Moshi Moshi is a chain of Japanese restaurants in London, I have visited the venue at Liverpool street, it looks sleek and modern and used to be much more of a restaurant than it is now. In the past it was a case of ordering what you wanted.
Now the restaurant is much more like Yo Sushi, in the fact there is a revolving conveyor belt of sushi which moves around the restaurant allowing diners to pick out what they particularly want. I'm not sure why but this has never appealed to me and i'm not the biggest fan of Japanese food anyway.
I have to be honest, I saw no difference between this venue from Yo Sushi, although staff were less friendly and the costs were much more expensive here, i'm not entirely sure why though.
You can also order food from the menu and being honest this appeals to me much more as its hard to know how long food has been on a conveyor belt and it didn't look too appealing anyway.
Dishes on the conveyor belt ranged from edamame to a range of sushi dishes and cost between £2-£4. The food was fine, I had Sea bass Cerviche, tuna sushi and Pork Teryaki with Ginger, the range of foods on offer were fairly decent and the menu is much better than the conveyor belt which is a distraction.
Service was fine although lacked any urgency or impact, prices are fine, although not as competitive as Yo Sushi, the thing I liked most about this place was that they are very environmentally friendly with certification that their fish is from sustainable stock, the place looks sleeker and cooler than Yo Sushi and probably appeals to a more sophisticated crowd but it isn't really any better.
I've given it 3 out of 5 as we had a meal for under £30, but I still felt hungry and couldn't go away raving about it, but my partner enjoyed it and she is much more knowledgeable about Japanese food than I am.
5 Reasons to dine at Moshi Moshi
IF YOU DON'T HAVE TO PAY...
This isnt a negative but it is how I ended up at Moshi Moshi in Liverpool st station, which isnt my usual London hangout place! You may have read my review on theprizefinder.com. Id been to this restaurant a few years ago and forgotten about it until I won a meal for two at this restaurant (including alcohol, woo hoo!), as part of a competition I won with the Evening Standard. You dont have to win a competition though, if you work in Liverpool st, you may well end there on a nice paid for company lunch or paying on expenses as it seems to be a popular place for client lunches and dinners. If you arent on a tight budget its still worth splashing your own cash on though, as Japanese restaurants go its quite reasonably priced.
NICE PEOPLE, GREAT SERVICE
I was meeting my boyfriend here and got there on time, but he was running late but unable to call me due to the fact I dont currently have a mobile phone (not trying to do another cheap plug but regular readers of my reviews will know about my battles with the Evil Orange Empire). After I had been there over 45 minutes on my own, I think they were a bit concerned that I had been stood up! I knew better, knowing my boyfriend, an accountant, is not one to turn down a free meal, but I could see that it looked a bit odd. The nice waitress had already brought me over some wine and free nibbles (tasty bits of chicken teriyaki in a bowl). I explained my predicament with the phone and they let me use their restaurant landline to call him, bless! He was in fact lost and desperately trying to find me at this point, frantic because he couldnt remember the name of the restaurant (how did we manage before we all had mobile phones??), so all was resolved and the staff visibly relaxed, undoubtedly relieved that the potential for a distraught, abandoned female had now subsided. I should add that we were sat at a table behind the conveyer belt section so had full waiter service instead of helping ourselves but I had declined the kind offer of a table overlooking the trains! Service through the three course meal was polite and attentive, without being intrusive. None of this wiping away plates before youve finished eating that drives me mad in certain restaurants Ive been to lately.
MOSHI MOSHI HAS A CONSCIENCE
Moshi Moshi pride themselves on being environmentally aware. As well as free range meats, their menus feature an article on their Squid Protection campaign. Apparently squid are a popular delicacy amongst other sea creatures as well as humans. They dont live very long at all, so numbers can drop substantially without warning so squid are prone to overfishing. Moshi Moshi now only buy in big squids, since little ones are a clear indicator of irresponsible fishing.
Moshi Moshi also have responsible practices in their purchasing of salmon and tuna. They have stopped purchasing the precariously rare bluefish tuna variety now and only serve the more common yellow fin. Their website www.moshimoshi.co.uk has a large section on their environmental policy if youre interested in finding out more.
YOURE PLANNING AN EVENT OR PARTY
I used to do a lot of event management, its a stressful pastime and I dont miss it. However Moshi Moshi can sort one out for you and take the pressure off a bit. They even provide entertainment to create a more colourful ambiance with traditional kimono-clad waiting staff, knife throwers, taiko drummers, karaoke and podium dancers all in the offering if you choose.
Events can be arranged in the restaurant or brought to your own premises. They deliver in and around the London and Brighton areas and can provide the waiting staff, as well as a full bar service. Not bad if your budget can cope with it!
