Looking for the right sushi set in a shop at lunchtime is something of a quest for a work of art – only one that will be eaten.
Every box on a shelf contains sleek pieces of bright pink or reddish fish, laid perfectly over a nub of squeezed white rice; or little rolls filled with the most colourful vegetables, with sides of beans and sesame. It’s mouthwatering just to look at.
A staple in North America, where the California roll was born, for decades, sushi is now popular in much of Europe, too.
Vibrant, healthy and bite-sized, sushi is so much a part of food culture in the UK you can buy it in Boots.
But that’s diluting it slightly as making sushi is a craft that dates back to 8th-century Japan, when fermented rice was used to store fish. Only centuries later did rice as we know it join the package.
If you’re looking to step away from the chain experience of Itsu and Yo Sushi! here are some options..
Moshimo doesn’t just stop at its Japanese menu. Its whole design and interior take inspiration from tradition. Sliding “shoji” screens create a traditional Japanese room, setting the restaurant up for the summer. Aesthetics aside, Moshimo is an ethical company, supporting campaigns to bring the mainstream fishing industry into line: it does not serve fish that is listed as “fish to avoid” by the Marine Conservation Society.
Food and drink news
Food and drink news
1/26 New York restaurant named best in the world
A New York restaurant where an average meal for two will cost $700 has been named the best in the world. Eleven Madison Park won the accolade for the first time after debuting on the list at number 50 in 2010. The restaurant was praised for a fun sense of fine-dining, “blurring the line between the kitchen and the dining room”
2/26 Why you crave bad food when you’re tired
Researchers at Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University in Chicago recently presented their results of a study looking into the effects of sleep deprivation upon high-calorific food consumption. Researchers found that those who were sleep-deprived had “specifically enhanced” brain activity to the food smells compared to when they had a good night’s sleep
3/26 Drinking wine engages more of your brain than solving maths problems
Drinking wine is the ideal workout for your brain, engaging more parts of our grey matter than any other human behaviour, according to a leading neuroscientist. Dr Gordon Shepherd, from the Yale School of Medicine, said sniffing and analysing a wine before drinking it requires “exquisite control of one of the biggest muscles in the body”
4/26 British dessert eating surges after people ditch healthy eating in February
: In heartening news for anyone feeling guilty about quitting their New Year diet, it seems lots of us have given in to our sweet tooths once again. New data from nationwide food-delivery service Deliveroo reveals there was a surge in Brits ordering desserts in February compared to the first month of 2017
5/26 US congress debates definition of milk alternatives
A new bill has been created that seeks to ban dairy alternatives from using the term ‘milk’. Titled the DAIRY PRIDE Act, the name is a tenuous acronym for ‘defending against imitations and replacements of yogurt, milk, and cheese to promote regular intake of dairy every day’. It argues that the dairy industry is struggling as a result of all the dairy-free alternatives on the market and the public are being duped too
6/26 Cadbury’s launches two new chocolate bars
UK confectionary giant Cadbury has launched two new chocolate bars, hoping to lure those with a sweet tooth and perhaps help combat some of the challenges it faces from rising commodity prices and a post-Brexit slump in the value of the pound.The company’s new products will be peanut butter and mint flavoured. They will be available in most major super markets as 120g bars, priced at £1.49, according to the company
7/26 You can now get a job as a professional chocolate eater
The company responsible for some of your favourite chocolate brands – think Cadbury, Milks, Prince and Oreo – have officially announced an opening to join their team as a professional chocolate taster. The successful candidate will help them to test, perfect and launch new products all over the world.
8/26 MSG additive used in Chinese food is actually good for you, scientist claims
For years, we’ve been told MSG (the sodium salt of glutamic acid) - often associated with cheap Chinese takeaways - is awful for our health and to be avoided at all costs. But one scientist argues it should be used as a “supersalt” and encourages adding it to food.
9/26 Lettuce prices are rising
Not only are lettuces becoming an increasingly rare commodity in supermarkets, but prices for the leafy vegetables seem to be rising too. According to the weekly report from the Government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, a pair of Little Gem lettuces had an average market price of £0.86 in the week that ended on Friday, up from an average of £0.56 in the previous week – that’s an almost 54 per cent increase.
