna, and gypsy roll maki. For dessert we shared a vanilla bean crème brulée, a cheesecake with yuzu and crumble, and a macha moji ice-cream. A real treat.

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The food at Sticks’n’Sushi is always great, and if you’re a sushi lover I definitely recommend it. I’ve only been to the Canary Wharf branch though, and the service there isn’t always great. When I came to the restaurant (15 minutes late because I had to drive poor S back home since he was feeling sick) they told me my friend hadn’t arrived yet. So I text her and she said she was already at our table! I went up to the waiter who seated me and he said “No, there’s no one here. Look.” and took me further in the restaurant. Then he said “Unless it’s her.” and pointed at my friend. Hrm!

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It then took at least 20 minutes until we got to order, despite the waiter coming up and taking our drinks order, giving us water, and serving us our drinks. It also took ages before anyone came to take our dessert order or let us pay the bill. And it’s not like there were a lot of people in the restaurant, or few staff working. Needless to say, we didn’t tip them (but still had to pay the service charge included in the bill – I don’t really like it when they do that).

If the service is good, Sticks’n’Sushi is a great place to go. If the service isn’t great – the food still is. And they have a lot of nice fruity (non-alcoholic) drinks. I definitely recommend it for any fellow sushi-lovers out there!

/t

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