They also do a full hot and cold take away service with party platters and bento boxes if you fancy a semi-extravagant lunch one day.
MOSHI MOSHI IS GOOD FOR YOU
Well I admit Ive got this info straight from their website, but some of it I noticed on their menus during the meal as well. Great choice it would seem if youre on a health kick but dont want to go on social strike as well.
They state that their ingredients are all free of additives and Monosodium Glutamate, unless otherwise stated. Sticking to traditional Japanese ways, they do add sugar and vinegar to their sushi rice but reduce this to the lowest level possible without compromising flavour. You can choose brown or white rice with your bento boxes and
best of all Japanese food is LOW IN CALORIES. Apparently a standard sushi light meal will contain on average between 200 and 500 calories.
LAST BUT NOT LEAST THE FOOD!!!
I did enjoy my meal very much thank you. Helped that it was free and that I was absolutely ravenous when my boyfriend turned up, but even excluding those circumstances it was a very good meal indeed. Ive done the conveyor belt experience many times before, including at this particular restaurant and am a bit bored by that trend (uncomfortable stools, hard to keep track of what youre eating, bit off putting that you dont know how long the food is exposed for and limits you to sushi). Moshi Moshi has several tables, though the view (of trains arriving and departing) from the window seats as I have pointed out earlier is not the most exquisite.
My boyfriend chose the Bento box. As I had won the competition to get us there and had review writing in mind, I had the perfect excuse to nick the odd bit, ha ha!
There are four types of Bento box:
Seasonal grilled teriyaki by catchfish & sashimi
Tempura & ponzu sashimi
Pork katsu & gyoza
Free-range chicken teriyaki & ponzu sashimi
Each one is accompanied generously with 2 salads, rice, suimono and pickles. T had the pork katsu (which I was pleased about as I had already sampled their tasty Teriyaki whilst waiting for him to arrive!). The box wasnt as large as the ones you get in other Japanese restaurants Ive been too but the quality was definitely high, enough to meet the requirements of the probably far more discerning diners around me in any case, investment bankers and the like were all polishing their plates off and rubbing their ample too-many-client-lunch bellies with evident satisfaction. The Bento boxes are an averagely priced (for London) £13 each.
I went for the £14 Teishoku set menu. This is a starter and main course. There are 2 choices of appetiser the Sakura set which is spicy tofu and egg maki/ lotus root and chicken salad and tilapia karaage. This sounded a bit too healthy for my liking so I went for the other option the Sumo set with chilli salad, deep friend aubergine (wasnt too keen on that one) and chicken karaage. The portion was quite small but the chilli salad was deliciously complimentaed by the chicken karaage with just the right pinch of spices for my tastebuds to take note without screaming!
Choosing my main course from this set menu, passed most of my waiting time! There are 8 options:
** Yakimono grilled mackerel pike with daikon oroshi (must admit Im completely ignorant as to what that actually is)
** Chilli pork Free-range (environmentally conscious in meat products as well!) pork belly Korean style in a chilli sauce
** Tempura selection (vegetarian option available)
** Grilled Loch duart salmon fillet with teriyaki source and oroshi daikon (this is how it appears on the menu, I assume this is the same as the earlier daikon oroshi)
**Tappan enrunji and shiitake mushrooms (hope they dont forget the second I!) and vegetables
** Beef shogayaki loin in soy and ginger sauce
** Spicy tofu and omelette braised tofu and pak choi on a spicy omelette
** Loch Duart salmon teriyaki set
I went for the Loch salmon teriyaki set (seeing as I wasnt sure what oroshi daikon was and too embarrassed to ask!) and it was delicious. The salmon was fresh and there was a huge chunk of it so that I could barely finish it. As with the Bento box the set menus come with rice, suimono, pickles and salad.
All in all it was a very pleasant meal indeed and I think Ill go back even if I have to pay. We actually went over the amount the competition allowed by over £5 but they wouldnt let us pay it and also wouldnt take a tip. I wasn't sure if tipping is customary in Japan and worried that it might even be considered offensive for some reason(they were all native Japanese waiting staff apart from one Scandinavian bloke) so I didnt push the issue, but felt very stingy not leaving them anything after such excellent service, generosity and great food.
There is a massive selection of dishes on the Moshi Moshi menu but I see very little point in listing them all here, since I can only talk about my personal experiences and all a full menu can be found on their website:
OTHER MOSHI MOSHI FACTS
~~ There are five restaurants in the Moshi Moshi chain; the one I went to at Liverpool street, one at Canary Wharf which I went to a while back, but is really a sectioned off area of the Waitrose supermarket. You'll find the others at Broadgate Circle, Ludgate Circus and Brighton (the honorary non-London member of the group)!
