“ SUSHI. 118 Draycott Avenue, Chelsea, London, SW3 3AE. Tel:0207 590 2400 „
Itsu is without doubt the best sushi you can get in London. The whole set up it like a cooler, trendier version of yo sushi and the food is a million times better. You sit in front of a conveyor belt with food trundling along for inspection. When you see something you like, you just pick it up off the conveyor belt and tuck in. The novelty of this doesn't really wear off and I love the space age feel that it gives. There is also a menu with other food that is not on the conveyor belt. This is where the best dishes are so I would recommend having a few of these on your first visit. The best ones a teriyaki chicken and prawn tempura but there are also a variety of tasty hand rolls. I would also recommend ordering rice because its great with all the sauces which come with the other dishes. They serve saki if you want it and the coke and beer is always out of a bottle which always distinguishes a good restaurant. The interior design is very inspiring and the lighting sets the mood for a relaxed lunch out with friends or a romantic dinner. All this does come at a price. Its all to easy to get carried away and eat more than you can afford without even realizing. Get to know the prices of each colour plate before you dig in to 5 golds and end up paying loads and leaving hungry. If you want to save money at itsu, order rice because it is very filling and you won't spend too much on the conveyor belt food.
Itsu is a private UK company owned by Julian Metcalfe and Clive Schlee. Their ethos is Health and Happiness. So their food healthy without being boring. The Itsu at Lime Street is based underneath the Willis Building. This branch has seating outside and is undercover. It is very modern and clean. Entering the branch the tidiness and cleanliness hits you. In front of the entrance are the fridges which are usually well stocked with lovely looking sushi and noodles priced between £3 and £8 (cold) there is also a section which has a heater in which the hot noodles are kept. These come in a variety of flavours but all have special recipe Miso soup (which is yummy) and fat noodles, which are cooked to perfection. These come with Duck, chicken, vegetable dumpling, salmon teriyaki and other bits and pieces. Itsu have also recently made a smaller version of these pots, as they were very filling and the smaller ones are cheaper (as one of these large pots is between £5-7, the smaller ones are £3-4). The staff are excellent, very friendly and helpful and are mostly Eastern European in this branch. I ahve only ever had their hot food, but am going to make it a personal task I ahve to go and taste their sushi. All ionformation on each branch is on their website with full price information and some items do have pictures if you are not sure what you like the look of.
Itsu, the kaiten brainchild of the team behind Pret a Manger, is very much a Chelsea take on sushi and no worse for that. Like Pret, it uses good ingredients and doesn't leave stuff out long enough to look tired. The plates are a little more expensive than at Yo! Sushi, but for that you get more of a sense of occasion, and rather less hustling to get you out and the next diner in. There's now a branch in Wardour Street, so you don't even have to trek out to Chelsea to visit. The food is excellent - sushi is fresh and clean, with some interesting new spins on traditional dishes, like salmon nigiri with Asian pesto, or chilli tuna sashimi. Soups are good, and they circulate little pots of rice, which help to fill you up and prevent the bill from escalating too far into the stratosphere - although to be fair, even if you can't resist the lure of the ever-spinning kaiten, you're not going to pay much more than you would for an average pizza and a few beers round here. Upstairs is a bar, which gets rammed with Sloaney types at the weekends, when the staff operate a flashing pager system to alert you when your table's free. All in all, a great place for a post-shopping treat that won't leave you feeling too big for your Joseph pants.