Monday, February 20, 2006

Sushi at Selfridges

The proprietress at Silverside meat let me in on a little secret about fish in London. She used to be the buyer for the Food Hall at Selfridges and said that the best value sushi in London comes from that very same place: next to the smoked salmon, but not Yo! sushi (heaven forbid!).

I bought a £10 tray of pre-prepared sashimi after watching the chef prepare special trays of takeaway for a Singaporean lady. There were cheaper trays available, but I wanted to try the sweet shrimp and surf clam.

Overall the sashimi is pretty good, better than the Sydney Fish Market, but a poor second to what I've had in Japan - the only other place I've eaten sweet shrimp. In Nagoya, these were crisp, fresh, succulent and almost floral in their sweetness. Here, they were okay, albeit a touch too soft and borderline slimy. The meaty surf clam was tasty and the tuna the best I've eaten outside of Japan. Sydney Fish Market tuna is just not cut correctly and contains a lot of ligament and stringy bits. These red slabs were tender but firm yet melting in the mouth. My favourite sashimi fish is salmon, usually because it's hard to go wrong with salmon, and these large, smooth and thick slices of orange shot with white slid into my mouth meltingly. I didn't think much of the sea bream present, perhaps I should have asked for a customised plate with the wild sea bass. Sea urchin roe was also on offer, but for £5 /100g, it was a bit dear.

One thing I did find disconcerting was the intensity of the soy sauce in those cute fish dispensers. I thought it too packed with flavour enhancer for the delicate fish. I would have preferred a lighter touch.

This sashimi dealer supplies Nobu, my source at Silverside told me. So I feel assured that I have experienced the best takeaway sashimi that London can offer. I didn't find the prices exorbitant either but just in line with everything else in this expensive city.

If I were to have a sashimi party I would order here, but probably stick to tuna and salmon until I've built a rapport with the sashimi-chef and he can tell me if other fish are worth getting on the day.


Anonymous said...

I love the raw fish counter at Selfridges! I used to work nearby and would buy a big pack of sashimi (sliced in front of my eyes) for about £3 or something similarly ridiculous. My only niggle was the lack of ginger.

David said...

Yes, it's quite a good deal. Sashimi is the perfect late night snack too when you're craving something salty and rich but don't want anything fatty (we're watching our waistlines). Sashimi and soy sauce hits the spot for me.