I love sushi. It’s one of the first things I really got into when I started eating fish (after being strict veggie for about 8 years). Done well it is just SO dreamy… those tasty, tasty morsels of fish that just melt in your mouth… so delicious, so moreish. Nom. But sushi does have a major drawback, which is the amount you can eat. Or, more specifically, how much the amount you can eat costs… I find that it’s very easy to VERY quickly spend a LOT of cash on sushi. Especially if you like the good stuff (by which I mean ‘not cucumber rolls’ #whatsthepoint). So, you ask yourself, shall I reign it in, not order everything I want? Or shall I go nuts, take out a mortgage sufficient to purchase a small studio flat in a desirable London postcode and eat sashimi until I grow gills?? Choices, CHOICES *wrings hands*
Enter stage left; Hi Sushi Salsa in the glorious Camden Town to solve this eternal dilemma! Hurrah! You may be wondering HOW this place solves the aforementioned eternal dilemma. Well, Readers, let me tell you how. Because as well as doing a swish à la carte menu full of expensive tasty treats, it also does an – albeit limited – all you can eat menu! ALL YOU CAN EAT SUSHI!! For £18.80!! Amazing, right? And for those of you imagining all you can eat ‘Oriental Buffets’ from the late 90’s/early 00’s and wondering whether I’ve taken leave of my senses let me reassure you, this is a different beast altogether.
When you sit down they’ll give you the normal menu, you have to ask for your AYCE menu (don’t be shy). Looks like this…
You can order five times, and have five dishes per order (they’ll bring enough of each dish for your whole table), though there are some dishes you can only have once (the ‘bonus dishes’). You’ll also get a hot food menu, which you can order 7 dishes from but you only get one crack at that. You’re supposed to be done in an hour and a half but I’ve never known them be too pedantic about that as long as you don’t take the mick.
Before I go on to what we had, I’m going to share my top tips with you, because I’m nice like that.
Top tip number 1: just because you can order 5 dishes at a time, doesn’t mean you should. Towards the end you’ll start filling up so from about order 3 just order your favourites. Same goes for the hot food – it’s not as good as the sushi, so if it doesn’t take your fancy, don’t feel like you have to order all 7 dishes. You’ll get your money’s worth, don’t fret.
Top tip number 2: prioritise the good stuff. Order sashimi and nigiri every time. Unless you feel very strongly about stuff like cucumber rolls, don’t bother. They give you loads and it’ll just take up valuable sashimi space.
Top tip number 3: do NOT drown your sushi in soy sauce, you novice. This goes for all sushi, not just AYCE to be fair, but the added danger with AYCE is if you lace your sushi with salty soy sauce, then eat LOADS of it you end up really thirsty, but also really full. If you’ve ever drunk two pints of squash on a really full stomach you will understand why this is an exceptionally bad idea.
Top tip number 4: spread out the ‘bonus dishes’ dishes, ordering one or two per order until you run out rather than all of them first time. Keeps things interesting.
Top tip number 5: try the salmon skin rolls. Sound weird, but are actually really tasty.
For our first platter we had salmon sashimi and salmon nigiri (refer to top tip 1, above), spicy tuna rolls, spicy salmon skin rolls and shrimp nigiri (one of the ‘bonus dishes’). The salmon was beautiful, almost creamy in the way that only good sushi can be and it just melted in your mouth. The spicy rolls aren’t really spicy, they just have a little dollop of slightly spicy sauce on top which I quite like. As I said before, the salmon skin rolls sound really weird, but they’re delicious. I think the skin must be seasoned then crisped under the grill and then flaked and made into wonderfully tasty, crunchy rolls with a little sesame hit. And doesn’t it all look delightful?
Platter number two we had the sashimi and nigiri again, and the clam sashimi and tuna nigiri from the bonus dishes. Now, I quite like clam, it’s nice to eat something with a bit of texture and the flavour is actually quite delicate, but I can concede that it’s not for everyone. If you haven’t tried it, do give it a go though! The tuna was beautiful, really meaty and tasty AND we randomly got another load on our next platter which was a proper bonus!
We had our last two bonus dishes on our third platter which were the tempura prawn roll and the crispy duck roll. Both delicious, and the duck especially made a nice change. We also had avocado and salmon rolls which were really lovely.
For our hot dishes we ordered edemame beans (obvious choice), wasabi prawns (delicious), tempura prawns (ditto), Japanese spring rolls (meh), sweet potato tempura (again, bit meh) and squid tempura (nice and tender this time, but it can be a bit hit and miss). To be honest, if it were up to me I’d probably have the edemame and the prawns and leave it at that as I like to save space for the sushi, but to each her own and all that!
We were quite full by this point, so to finish up we just ordered two lots of the salmon sashimi because it was JUST THAT WONDERFUL.
I’m not going to pretend that this is the best restaurant in the world, but it’s a brilliant place to take a group of friends for a nice, filling meal that’s a bit different and won’t cost you an arm and a leg. Food plus booze for five of us was just over £30 each including a tip. For the quality of the sushi, that is bloody awesome.