For some reason I have writers block and my mind isn't in it at the moment so please excuse the lack of finesse with this post...i'll get it back, I promise!
My cousin is currently a non-Londoner (he used to be) therefore, he is determined to get his fill of sushi before he heads back 'up North' and I am more than happy to be his guest. Last night I decided to take him to a local wonder that is, Tokyo Retro in Abbeville 'village'.
They are working hard here to create more of an atmosphere, which it lacked in slightly on first opening. But, they have changed the layout, covered the windows slightly and added pictures and softer lighting - much better!
On arrival we ordered some drinks and the boys asked me to order for us claiming they were 'starving'. So, I settled on two dishes from each section, missing out the ramens and rice dishes in favour of more 'sharing' plates.
We started with a sashimi salad made up of tuna, salmon and four cucumber wrapped sushi rolls served with a carrot and, I believe, white radish. As with all the fish here it is top quality and really, really fresh. A simple, pleasant dish to start those taste buds off with.
The octopus was ever so slightly less successful in that the occasional piece was a little tough but, still the batter was as above and otherwise pretty much spot on and served again, with that delectable spicy sauce.
One of my staple things to order when eating Japanese is the miso baked aubergine. Such a simple (and vegetarian) dish made to really sing and shout. In this case, Tokyo Retro's version did not disappoint. The aubergine was so tender and silky grabbing a good spoonful with the sweet and savoury sauce made for an extremely enjoyable mouthful.
Ordered almost every time I see it on (any) menu is soft shelled crab. Naturally, I pounced on this when it arrived. The tempura version here is incredibly delicate and crisp leaving the meat still succulent and juicy showing there's a lot of skill behind this kitchen door (head chef is ex Nobu).
Next up was the wonderful sushi selection consisting of tuna, hamachi, salmon, prawn and Ikura (salmon eggs). Beautifully plated and served, as it traditionally should be, on ice.
Rolls were equally as delicious. We chose the spicy tuna and another of salmon and crab. Executed well, and filled generously with fish, cucumber and a different mayonnaise for each. The sushi rice was spot on with a slight stickiness to it and served at room temperature. If you're one for only ever having a chain restaurant sushi lunch (don't get me wrong I have this almost 3 times a week!) you will never have appreciated how good the rice is when served correctly like this. It makes for a totally different sushi eating experience and an even more enjoyable mouthful.
Fast becoming a Tokyo Retro signature dish is their jumbo shrimp tempura. The photo sadly doesn't show the scale of this shrimp but it is huge! Served with two spicy sauces and a warmed soy. A must have when dining here.
Not quite satisfied in filling our tummies we then decided a couple of dishes off their 'hot main' section of the menu, one being a staple Japanese dish, teriyaki chicken. Coated in that gloriously sweet, tangy and sticky sauce the chicken as previously said was cooked beautifully and the sauce gave a fantastic sheen. Served with a refreshing cucumber crab salad, japanese omelette and salad. Really enjoyable and one of the better versions we had all tasted before visiting here.
Lastly (we were finally beginning to feel stuffed!) came the grilled salmon and scallops with miso butter sauce. This, sadly, was a dish that none of us really enjoyed but, in hindsight that may be because we had previously scoffed so many clean and simple flavours that the buttery sauce just didn't go down well. It was very rich and sadly overpowered the delicate scallops which were, on the other hand, cooked perfectly! It just wasn't to our taste(s).
Us Claphamites are lucky to have such a local gem that is Tokyo Retro. It deserves to be successful. The staff are so utterly charming that I want them to be a big part of our community. The food is of incredible quality, always super fresh, and there’s wonderful skill going on in that kitchen. Approx £50-60pp incl. booze.
Address: 57 Abbeville Road, London SW4 9JW
Phone:020 3302 7574 (Closed Mondays and Sundays)