Sushi of Shiori is not the kind of place that looks like you absolutely have to have a look inside, when you walk past it. Rather, it looks very understated, very much like a Japanese sushi bar. The size is similar too, as there is space for something like 7 people at most. However, once you sit down there, you are immediately greeted by the owner who makes you feel most welcome directly. At the same time her husband is in charge of the cooking, which completes the list of the staff here.
A omakase menu can be pre-booked, which should be done in any case, as it is much more interesting than the regular a la carte. We specified to be on a budget of around £50, which got us a very decent variety of dishes.
Starting off, we had a bit of eel wrapped in thinly sliced cucumber. This little bite was to set the scene for the rest of the evening, as it was beautifully presented, very precise in terms of flavour and texture, and showcased products of great quality. The slight crunch of the thinly sliced cucumber worked extremely well with the quite soft, sweet/smoky meat of the lacquered eel. It was a match made in heaven, and a fantastic amuse!
After this arrived a very good Miso soup. It was tasty and warm, that’s all I can ask for in a cup of clear soup. Very good.
The first real plate was very thinly sliced Aji (Japanese horse mackerel). Served with a light ponzu sauce if my memory serves me correctly, it was fantastic. Not only the knife skills had to be applauded here, but also the quality of the fish, and the purity of flavours. It was a very good plate of food.
Next up came the sashimi selection, there was scallop dusted with uni (sea urchin) powder, a slice of scallop which was wrapped around a sea urchins tongue, some mackerel, tuna and salmon. First of all, the quality of the fish was again fantastic. I was most impressed to finally find a sushi place in London, which cares about the quality of the fish they serve, and prepare it with the needed attention and skill. Of course, the most decadent bites were the sea urchin and scallop preparations. The powder was a little less successful, as not entirely dry or crispy, thus one had a bizarre texture. But, flavour-wise it was phenomenal. The sweetness of the scallop worked beautifully with the dried sea urchin, which gave a very powerful iodine and rich flavour. However, even better was the piece which saw the sea urchin tongue wrapped around a slice of scallop. This brought out the contrast even better: The scallop sweet, and a little firm (due to the freshness) gave a contrast, both in flavour and texture, to the rich, creamy, iodine and “off-sweet” uni. It was glorious! Excellent.
Sushi was present in a large selection, with sweet shrimp, tuna, scallops, squid,… Notable here was again the quality of the fish, but also the rice, as it was cooked perfectly, and had just the right amount of seasoning to support and magnify the flavours of the respective topping. It was without doubt the best sushi in London. Excellent.
Finally came a piece of grilled wagyu sushi and an added piece of unagi sushi, which both were very tasty and indulgent. A great finish to the meal.
However, as dessert, we were offered an ice cream made with Sakura blossoms. Now, I have eaten a lot of ice cream in my life, but this was just a completely different story. It had a salinity, somewhat close to what one finds in a wine such as the very mineral Wnninger Uhlen from Heymann Löwenstein, but at the same time, this salinity was very subtle, hardly noticeable, but giving the sweetness a counterpoint, that made the flavour so much more complex. Also, the fact that entire cherry blossoms were introduced in the sorbet gave even more intensity to the flavour. If such cherry-petal ice creams can sometimes taste a little chemical, this had such purity of flavour, that it was outright incredible. If it was more of a sorbet than an ice cream in texture, it was the best sorbet of my life. Outstanding!!
Wow, this was quite a ride. The whole meal was exceptional. From the great welcome to the incredibly precise and tasty cooking, it was a perfect evening. Such a place is just hard to find, which makes one feel reluctant to give it away. All I can say is that I absolutely loved it, and can’t wait to go back.