10/26 Food School
Kids celebrate Food School graduation with James Martin – a campaign launched by Asda to educate young people on where food comes from. New research has revealed that children across the UK just aren’t stepping up to the plate when it comes to simple facts about the food they eat – with almost half of children under eight not knowing that eggs come from chickens
11/26 ‘Do-It-Yourself’ restaurant
To encourage more people to cook and eat together, IKEA has launched The Dining Club in Shoreditch – a fully immersive ‘Do-It-Yourself’ restaurant . Members of the public can book to host a brunch, lunch or dinner party for up to 20 friends and family. Supported by their very own sous chef and maître de, the host and their guests will orchestrate an intimate dining experience where cooking together is celebrated and eating together is inspirational
Mikael Buck / IKEA
12/26 Ping Pong menu with a twist
Gatwick Airport has teamed up with London dim sum restaurant Ping Pong to create a limited edition menu with a distinctly British twist; including a Full English Bao and Beef Wellington Puff, to celebrate the launch of the airport’s new route to Hong Kong
13/26 Zizzi unveil the Ma’amgharita
Unique pizza art has been created by Zizzi in celebration of the Queen’s 90th birthday. The pizza features the queen in an iconic pose illustrated with fresh and tasty Italian ingredients on a backdrop of the Union Jack
14/26 Blue potatoes make a comeback
Blue potatoes, once a staple part of British potato crops, are back on the menu thanks to a Cambridge scientist turned-organic farmer and Farmdrop, an online marketplace that lets people buy direct from local farms. Cambridge PhD graduate-turned farmer, Adrian Izzard has used traditional growing techniques at Wild Country Organics to produce the colourful spuds, packed with healthy cell-protecting anthocyanin, which had previously disappeared from UK plates when post-war farmers were pushed towards higher-yielding varieties
15/26 France plans to usurp Scotland as the home of the world's best whisky
France is planning to usurp Scotland’s reputation as the home of the world’s best whisky, fired by a growing national obsession with the drink. According to a study by retail consultants Bonial, the French drink more whisky than any other country – an average of 2.15 litres a year, compared to 1.8 litres in second-placed Uruguay and the US in third on 1.4 litres
Bloomberg via Getty Images
16/26 The price of an avocado is set to rise
Britain’s avocado lovers are facing a significant increase in the cost of their favourite salad food because the so-called superfood is becoming too popular. High demand from health-conscious consumers has led Peru to triple its avocado exports since 2010, with exports to the UK up 58% over the past year
17/26 Eating cereal may not be the healthiest way to start the day
The old saying goes that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so many of us do as we are told and grab a bowl of cereal before we head out the door. But an expert has warned that while many cereals boxes claim their contents are the perfect start to the day, many are packed full of sugar and carbohydrates with little nutritional value. Even some seemingly-health muesli cereals have a lot of added sugar in the form of honey, malt, molasses, dried fruit or “even fruit juice”
18/26 Crisps made with real ingredients
Michelin starred chef, Simon Rogan in action cooking a menu inspired by the provenance ingredients in the new Chef’s Signature range from Kettle Chips. Kettle Chips, the nation’s favourite premium crisp brand, has launched the new range of crisps with exciting new seasonings, made with the highest quality food ingredients rather than chemicals or artificial flavours
19/26 Japanese whisky crisis
Suntory’s chief blender Mr. Fukuyo San blends component whiskies to create Suntory Yamazaki Distiller’s Reserve, a blend of young and old single malts. Japan’s warm climate and varied seasons makes it perfect environment to age and blend whiskies, creating subtle, refined and complex expressions.The recent trend for Japanese whisky has put the spirit on the verge of a global shortage
20/26 Non-alcoholic cocktails are seriously chic
We are living through a new era of creative, non-alcoholic drinks that go way beyond a coke or sweet mocktail. The world is becoming more health conscious. There's the war on sugar, and teetotalism is on the rise, with more than one in five not drinking at all (especially young adults), according to The National Statistics for Adult Drinking Habits. This abstinence is even more pronounced in London, with almost one in three turning away from alcohol. An increasing number of mixologists are applying their talents to the creation of non-alcoholic drinks that taste as good as their boozy alternatives
21/26 'Heat map' shows which areas of Britain enjoy the spiciest curries
