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Chaos at Sushinho

By on 1 March 2009 in Food & drink

Chaos at Sushinho
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Like any loving offspring, here at  The Guide we love bumping into our parents. But not in the shower in the morning. Our point? There’s a time and a place for everything. Serve up even the most welcome of dishes at the wrong time and it’s going to leave your guests feeling rather funny about themselves. The manager of Sushinho, it would seem, enjoys showering with his parents.   

As we were halfway through a rather good assortment of sushi and sashimi, three shots of cocktails landed at our table. When we pointed out to our smiling but somewhat gormless waitress that we hadn’t ordered them, she said they were on the house. Ordinarily, you won’t hear The Guide questioning drinks on the house. They’re a welcome – almost mystical – event to be embraced graciously, with open mouths. But when you’re inexplicably served shots of espresso martini to accompany your raw fish, you have to wonder how much thought is going on behind the scenes. Unfortunately, this was just one of many little nuggets of chaos at Sushiho’s that night.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Pause. Rewind. Let’s take it from the top.

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Last Saturday, The Guide had something of a staff party. The Prodigal Fool, Lady B and Patito were prowling the King’s Road looking for a good time. We found it incidentally at JuJu a nice little champagne and cocktail bar (look out for a post about that soon) but couldn’t stay because we had a table waiting for us next door at Sushinho.

Sushinho is a Japanese / Brazilian fusion restaurant which we’d been hearing good things about since it opened a few months ago. So, we were excited and in martini-fuelled good spririts as we made our way inside. We were welcomed by a smiling hostess and shown to our table. All was well in the world.

Or so we thought.

The room is a pleasant enough place to be. An expanse of beige punctuated with drystone walls, bamboo, and the occasional errant fern. But we weren’t there for the decor, it was the food we were really looking forward to.

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Brazilian / Japanese fusion may not sound the most enticing but The Guide is quite partial to this kind of thing. We love the likes of Eight Over Eight and E&O. And, of course, the genre has form in the shape of the massively successful Peruvian / Japanese cooking at Nobu.

As soon as the the menus arrived, we started to feel uneasy (actually, just getting our hands on some menus was a challenge. The staff seemed mysteriously reluctant to surrender them.) The menu is rather a confusing mix. There are no starters per se and it’s not always easy to navigate the very different dishes. They range from sashimi to peasant-style Brazilian food. Ordering something appraoching a coherent meal was the first test.

Not to worry , we thought, we’ll enlist the help of our waitress… “Hi, we’ve never been here before, so we’re not sure what or how much to order. Can you help us?” was met with a rather vacant look. The ensuing help was limited. So, we ordered a cross section of dishes trying our best to guess whether or not we were ordering enough: some edamame, the Sushinho sushi platter, a few extra pieces of sashimi, the crispy pork belly with bean puree, and – together with some sautéed greens to accompany them – wagyu beef and jumbo prawns from the grill.  We avoided the more esoteric concoctions such as salmon foie gras or duck breast with sancho pepper and kiwi. A bridge too far for us.

So, we’d ordered a broad selection but, not to worry, we thought, the kitchen will know what to do and will at least send out the dishes in the right order… Nope. The first dish to arrive was the sautéed greens. We watched them slowly go cold as we munched on the second thing to arrive – our edamame – all the while wondering where our sake was. When it became apparent that nothing else was going to arrive until we’d eaten our greens, we diligently did so. They were nice, we remarked, and would have gone nicely with our beef.

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The sushi arrived next as did the unexpected cocktails that you heard about earlier. As we said though, that was far from the only chaotic incident of the night. Our waitress – though pleasant enough – was rarely of any help. She couldn’t identify the cocktails without going back to check with the barman. Later in the evening she returned to our table to announce that they had run out of the chilled sake we’d been enjoying.

Could she suggest an alternative, we asked. She pointed us towards another sake on the menu with the tagline “At its best served warm”, saying “we could chill some of that for you.”  Just as we were considering that almost irresistible offer, another waiter arrived at our table. Waiter Number Two had apparently not received the sake memo because he had with him another bottle of the very same we’d been drinking. “Here’s your sake” he proudly announced.

And the food? Mixed. In general, the simple dishes worked best. The sushi and beef were the highlights. But when the kitchen tried to flex those fusion muscles, things tended to go wrong. The pork belly was a particular low point. It just didn’t work. Neither crispy nor tender, the pork sat on the bean paste which looked unpleasant and, more importantly, was too rich and thick. Not the right accompaniment to the greasy pork.

Towards the end of the meal, the manager overheard us laughing at the chaotic service and disappointing food. Rather than come over and engage us, he preferred to skulk off pretending he hadn’t heard. A real shame because an acknowledgement and an apology go a very long way in our book.

So, if it’s great cocktails and delicious fusion cuisine served up by friendly, competent staff you’re after, head to Sushinho. When you get there, keep walking down the Kings Road. You’ll soon come to the place you’re looking for. Its called Eight Over Eight.

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Chaos at Sushinho

Like any loving offspring, here at  The Guide we love bumping into our parents. But not in the shower in the morning. Our point? There’s a time and a place for everything. Serve up even the most welcome of dishes at the wrong time and it’s going to leave your guests feeling rather funny about […]

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Our editor-in-chief, the self-proclaimed "greatest wit, raconteur and bon vivant of our age", borders on delusional. Over the years, the fool has squandered more money on fast cars, Swiss watches and electronic gadgetry of all kinds than he – or Mrs Fool – cares to remember. Come nightfall, he can invariably be found stumbling out of Dukes mumbling “just one more Martini; I could have handled just one mmmmm… [thud!]”

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  • http://www.TheProdigalGuide.com The Prodigal Fool

    Just in case you need a second opinion, some little known food journalist called A A Gill recently reviewed Sushinho. He’s not as erudite as us, of course, but he seems to share our opinion of the place: http://bit.ly/9glTL