~~ The restaurants are fully licensed and there is a very good choice of wine
~~ Moshi Moshi recently launched a new membership scheme called, rather unimaginatively, Member Moshi. This offers numerous discounts, offers and incentives, more information on which can be found on their website or you can call 020 7377 5005.
~~ Moshi Moshi have been popular with the press, here is a selection of quotes that I found on their website, quite impressive:
"Moshi Moshi is wonderful...the fish is fresher and tastier than anywhere else this side of Tokyo" Daily Express
"Simple and Inspired" The Independent
"Moshi Moshi has attracted a fanatical following" The Times
"Moshi Moshi is very good news indeed" Daily Telegraph
So there you go, now it's over to you to try it for yourselves!
We have much to learn about Japanese food in the UK. I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of Japanese restaurants I would make an effort to get to in London; unfortunately, Moshi Moshi is way of the finger league. Now, what do I base this judgement on? A good place to start is with the condiments. And they do well here. The soy sauce is Japanese (Kikoman), the wasabi is hot, the ginger is good. Not a bad start really, should be downhill from here. But that's what they said about Eddie the Eagle. In Japan, rice is as near to sacred as our rosbif. You need to have good rice to even contemplate good sushi. And it just isn't good at Moshi Moshi. In the 3 times I have tried this restaurant, the rice has been dull. Depressed. Bored. I like sushi rice to be soft, fluffy, zinging with vinegar. This is Blakey from On the Buses. The nori (the seaweed that wraps the sushi) is not good. It is soft, gooey, and lacks any taste. Do yourselves a favour and buy a couple os sheets of seaweed from a Japanese supermarket. And then comapre it to Moshi Moshi's effort. You will see what I mean. The fish is OK, but there was a tendancy to not to use some of the best cuts of salmon and tuna. (By the way, the golden rule with any sushi reataurant is not to eat there on a Monday - the fish is likely to be less than fresh). Unfortunately, the fish was best left sashimi style, as the rice was so poor. The inari (salmon roe) was good, but then again most salmon roe comes from jars anyway. Miso soup tasted like it was from a packet; the soya cubes looked like melting sugar cubes. The overall taste was of Powdery Oxtail Consomee Cup-a-Soup. Lets be fair about this. This restaurant mini-chain is not a disaster if you consider the general quality of sushi on London. Compared to the muck served at Sainsburies and Tescos (shiver), this is really quite OK. But just OK. My advice is to try buying your sushi from sel
friges food counter, buy some good Japanese soy sauce and wasabi, and eat sashimi at home. Or go live in New York. As for restaurants, the is only one worthy of any praise (and having been there twice, Nobu is NOT one of them). Yumi (on George street) is the most authentic Japanese sushi restaurant in town. Save up by not going to Moshi Moshi 3 times. You will not regret it.
You may have read about the Japanese tradition of conveyer belt restaurants; places where you sit around a bar with a belt in the middle while food whizzes past you at speed. You select something that takes your fancy, grab it as it whooshes past, and repeat ad nauseam. Literally. I love this place. Quite apart from the fun way the food is presented, it's really fantastic sushi. The fish is fresh, the sushi properly hand made, there is ample wasabi and ginger at the bar, and the selection is enormous. At the Liverpool Street branch you'll often see a burly Japanese chap clubbing an octopus to exceptional tenderness in the middle of the bar, and preparing it as sushi once it's reached the desired level of succulence. The fainthearted don't need to eat the raw fish, though; there is plenty of vegetarian sushi on offer; cucumber, egg, avocado and seaweed all make star appearances on the conveyer belt of doom. There are fantastic seaweed salads, and cooked gzoya (dumplings) zooming by too; grab the gzoya while they're hot. If there's something you fancy that you don't see whizzing past you, ask one of the friendly staff. They usually have Uni (sea urchin; definitely not for the beginner) in the back, along with smoked eels and all kinds of other exciting stuff. For the sushi virgin, there are a few dishes which it's wise to start off with. It takes time to work up to the octopus. You'll probably enjoy the salmon (you should be used to eating it raw in smoked salmon sandwiches anyway), the tuna and the red snapper. Oilier fishes such as mackerel need a bit of getting used to. Everything that goes past is identified by photo on a little leaflet in front of you, so you know what you're getting. The staff are great; ask them for your drinks (green tea is free) and for miso soup if you fancy it. (Miso soup tip; whoosh it round a bit with your chopsticks first so it's all
mixed up, then sip it from the bowl. Don't worry; you won't look a prat; it's how you're meant to do it.) I am going to ask them how much it costs to be installed under the sake tank next time I go.