After Bradford was named the Curry Capital of Britain for the fifth year running, a map has been released showing which regions of Britain enjoy a spicy curry and which prefer the milder variants. According to the map developed by Hari Ghotra, Kent, Essex, West Yorkshire and Lancashire are the heat-handling kings of Britain, while Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales all prefer milder curries. The data was collected by monitoring the location of social media posts that mentioned names of curries. These were then given a spice rating and were then collated to give each area a score out of 1000
22/26 Guinness to become vegan-friendly
Guinness is set to become vegan friendly for the first time in its 256-year history, as the company announced its plan to stop using fish bladders in its filters
23/26 Why the salmon on your plate might not actually be salmon
Salmon that ends up on the dinner table may not be salmon at all, a study has suggested. The problem of salmon mislabelling has become an increasing issue in the US in the winter months, according to American research published by Oceana. The findings show that 43 per cent of the salmon tested was mislabelled – the most common instance of this being when farmed Atlantic salmon was sold as wild salmon
24/26 How dangerous is a bacon sandwich
A recent WHO report warning that processed and red meats can cause cancer may have left you thinking a little harder about whether to pick up that bacon butty for breakfast or ditch a beef-filled Bolognese for dinner - but how worried should we be? The review of 800 studies for the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) prompted global health experts to cast processed meats - including bacon, ham and sausages - into the ominous-sounding list of group 1 carcinogens, where they joined formaldehyde, gamma radiation and cigarettes. Eating just a 50g portion of processed meat – or two rashers of bacon - a day increases the risk of bowel cancer by 18 per cent, the experts concluded
25/26 New Zealanders are behind a lot of the interesting food and drink stuff happening in the UK
Dark beers are more suited to cold months, so the thinking goes, but in one part of the world they're always popular. "Lots of breweries in New Zealand have got stouts and porters among their best sellers," says Stu McKinlay, one half of the duo behind Wellington brewing company Yeastie Boys. McKinlay recently swapped Wellington for west Kent in order to launch Yeastie Boys in the UK, and he's joined forces with four other breweries (8 Wired, Renaissance, Three Boys, Tuatara) as part of the New Zealand Craft Beer Collective, to promote his country's finest over here
26/26 Additives in popular chicken nuggets
Ingredients, a new book co-created by photographer Dwight Eschliman and food writer Steve Ettlinger distils 25 products, including popcorn, Red Bull and chicken soup, focusing on 75 of the most common food additives and revealing what each one looks like, where it comes from and why it is used. McDonald’s chicken nuggets were found to contain 40 different ingredients. These included dextrose, a sugar also used by shoe makers to make leather more pliable, and corn starch, used for thickening food as well as also being a substitute for petrol
Chefs here use the sustainable “omakase” principle which is all about using what’s available, reducing waste and staying focused on fresh. Plates are colour-coded on a conveyor belt according to price. Unsure? Go for the sharing platter which is chosen by the chefs; or opt for the Moshimo tasting menu which makes use of different cooking techniques, from grilled, fried and steamed dishes. Top it all with a glass of plum wine or sake. moshimo.co.uk
Despite the name’s suggestion that the 38th floor of the Heron Tower is dedicated solely to sushi, it’s actually a fusion of Japanese, Brazilian and Peruvian food. Your waiter will explain this promptly – probably after much confusion – and explain the at first complicated menu. It is fine fusion dining with a view of the metropolis below, where details are not forgotten and perfect pairing of ingredients is key.
The signature dish is a simple Japanese classic: black miso cod, a firm favourite of both staff and customers. Chunky pieces of fish marinated in a gorgeous sticky miso sauce are turned on “antichuchos” – Peruvian mini-skewers – on a Japanese charcoal grill; and served on a bed of sweet and chunky Peruvian corn.
Pick about five plates for two across the eight sections, or four if you opt for large plates, but be warned that some of the large “wagyu” dishes come with a very hefty price tag.
For a taste of the Japanese beef without the cost, go for the delicious and tender wagyu beef gyoza from the small plates. The yellowtail sashimi is delicate and perfect, while the chunky samba rolls are the restaurant’s take on California rolls, using a very bright hue of green-coloured soy paper. Sushisamba.com
Set inside a simple and unassuming restaurant in the Bruntsfield district of Edinburgh, Harajuku prides itself on using family recipes passed down for three generations. These adhere Japan’s tradition of culinary excellence – something its coveted AA rosette is testament to. The menu is vast with 12 sections but for those new to Japanese food, staff here are good at preventing you from committing the cardinal sin of over-ordering.
