Modern Japanese dining at Tsunami, Clapham
Nobu is held up as an example of modern Japanese dining sine qua non, but the lucky residents of Clapham, SW London, can enjoy the same quality cuisine for a fraction of Park Lane prices. The owner of Tsunami spent six months at Nobu, during which time he picked up plenty of inspiring ideas, but also developed his own.
And how. On the night we went, Tsunami was packed – and it was good to see plenty of Asian diners tucking in too. The point of Tsunami is that it offers modern Japanese, so some of the sashimi will have been anointed with a little olive oil; while purists may not approve, this does mean that it’s a more accessible type of Japanese dining than the relentless raw fish and wasabi approach.
Our meal kicked off with a selection of truly superb starters. Nasu goma (grilled aubergine with sesame paste) wasn’t the most appetising of dishes visually but the flavour was intense and wonderful: grilling the aubergine really added depth, while the sesame paste was nutty and gorgeous – a real treat). We also enjoyed Tuna sashimi from the Sunkiss Seafood selection: seared in olive oil and drizzled with ponzu and Kataifi prawns (prawns wrapped in kataifi pastry – a bit like filo – with creamy spicy sauce).
Other highlights followed, especially the Snow Crab Shu Mai – steamed dumplings filled with snow crab and prawns, and Beef Tataki Salad (seared beef with baby leaf salad and yuzu dressing). These were examples of Japanese Lite if you like – Japanese dishes given a modern twist and masses of contemporary appeal.
Oriental style seasonal vegetables accompanied our Grilled Black Cod in Sweet Miso – for me, an absolute dream of a dish, chunky black cod with a sweet miso sauce to enhance the natural sweetness of the succulent fish. Dynamite Beef also went down well – Scottish Angus with a chilli sauce. The only slightly disappointing dish for me was the Wasabi Lamb – lamb with creamed leeks, oriental mushrooms and wasabi pepper sauce – which, with the sauce added, was just a tad over rich.
What would be on offer for dessert, I wondered? Surprisingly – and not altogether successfully in my view – one of the desserts on offer was mango cheesecake. While mango is undeniably Oriental, the cheesecake felt a little out of place. The other dessert we enjoyed was, however, a total triumph: crispy gyoza – crescent-shaped small fritters, filled with nashi pear and chocolate and served with Pedro Ximenez sherry and chilled yamazaki – a mixture of 10 year old whisky and yuzu (Japanese citrus fruit wine). Highly recommended.
Tsunami isn’t cheap – count on £40-50 per head – but it does offer 20% off if you dine before 7pm; there’s also another branch in Charlotte Street, W1.
Tsunami, 5-7 Voltaire Street, Clapham, London SW4 6DQ (020 7978 1610 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 020 7978 1610 end_of_the_skype_highlighting). www.tsunamirestaurant.co.uk/
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