TEMAKI

Japanese, Sushi·
££££
·
Gold Award

SquareMeal Review of TEMAKI

Gold Award

There are plenty of places in London claiming to serve good sushi, but few of them have as great a claim as Temaki. The new opening in Brixton market - supposedly the first and only handroll bar in the capital - blends a casual dining atmosphere with high quality ingredients and an innovative menu that is well worth travelling across town for.

The menu is not extensive but provides enough variety to ensure you’ll want to come back again and again. It’s in two parts - the temaki and a selection of small plates. For the unfamiliar, temaki are handrolls made of a seaweed cone filled with rice and fish. But to reduce it to its composite parts is to do it a disservice when you have chef Shaulan Steenson in charge.

Steenson, who trained in Japan, starts building the temaki with his golden Uruchimai rice, brushed with umami flavours, and topped with everything from BBQ eels (utterly delicious) to prawn tempura. We had the crab with egg yolk and white soy, miso aubergine with sesame, and otoro tuna (a fattier and tastier cut than the akami). Each more mouthwatering than the last, we couldn’t resist ordering a second round.

We supplemented our temaki with a selection of small plates: the miso soup (flavoursome broth with a kick), the salmon tataki with pickled onions, the monkfish kara age with spicy mayo, and the two daily specials - the tuna and tempura vegetables. Every one of the dishes at Temaki centres phenomenal ingredients, which are cleverly prepared.

The pared-back wood and concrete interiors have a slight Scandi vibe, and sitting at the communal counter, diners are invited to not only enjoy the theatre of their meal being prepared in front of you, but to engage with the highly knowledgeable staff and the raw produce. But this is no Yo! Sushi conveyor belt, Temaki is sophisticated and elegant while feeling relaxed.

Finishing with a surprise off-menu dessert from a bakery elsewhere in the market summed up our time at Temaki: staff going above and beyond, even when faced with some tech-related teething problems, to ensure guests are fed and watered (the sakura yuzu negroni cocktail is a must order) and are planning a return trip before they’ve finished their food.

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - £30 - £49
Cuisines
Japanese, Sushi
Ambience
Cool, Fun, Quirky
Food Occasions
Dinner
Alfresco And Views
Outside seating
Special Features
Chef’s table, Counter dining

About TEMAKI

London’s first – and to our knowledge, only – handroll bar finds its home in Brixton Village. TEMAKI is headed up by Shaulan Steenson, the restaurant’s executive chef who also happens to be a Japanese rice specialist.

While rice might seem like a filler food, here it has been elevated to hero status and is the focus of the main dish – the handrolls. Instead of being treated in the normal way (with salt, vinegar and sugar), using his experience in some of Tokyo’s best sushi restaurants, Steenson has devised a signature style to elevate the rice in his restaurant. The secret lies in the use of Japanese red vinegar, which gives each grain a golden hue and a rich, aromatic flavour that pairs perfectly with fresh fish.

Fillings for the handrolls – aside from the rice – are premium. Combinations include white and brown crabmeat with egg yolk and white soy; tuna, fresh wasabi and Nikiri soy; and ‘Unagi’ eel, with its own sauce, cucumber, wasabi. Aside from the crowd-pleasing favourites, there is also a innovative monthly specials to ensure the menu continuously evolves. A small selection of additional plates completes the food line up, featuring things link salmon skin crisps with chilli and salt and sashimi options.

Interiors are pared-back for a modern minimalism that creates a calming atmosphere. Think industrial concrete flooring and a central bar where the chefs work from. Each wrap is hand-prepared in front of guests and handed over immediately to ensure utmost freshness (while also adding a little theatre too). Tables are both inside and outside, allowing guests to enjoy the vibrancy of Brixton Village (which you might be pleased to know is covered).

The food menu is accompanied by a range of wines, sakes and Japanese beers as well as batch-made cocktails created specifically for TEMAKI.

Location for TEMAKI

12 market row, London, SW9 8LB

Website


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