A trio of editors put Sumsushi to the test

PUBLISHED: 12:49 25 June 2007 | UPDATED: 14:35 07 September 2010

SUMSUSHI surfs two contemporary waves - the health-conscious craze for Japanese food and the onward march of posh takeaways delivering superior quality nosh to home or office. The outfit, opened a year ago on Haverstock Hill, blends the traditional - nood

SUMSUSHI surfs two contemporary waves - the health-conscious craze for Japanese food and the onward march of posh takeaways delivering superior quality nosh to home or office.

The outfit, opened a year ago on Haverstock Hill, blends the traditional - noodles, tempura, sushi, sashimi - with the trendy - black cod, soft shell crab, grilled eel and rocket.

The funky silver-flecked menus sensibly include a guide to Japanese fare and the enlightened owners are clearly geared up to home consumption with free delivery and a £4.50

kids' box.

Not only that, but impromptu picnickers can summon their sushi to be delivered to Primrose Hill and Hampstead Heath - how very north London.

Matt Segal, whose other job is general manager of Islington gastronomic institution Frederick's, went into partnership with bread shop guru Jonathan Cohen because they saw restaurant-quality Japanese food to

take away as a massive growth market. "It's a very healthy cuisine, ideally suited to delivery and good for private launches and business lunches," says Segal, who lives in Archway.

He hopes to fine-tune the operation and menu at the NW3 flagship outlet before expanding into other parts of London.

Samsushi's main ingredient - fish - is delivered daily, is always freshly prepared, never vacuum-packed and served, as it should be, at room temperature.

Our office tasting by the Features Editor, Deputy Editor and News Editor involved a broad selection of dishes totalling £48.

The black cod salad (£7) earned a mixed reaction. The Deputy Ed liked the "tasty" combination of the seared exterior and almost translucent flakes of fish. But the News Ed pronounced it "bland" and the Features Ed disliked the way the hot cod had wilted and steamed the lettuce leaves in the cardboard container.

A king prawn tempura (£4.90) was universally liked for its plump shellfish despite being encased in a batter that had gone slightly soggy.

A starter of salt and pepper squid (£3.80) was judged by the Deputy Ed "well cooked but not exciting - needs the chilli dip with it."

A seabass and crème fraiche maki (£3.20) - seaweed sheets rolled with rice and fresh fish - was deemed "peppery and delicate" by the Features Ed, who also loved the simplicity of the tuna and salmon sashimi, the bright clean flavours of wasabi, ginger, soy, and raw, firm fresh fish.

Most disappointing was the tsukune chicken ball noodles (£4.90) - a pitiful few soggy balls and overdone noodles swimming in salty broth, which was dubbed "a posh pot noodle" by the News Ed and virtually untouched by the Deputy Ed who wrinkled her nose and said, "Urgh, onion soup."

But there was all round delight at a particularly tasty dip that came with the soft shell crab and avocado rolls (£3.50) and the salmon and mango roll won a big thumbs up from the News Ed, who by now was using the aforementioned dip to coat every mouthful.

Overall the verdict was: "Not cheap but generous portions and a distinct cut above the supermarket sushi box we usually buy."

Bridget Galton



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