After Yum Yum and Mercado Atique Choudhury has now set his sights on Japan. Oishiii, a Japanese “Eatery” (that’s a restaurant in old money), opened its doors on Stoke Newington Church Street last week, and we had a good look at it last night.
Oishiii looks great, no doubt about it. Everything from the big open kitchen to the toilets has been designed to look the part. I was quite worried that after the bland and overpriced food you get at Mercado Oishiii might have gone down another notch but I’m pleased to say that’s not the case.
The menu offers most of the standards you’d expect to find. No surprises there. We started off with a mix of Yakitori (barbecued skewers of meat or seafood) and Sushi, and then had a couple of mains with some sake to finish us off.
The Yakitori was good. Maybe the chicken was a bit dry but both it and the squid came smothered in sauce so it wasn’t too bad at all. The Sushi, and I know this is the biggest draw as it’s been notoriously absent from Stokey so far, was pretty great. The Salmon Nigiri was thinly cut and wrapped itself nicely around the rice, just the way it should be. The Tuna Hand Roll had a bit of a stringy bit on the Tuna but was also delicious, fresh, and a perfect balance of rice to yummy stuff.
The service was at this point maybe a bit over-eager… courses (as we thought of them) came in a bit too quick for comfort, but I’ve since been told that that’s my problem as there’s no such thing as courses for Sushi, Yakitori and Bento unless you ask for them. Silly me!
The Bento boxes (Teriyaki Salmon and Sirloin Steak) came with rice, Edamame, plain salad and some nice pickles. All in all everything was superbly done. The salmon was soft and juicy, not the dry and almost solid thing you get a lot these days. The steak was a bit too far gone down the BBQ road but then we didn’t ask for anything in particular, and the taste was great with just the right amount of pepper. We should mention that the mains are almost stupidly good value at the moment… £5.50 for the salmon and £6.50 for the steak. Get there quick before they notice their folly!
We finished the evening off with some nice Ozeki Ginkan sake (it was all Asahi before) which is how things should be in a Japanese “Eatery” (I’ll get over it sooner or later). Unfortunately there was no space left for deserts, but the promise of Green Tea ice cream and pancakes will definitely make us come again.
So how good is Oishiii? Are there better Japanese restaurants in London? For sure, and with much more varied menus. Is it worth leaving Stokey to get there? Nah, not really.
We came out happy and full, and our wallets weren’t that much lighter. Value for money is defintely great at the moment but we’ve got a bad feeling this might change sooner rather than later. Vegetarians will go home hungry by the way, maybe the one downside we could pick out.
A big thumbs up then, let’s hope Oishiii stays this way!
Now somebody please sort out the food at Mercado…