Chisou has been established since 2004, though it was originally at a different Mayfair location. The current premises are just off Regent Street, and consist of a ground floor sushi bar and dining room, with a separate sushi bar next door. The main room has grey tiled floor and cream walls, a compact but not cramped space. The head chef is in fact Sri Lankan, but he lived for many years in Japan.
On the lengthy a la carte menu, appetisers range from £4.10 - £11.90, with noodle dishes £8.50 to £12.50 and tempura from £7.90 to £14.80. There was an array of set lunch options, from £14.50 to £20. I opted for the “special” at £19, a mix of sushi and tempura, and added one starter from the a la carte that had been recommended to me by a regular customer. Desserts ranged from £4.50 to £6.80 for chocolate fondant and wasabi ice cream.
The two page, mostly French, wine list had selections such as Kotare Sauvignon Blanc at £26.30 for a wine that cost about £9 to buy in the shops, Domaine Jacques Simonin Pouilly Fuisse Ville Vignes 2006 at £43.50 compared to a shop price of about £16, and Haut Sarpe 2004 at £65 for a wine you can pick up retail for about £35.
The tempura had a light batter, and I particularly liked the prawn tempura (the other elements were salmon and vegetables, including a green bell pepper), since the prawn itself was of high quality and was carefully cooked (4/10).
The sushi was pleasant but less impressive, the prawn again good, but salmon rather lacking in taste and a tuna sushi, using farmed rather than wild blue-fin tuna, pretty ordinary in taste (3/10). The fish here is from a range of suppliers, including Atari-ya. On the side, miso soup was pleasant but unexceptional (3/10) while a salad had decent dressing but very ordinary and unimaginative ingredients, including a tasteless tomato and rather dull cucumber (barely 1/10).
I did enjoy a salad of prawns prettily served on spinach leaves, the prawns fried, chopped up and then served with a well-judged spicy sauce (5/10). Based on this limited experience, perhaps a la carte is the way to go here.
Service was excellent throughout. The bill came to £28.50 for lunch (before tip), with no alcohol. Overall, this was very capable Japanese cooking, though as ever in the UK it is constrained to some extent by the quality of the ingredients, especially the fish and vegetables, that can be obtained here.