Sushi Tetsu opened in June 2012, headed by Toru Takahashi, who previously worked for seven years at Nobu. Toru was brought up near Sendai but moved to Kobe to go to college (where he studied British History) before training as a sushi chef. He came to England in 2000. The sushi bar is very much of the style that you see in Japan, with a simple wood counter, and just seven seats in total, allowing the full attention of the chef.
On a second visit in December 2012 the standard of the meal was even higher than at my first visit. The chef used real wasabi (both Japanese and English-grown for comparison) and made his own excellent pickled ginger. The dish quality was very high, for example bream was even better than at my first visit, as was the tuna. Sea bass and turbot was also excellent at this meal.The chef and his wife provide a charming service experience to their diners to complement the excellent fish. Sushi Tetsu is quite clearly the best sushi restaurant in London.
The notes below are from a meal in July 2012.
You can eat a nine piece set of sushi for £38 (or go a la carte), but I went for the full works “omakase” and let the chef choose for me. The meal began with a plate of sashimi: sea bream, horse mackerel, salmon, tuna and sweet shrimp. I am usually pretty cynical about London sushi bars, as most of the top places use the same large supplier (Atari Ya), and the fish quality is usually decent but moderate. Here they use a smaller supplier, and more attention has been placed to the quality of the fish than is usual in London. This was shown with the sea bream. I have had a lot of sea bream in Japan, and even there it can be chewy, but the one on the plate here was excellent, with good flavour. The salmon, horse mackerel and shrimps were not quite in this league, but were still very good (15/20, more for the bream). It was a pity to see the usual “wasabi” from a tube rather than the real thing; wasabi root is costly to buy in London, but is incomparably better than the coloured paste that most places use.
A sequence of sushi then followed, the rice at body temperature as it should be, the seasoning of soy or vinegar applied individually to each piece by the chef as required. Sea bass was good, as were turbot and then tuna, followed by very good horse mackerel. The only dip in quality was with the squid, which had a hint of chewiness, which you do not find in the top sushi places in Tokyo like Sushi Saito. Seared tuna belly followed, then good mackerel, then excellent freshwater eel. The meal concluded with a roll of toro tuna with pickled radish. The chef even makes the traditional tomago cake that signifies the end of a sushi meal. The bill, with bottled water came to £83 for one. Beer was £3 a bottle. The chef himself speaks excellent English and was happy to chat to the customers. There is a limit to how good sushi can ever really be in London due to the fish quality here compared with the amazing markets in Japan, but Sushi Tetsu is making far more effort than is usually seen. This is the best sushi I have eaten in London.