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13 June 2011
Of the nine circles of hell, I am pretty sure that, along with call centres, shopping malls, low cost airlines and Old Trafford, there is one that is conference hotels. Maybe even a Bolgia for ones on roundabouts. The Park Plaza is as dreadful a conference hotel as you could hope to find.
One thing that I have learnt from time spent in Japan is that the worse looking the restaurant, the better the food is going to be. Joel Robuchon’s three star place in Tokyo is in a grand, faux palace, dripping with gold and chandeliers. It is not very good. Hachiro Mizutani’s equally anointed place is behind an anonymous door, in dingy a basement of a non-descript tower block. It is fantastic; as exquisite a piscine morsel as you will ever put between your lips.
So Ichi Sushi should be right up there. Decor is muted, the one window has a terrific view over Westminster Bridge and the three big fishtanks behind the counter are actually TV screens, showing SIMS Aquarium. In 3D. Which is really rather surreal without glasses. Maybe you’re expected to bring them from the IMAX down the road.
The food is fine, the fish is fresh, the yuzu dipping sauce with the spider roll a nice touch, and certainly more interesting than the standard soy sauce, wasabi and ginger, and the sushi rice perfectly acceptable. No uni though. Always the mark of a good sushi restaurant is if they have uni.
If you happen to find yourself trapped in a conference here, I suggest that you slip out as the rubber chicken is being served at lunch and sit up here at the counter, in this oddly calming monochromatic space.
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