20 James Street,
London W1U 1EH
1 minute walk from Bond Street tube station (Central Line, Jubilee Line)
We’re a little reluctant to divulge our tasty little secret close to the Selfridges departmental store along Oxford Street, but in the spirit of sharing, we shall. Atari-ya is a hole-in-the-wall sushi takeaway bar that serves quality sushi at affordable prices. To put things in perspective, 3 slices of otoro sashimi goes for £5, chu-toro at £3.80 and sake at £2.20. The place is perfect for a quick bite after a hard day’s shopping, or if you’re male, waiting on your girlfriend to finish up in the H&M changing room.
These were the rolls we had along with the sashimi – California Roll (£4.80), Prawn Tempura Roll (£4.90), Spider Roll (£4.90) and Rainbow Roll (£6.90).
19 Tanglin Road
Orchard Parade Hotel
Tel: 6732 4438
There is a little bit of everything at Akashi. Its set lunches and dinners are priced affordably for the casual diner, but its sushi counter is also a place of wonder for the sashim-ly inclined. Akashi is one of the better known Japanese restaurants here in Singapore, but it deserves a mention anyway for its consistency, longevity and quality of food. Judging from the evening crowds, we aren’t the only ones who think so. Be sure to make reservations to avoid disappointment.
The menu is extensive, so we’ll only cover our favourites. The chawanmushi ($8) is some of the best we’ve had, silky smooth with a tangy citrus inflection. The black-hog tonkatsu (served in a set) was consistent on the half a dozen occasions we’ve had it, with a nice crispy batter and some marbling for added juiciness.
Sashimi – fresh, thick slices with plenty of bite
California Reverse Rolls, with a massive topping of ebiko for kicks
Akashi has a decent selection of California-styled rolls, with the house special reverse rolls priced at $10-$15 for 8 pieces.
The chirashidon set ($28) is generously portioned, with large chunks of salmon and tamago sliced into it. Also consider ending off your meal with some of the restaurant’s Japanese ice creams. The goma (black sesame) ice cream is particularly good.
Experience tells us that food normally tastes better if the proprietors are around to keep things ship-shape. At Akashi, it so happens that there are three brothers to do just that, with two of them taking personal charge of the the sashimi counter at their Tanglin flagship. You’ll find them slicing fish and swigging sake with their guests in the evenings. Our friend goofing around above introduced us to his Uncle Don, who in turn gave us advice on life and clarified the distinction between women and ladies (“you leave the woman at home, you bring the lady out”). Quite pithy for a man on to his 12th sake cup.