Sushinho stems from the largely-unknown fact that Brazil has the biggest Japanese population outside of Japan. (Argentina has the same for Wales, too.)
Spear’s has a very personal connection to Sushinho, the Brazilian-Japanese restaurant which has just opened its second branch in Devonshire Square in the City: one half of the power couple behind it used to be our managing editor.
Already a hit on the King’s Road, where it is frequented by footballers in the lavish clutch of Roman Abramovich and ultra-skinny supermodels who appear to have nowhere to put the food, Sushinho, sitting in the shadow of the Heron Tower, outclasses that tower’s Sushisamba in originality and flavour.
Sushinho stems from the largely-unknown fact that Brazil has the biggest Japanese population outside of Japan. (Argentina has the same for Wales, too.) This has produced a cuisine, in Sushinho’s interpretation, which combines Japanese techniques with Brazilian flavours, tending towards sweeter, surprising versions of familiar dishes.
Take the house rolls. The Sushinho roll has salmon and crab wrapped in cream cheese and deep fried, while the Rio roll has prawn, wasabi-mixed tobiko (fish roe) and a strawberry gel/fruit-leather wrap. They may sound odd, but they are delicious.
The hamachi tartare, spiced with jalapeños and lime, was fresh and not icy; tartares too often seem like they have been taken straight out of the fridge and thus lack any flavour.
The Chelsea Massive Go East
Admiring the handsome new sushi bar, with seats round two sides for a quick lunch, I almost forgot to observe the ladies on vertiginous heels clacking across the wooden floor, fur coats, rustling in their wakes. Transplants from the Chelsea branch (well done them for venturing out of SW3), the former-warehouse vibe of the new Sushinho must have been quite the revelation.
As, in fact, a former warehouse, Sushinho has made a nifty conversion, with a low-lit bar in the basement and a spacious dining room. The room is not carved up into booths and banquettes but has a much more pleasant and neighbourly feel.
Pictured above: The dining room at the new Sushinho on Devonshire Square
The tempura my friend and I could not get enough of, nor the sushi (you see by now quite how much we were eating). By now we had forgotten, after our stomach-empty order, that there were Sushinho plates to come too. Sweet potato dumplings with Perigord truffle and delicious Nameko mushrooms were one of the highlights – delicate and light but deeply flavoured.
While Sushinho is pricey (the house rolls range from £8-12.50 and a ceviche can be £17.50), it makes an enlivening new destination for those in the City.