What do you get when you mix Scandinavian style with Asian cuisine? Beauty on a plate, in both taste and aesthetics. This is why I am a slightly in love with Sticks 'n' Sushi. I mean, just look at this.
As a Japanese person who loves food, I'm no purist when it comes to sushi, or any other Japanese specialities. I enjoy fusion cuisine as much as the next person, and have no bias against it, but some places do it so badly that it can put some people off. But this? This is a success story.
Having had a taste of it when I went on the Japanese Journey last year (aka restaurant hopping heaven), I had been itching to go back for a proper meal, but just hadn't made it happen yet. But it was worth the wait, when I went to the Wimbledon branch with my sister, her lovely friend and her equally lovely mum who treated us to the most delicious lunch!
We started with a quartet of fresh juices - I think my equally snap-happy sister and I inadvertently persuaded everyone to get a different juice for the inevitable photo opp?! It does make for a pretty picture though, you can't deny it. And they tasted great, too.
Between us, we managed to try quite a few different dishes and options from the (stunningly designed) menu - here is the rundown of what we ordered:
Green & Grilled Salad
Maki : 24 - 8 crispy ebi, 8 spicy tuna, 8 pink Alaska Soy, wasabi & ginger
Chicken meatballs in teriyaki / Tsukune
Chicken wings / Tebasaki
Chicken and leeks in teriyaki / Negima
Rice Paper Rolls : Soft Shell Crab, avocado, masago, lettuce, miso-aïoli, yuzu kosho & ponzu
I have to say, the Sticks part (the meat) is quite authentic, reminiscent of the traditional Yakitori you get in Japan - deliciously flavoured and beautifully cooked. The rice paper rolls are lovely - so light yet so tasty, it's like those Vietnamese summer rolls that I like so much. The sushi set comes from the set menu, which is great if you're sharing and you want a selection without the headache of choosing. I loved the sushi - a relief to love it so much after having eaten the amazing Sushi Samba ones so recently! - but honestly, everything was so good it's hard to pick out a highlight.
But the best was yet to come...
Dessert. Actually, desserts. 9, to be precise.
A platter of stunning desserts, that had us all reaching for our cameras and somehow being patient enough to paparazzi the heck out of them before digging in.
Black sesame ice cream with nougatine
Marcel chocolate cake with crystallised white chocolate
Bergamot orange crème brûlée
White chocolate and liquorice mousse topped raspberry foam
Crumble with yuzu curd & meringue
Dark fondant, with chocolate caramel & peppermint heart, topped with crunchy hazelnut brittle
White chocolate with sweet miso & popped rice
Although they were all utterly delightful, my favourite was probably the black sesame ice cream. It tasted properly of "kurogoma" and was ridiculously moreish. If there are 4 or more of you dining together, I would absolutely recommend this selection (or if you're a blogger, because let's face it, you need to take photos of this.).
I've since gone to the Covent Garden branch for dinner, and it did not disappoint - it was completely packed on a weekday evening, and I can definitely see why.
If you haven't been yet, put it on your list - and if you have, take me with you next time?