There are half a dozen hotly-competed-for seats in this tiny Clerkenwell sushi-paradise, and you’ll pay for the privilege of sitting there – but it’s worth it.
Getting a table at this Clerkenwell sushi-ya has been a challenge ever since it opened in summer 2012. Understandably so, as there are only about half a dozen seats and they’re some of the hottest in London right now. In aesthetics and quality, Sushi Tetsu wouldn’t be out of place in a smart Tokyo suburb.
Chef Toru Takahashi (ex-Nobu) is centre-stage behind the imposing pale wood counter, where he carefully compacts glistening grains of rice into plump pellets before topping them with shimmering slivers of fish. Each nigiri is inspected with a contemplative look and finished with a dab of soy, sprinkling of sea salt or lick of flame from a blowtorch before being placed on a glossy bamboo leaf in front of the diner. Each piece arrives individually to be eaten by hand.
For the full experience, go for the omakase menu, and let the chef choose what’s freshest that day. Just say when you’ve had enough – be warned though, the bill can add up.
Highlights of a recent visit included the best boiled prawn nigiri we’ve encountered; blanched on the outside, then split down the middle and blowtorched, it was sweet, smoky and barely cooked through. You need to book well in advance – the website explains the rather complicated procedure – but it’s a treat worth waiting for.