Sticks and Sushi

Why go here:

For trying out exciting combinations of traditional sushi and grilled Yakitori sticks, served with a Nordic touch.  But don’t be confused, the Nordic touch is not for the food, but for the settings.

What it looks like:

Situated in the new Crossrail mall in Canary Wharf, the restaurant is a display of Scandanavian chic- wooden and leather furnishings, rectangular halogen light frames suspended from the ceiling and monochrome art works.

The food:

This place was definitely the best value for sushi out of London’s long list of Japanese restaurants I’ve visited, considering how well they do on both the taste and presentation front. The menu is quite confusing though. This is partly due to the plethora of dishes on offer and partly because the menu is segmented into sections using abstract photographs instead of calling out the categories of sashimi, nigiri, futamaki, kaburimaki etc. Although, once I had figured out what the pictures were all about, I admit that I found the concept to be quite cute. Check out the menu on the website to see what I mean.

If you’re as indecisive as me, you are best placed to go for the set menu options. After a fruitless twenty minutes of flicking through the main menu, my friends and I decided to go for some of these. We ordered the Mixed Emotions and the Mini Maki de Luxe. Two of the Kaburimaki (topped Maki rolls) stood out the most for me. The Hell’s Kitchen which was a roll of tempura shrimp, avocado, spicy sauce, topped with tuna & barbecue sauce as well as the Formidable roll which was made of avocado & cucumber, tossed in sesame, topped with salmon tartare & trout roe. So many different ingredients in such small rolls, yet all vividly coming across in each mouthful.

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This was also the first time I tried Yakitori- Japanese style chicken and fish skewers, coated in a sticky teriyaki sauce and then chargrilled to perfection. The grilled bacon-wrapped asparagus rolls were a wonderful twist on the standard Parma-asparagus dish, with the added hint of soy and garlic and a nice smoky flavor.

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Desserts were small but very innovative. We tried the Yuzu Crumble and the Black Sesame ice cream. The crumble has citrusy yuzu curd with a warm meringue topping. The ice cream had a nutty, earthy flavor from the black sesame and a coarse granular texture from the blended sesame and nougatine. This was a surprisingly nice change to the usual creamy, plain texture of standard ice cream. But a word of warning- the ice cream makes your mouth go entirely black (or at least it did for me) and so this dessert is better avoided if you’re on a date!

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Verdict:

Inspite of being one a chain, Sticks and Sushi manages to impress with the presentation, taste and creativity of the dishes, which are also very pocket friendly! If you do visit, go for one of the set menus. The mini desserts are also all pretty unusual and fun and definitely worth a try!

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