The salmon naban, one of the newest dishes from the small plates section is unusual in that it’s served chilled. Warning duly issued, the plump meat chunks are dipped into soy and vinegar glaze, making it a must-try, refreshing creation.
For a touch of something local, go for the pork gyoza dumplings that use Scottish outdoors-reared pork. It’s beautifully soft with a touch of crisp on the bottom. There’s also a wealth of other sushi classics including rolls, noodles, tempura and sashimi.
Set main courses range from £10 to £25 – including rice and miso soup. These make a good introduction for people still learning about the world of sushi. Desserts include a choice of pancakes to green tea ice-cream or flavoured rice balls. But if you can’t make it to the restaurant – or are too late as the place fills up – you can also find Harajuku’s street-food stall at Stockbridge market on Sundays. harajukukitchen.co.uk
London: Sushi Shop
This French chain has branches in the capital’s West End and South Kensington and it’s fusion again: Gallic and Japanese. Michelin-starred chef Kei Kobayashi brings even more innovation to sushi with his signature dish, the crunchy vegetable salad and his take on the California roll: the Gyu special roll. This is topped by finely cut beef lacquered with teriyaki sauce.
It packs avocado, carrots, red pepper, fried onions, chilli, chives and coriander. Kei also took inspiration from his famous gravlax recipe to create the salmon gravlax roll, which mixes crunchy turnips and carrots with a spicy tapenade-style sauce. Salad-wise, the red miso cucumber has a sweet and sour sauce made with maple syrup and lime, with crunchy peanuts. mysushishop.co.uk
Beverley, Yorkshire: Ikuko’s Kitchen
If you’re Japanese food mad, Ikuko’s kitchen has practically every class under the sun to master it. From gyoza dumplings, katsu curry and sushi rolls, she also offers classes in savour pancakes, called okonomiyaku, vegetarian and teriyaki chicken. In the sushi roll class you’ll learn how to cook the rice and master three types of rolls: hoso maki, ura maki and te maki. Each class includes a recipe card, so you can make what your learnt again at home, and you can also buy the ingredients and seasonings. Classes are limited to six people and start from £55 or £107 for two. ikukoskitchen.co.uk
New Abbott, Devon: Ashburton Cookery School
With class sizes no more than eight people, you get a dedicated in-depth experience of making sushi, from nigrizushi (hand formed), to makizishi (rolled), temakizushi and sashimi. The half-day course can be either in the morning or afternoon, and you’ll learn about presenting your sushi and the specific rolls to make each type of roll. And of course, you can eat what you make. ashburtoncookeryschool.co.uk
Holloway Road: London Cookery School
Learning to be a sushi master is possible within a few hours even if you’re a complete beginner – well, almost. London Cookery School’s class teaches the basics of rolling and how to handle rice (lightly). Learn how to make ngiri, hosomaki, temaki, ura-makis nad temari sushi over about two hours; ingredients and a trusty rolling mat are provided. Then it’s time to eat the fruits of all that labour. BYO tipple is welcome if elegant Japanese tea is not enough. Take-home notes and recipes provided. londoncookeryschool.co.uk
Simple sushi making kit from Sous Chef, £13.95
Instead of spending money on a post-work takeaway sushi, get creative check out this simple sushi-making kit from Sous Chef. It comes with seven different starter products that are an easy base for personalised nigiri. Included in the kit is sushi rice, nori sheets, wasabi paste, pickled ginger, sushi vinegar and one rolling mat. The only thing missing is the fish or for those who don’t do fish, the appropriate vegetable. Recipe card included – this kit is painless for any beginner “itamae”. souschef.co.uk
Japanese white sushi set for two, Gifts of the Orient, £20.99
If you’re already a culinary master at making sushi, next you need the Japanese white crockery to serve it in. This set of dishes for two comes with pairs of plates, bowls, sauce dishes, chopsticks, spoons and rests. giftsoftheorient.co.uk
Sushi roller kit, LightIntheBox.com, £7
When you’re hungry and short on time, it can be exhausting to donate valuable time to one night’s dinner. For the extra busy sushi lovers, this DIY sushi roller kit allows you to create multiple perfect rolls all at once. By placing your rice and filling ingredients inside the tube, the kit works like a bazooka to shoot out an effortlessly compressed long roll. Once completed, just place the roll on a sheet of nori and cut it up to make several pieces of sushi in minutes. lightinthebox.comReuse content