Sticks ‘N’ Sushi is one of the better choices for sushi in London with all the saturated-ness of sushi joints around town. It’s a place I can always rely on when I’m feeling like Japanese cuisine, but with a twist. By this, I mean Danish-inspired. I know, Denmark and Japan, whaaaaaattttt?! There’s actually a very simple explanation and it doesn’t involve chef’s trying to re-invent the wheel, forcing new flavours during an experimental sesh in the kitchen. The founders, Jens Rahbek & Kim Rahbek and Thor Anderson are brothers of Danish and Japenese descent…*ahhhhh*, makes sense now. They found a way to cultivate the flavours from their mixed backgrounds and create food that is celebrated all over Copenhagen and in London, and as of two days ago, Cambridge.

What does being a Danish/Japenese crossbreed restaurant entail, exactly?

One of the biggest giveaway’s is that there is a sushi roll on the menu with smoked cheese – this is not normal Japanese behaviour, trust mi(so). Ha! What really makes this partnership between flavours so special is their rare focus of food on the grill, yes, pork, chicken, duck – you’ll find the lot, all cooked to order. It’s not often you share your table with Salmon Nigiri and Duck Yakitori. Of course, we are all well acquainted with Robata (Japanese grilling). The Yakitori constitutes the ‘sticks’ part of Sticks ‘N’ Sushi, and the ‘sushi’ part of Sticks ‘N’ Sushi, is, well, sushi. My mind amazes me at times.

Does anybody eat salad at a sushi joint? What if I told you their salads have all the usual goodies like raw salmon, miso, edamame and soy, but also snow peas, pumpkin seeds and quinoa? Taste sensation? I think so. This place is fit for the health-conscious and indulgers alike, (myself being the latter).

The food here is fresh and full of flavour, but most of all, full of surprises. You will always find yourself trying something new here. One of the biggest reasons being their infamous book-esque menu with beautifully presented photographs showcasing all that’s on offer. We eat with our eyes, and if sushi is simply ‘fish in haute couture’ as the waiters’ uniform claims, then why not show it off? It makes life a whole lot easier for us diners! (They do have a handy-dandy 14-piece set menu if you’re not up to the challenge of picking everything yourself)

Corporate stuff (I usually put this at the end of a post but I just feel like it fits better here #DontJudge)

They are BIG on CSR (corporate social responsibility), simply put, this is when a business actively rectifies or prevents issues that their daily operations may cause to the environment or it’s stakeholders. In fact, they have a guy who focuses purely on this, Jakob Gaord, aka the ‘in-house troublemaker.’ Their ethos is simple:

“Make less mess, purchase more environmentally correctly, act more properly.” – I LOVE this. So clean, so simple.

The term CSR is becoming a household term (to some extent), but is usually only heard of when referencing corporate conglomerates like McDonald’s or Shell, where the impact of their operations are global. Although Sticks ‘N’ Sushi have around 15 branches in total, they are still mightily small compared to the aforementioned brands, which makes it much more satisfying to see them take so much pride in the environment they work in. A lot of restaurants can learn from this. It’s something I believe should be pushed to(wards) the forefront of a business and it’s ethos on a whole, customers love stuff like this!

OKAY, back to the real reason we’re here.

Food

Ebi Bites

I don’t know how the hell they keep these babies so darn crisp and the prawns so juicy! Ebi Bites are prawns deep fried in a rice-krispie like batter, or as I like to call them, crunchy clouds of prawn with a glorious  miso-aïoli, a little soy, fresh red chilli and a spritz of lime. (Disclaimer: two portions are necessary, you will not be satisfied with one). I often wish these were served up in a deep bowl with a big pot of miso-aïoli, I’d be a very happy girl.

Tempura shrimp, chili, coriander, pepper, miso-aïoli & fresh lime.

Chicken Yakitori

A sweet and uber saucy sensation and perfectly minced chicken balls. These are as playful as they are delicious; lip-smackingly good. Perfect for the non-raw fish eater.

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Momo Chili – Chicken meatballs in teriyaki / Tsukune

Salmon Nigiri

Just look at that flesh, need I say more? Okay, as I’m a blogger, I probably should say more lols. Perfect sushi rice and wonderfully soft, delicate salmon that melts in the mouth. Simple and beautiful.

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Salmon Rice Paper Roll 

I don’t often eat fully cooked salmon, unless it’s for breakfast, but this is an exception. Soft, smoked, salty salmon in a borderline slimy (yet satisfying) cold rice wrap and crunchy lettuce. Hands up if you just got my Lion King reference. A pleasant cold roll that’s nice for in between the dishes that carry bolder flavour.

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Crispy fried salmon & crunchy skin, lettuce, avocado, chili sauce, miso-aïoli, coriander & ponzu

Crispy Ebi Roll

Is it just me or are there never EVER enough crispy prawn tempura Maki rolls (which is what this is). I always say you can tell how much care a sushi joint puts into their food by how crunchy the batter is, and boy is their tempura crunchy! No soggy batter here, no siree! A classic roll in my books and one that doesn’t disappoint here.

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Tempura shrimp, avocado, spicy sauce, tsume soy, rolled in sesame

One of the OTHER biggest reasons why I always opt to go back time and time again is because of the physical appeal of the dining space. Just like the ideal guy, this place has got muscle, it’s partly exposed, mysterious at times and a whole lot of fun. It’s deceivingly large considering the exterior, but hey, that’s Covent Garden for you! There are almost four separate dining ares, including a downstairs section where all the magic happens (the kitchen), picture, Dishoom in Shoreditch.

So

It’s the kind of place you’d want to, and absolutely can, spend hours in. The amazing food you can pick and share with friends or family, the lazy brown leather sofas, the soft but focused lighting, the somewhat bare walls, the randomly placed floral arrangements, literally everything about this place screams chic comfort, and anywhere like that is my kinda place.