A Sushi-Lover’s Paradise | Sticks ‘n’ Sushi Canary Wharf, 1 Crossrail Place London, E14 5AR
Two very exciting things happened when I visited Sticks’n’Sushi’s latest branch in the new Crossrail development at Canary Wharf. Firstly it was cloaked in grey – one of my favourite colours, just like that Counting Crows song. Secondly, it had a totally different vibe and feel to anywhere I’ve been for ages – thanks to designers Diener & Diener. A huge open space, soft lighting, clothes rails dotted around for your coats, a lengthy bar with an open kitchen, shame we were sat too far away from this for a proper gawp.
Thirdly, the menu has pictures! This part is probably the most exciting, everywhere should do it. The problem is, the menu is huge and a tad complicated. Lucky my sushi-loving dining companion had studied it thoroughly earlier in the day, sushi is one of her favourite things to eat. Unlike Ade and I, we just can’t get on with it, hence why I bought her with me and for the brilliant company she provides too, of course.
In case you don’t know, Sticks is a Skandi-influenced Japanese restaurant group, the Canary Wharf branch is the fourth they’ve opened in London. In Denmark they are one of the most successful restaurant groups, magazines and newspapers in the Nordic region have described Sticks’n’Sushi as ‘the market leader in Japanese cuisine.’
Talking of excited, I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a waitress more excitable than the sweet girl we had, why can’t I be that happy? She recommended the Yuzu Zoo (£9) a citrus martini, which was exactly the drink I had my eye on and just what I needed. Apart from when it spilt on the table all over my phone. That’s the trouble with these grey luxurious textured leather table tops, you can’t slide glasses along without them toppling over. They look so lovely but are not very practical.
My next cocktail – also a recommendation, was the Rhuby Fizz (£9) a long gin-based refreshing drink with English rhubarb liquor and a hint of vanilla. My friend reeled off a list of items she thought we should try whilst I frantically jotted them down. She’s a veggie (kinda) so all the meat was left for me, result! There’s so many sections from which to choose, from vegetables, salad, yakitori sticks, sushi, sashimi, salad bowls oh and dessert, God, the dessert…
Cauliflower by itself is one of the dullest veggies known to man, yet it always surprises me in restaurants by tasting amazing. The Cauliflower fried and served with black sesame truffle sauce (£3.80) was undoubtably the highlight for both of us. So tasty, but a shame the black sesame ink made a mess of our chopsticks and therefore the rest of the food. We must have looked like I was struggling as we were offered a knife and fork instead. The shame.
Ebi bites (£7.50 for six) were gorgeous – tempura prawn with chilli, coriander, pepper, miso aioli and fresh lime, nearly packed inside a great thick crunchy coating. Grilled corn & miso herb butter (£3.80) was a tad tricky to eat, we didn’t know how we were supposed to get the kernels off without an implement so picked them up instead.
My sushi tester was slightly saddened by the crunchy tempura shrimp Hand rolls (£4.80) – purely because the rice ratio was too high. Tuna tartare (£9.50) was a lovely looking dish – scattered with avocado, pine nuts, nori chips and a spicy miso dressing. Likeome calm amongst the stronger flavours.
The Gunkan miso marinated black cod (£8.50 for two pieces) didn’t let us down, although I still cannot get past that seaweed paper. My friend however loves it so much she even eats it naked (the seaweed that is). When I worked with her she used to try and encourage my colleagues and I to join in the fun, no thanks.
As I’m writing this I’m aware of just how much we ate and I’m only half way through – if that. We had to try the yakitori sticks, after all it is called Sticks’n’Sushi. There’s a choice of 23! The winners were the melt in the mouth Scallop in teriyaki (£9.50 for two pieces). Closely followed by the Miso marinated salmon (£5.80 for two pieces). Obviously we only tried a few, not the whole 23 on offer.
On reflection, ordering the Yakiniku steak – premium grass-fed rib eye with Japanese barbecue sauce and kimchi (£19.50) was a step too far. But I’m glad I did as despite the odd super-chewy mouthful it was gorgeously charred, perfectly pink with the kimchi adding a zingy kick.
OK, now we look really greedy but I promise you it’s the menu’s fault. Once you’ve seen the well photographed photos of the food on the menu, it’s a nightmare to not want it all. There’s a dessert with nine little pots of joy (£23) and it looked so amazing we couldn’t resist. Life’s too short for regrets, especially food-based ones.
We did the right thing as every single taster was brilliant and we had a lot of fun working our way around the tray. Yuzu sorbet was a surprising favourite – so fresh and light, not as tangy as other citrus fruits. White chocolate and liquorice mousse topped with raspberry foam sounded like an odd combo but it bloody worked. Those hits of liquorice amongst the fruit and chocolate really dazzled the old taste buds. OK, so it’s expensive choicem but well worth it, quite a showstopper and talking point – especially if you were to come here on a date.
The fear that we’d over ordered was trumped by a couple close by who’d ordered a ridiculously large sushi platter big enough to feed a group. They barely touched it, at least we actually ate all of our food – pretty much anyway. Wasted food is such a pet hate of ours.
After telling my tales of our meal to Ade and him editing this, he’s pretty cross I didn’t take him with me. Better get him down to the one branch of Sticks that’s local to us (ish) in Greenwich for some grub, that’s if my dining partner hasn’t eaten it all, she’s already been back.
1 Crossrail Place, London, E14 5AR
Telephone: 020 3141 8230
Opening Hours: Monday – Friday 7am to 10am and 11.30am to 11pm
Saturday 11.30am to 11pm, Sunday 12am to 10pm
Book a table online
Nearest station: Canary Wharf DLR Station (2 mins walk) Canary Wharf underground (5 mins walk) Heron Quays DLR Station (10 mins walk)
We ate as guests of Sticks ‘n’ Sushi, this does not affect our review in any way. We always write with complete honesty.