Editor's note: this restaurant closed at the end of November 2014.
Chisou in Chiswick is the little sister of Chisou in Mayfair (there is a further branch in Knightsbridge), opening in December 2011. The location is a tricky one, tucked away down an alley way near the local post office, a site that has seen off two previous restaurants in fairly quick succession, albeit undistinguished ones. The executive chef here has worked with the main Chisou restaurant for two decades, so it is to be expected that the cooking will be similar. Fish is supplied partly by Atari-ya (who supply most of the high end Japanese restaurants in London, including Nobu and Umu), and partly sourced from Billingsgate Market. Kodi Aung is notionally the executive chef here, but is generally at one of the other branches. At the Chiswick branch the cooked dishes are the responsibility of Brazilian chef Edson Freitas, and the sushi is made by a Hungarian, Robert Kemeny.
The dining room is smartly decorated, a small room seating 36, with banquette seating around the wall, a central table and also a sushi counter with bar stools; there is also an upstairs bar. There is a short, mostly French, wine list ranging from £18.50 - £70, examples being Louis Roederer NV champagne at £75 for a wine you can find in the high street for £28 and Acequias Malbec Roble 2005 at £32 for a wine that retails at around £11.
The kitchen offers a range of Japanese cooking styles. Barbecued eel with rice was enjoyable, the eel nicely cooked, the cooking juices sinking into the bed of rice and giving it flavour (13/20). There was a pleasant though unremarkable miso soup, and a token salad included with this as a lunch at £20. I also tried a crab roll with avocado, the crab marinated before being added to the roll (13/20).
On a second visit, I tried a mixed lunch of tempura and sushi. Tempura was capable, a pair of nicely cooked prawns with assorted vegetables (including green bell pepper and aubergine), the batter reasonably light (13/20). Sushi had good fish (salmon, prawn, farmed blue fin tuna) but the rice it was served on was cold when it should be room temperature (12/20). It is also a pity that hardly anywhere in the UK bothers to get proper wasabi root, serving just as they do here horseradish with food colouring as their "wasabi".
On a third visit, I enjoyed a good quality and accurately grilled mackerel (easily 14/20) while beef tataki had a nicely balanced ponzu dressing (14/20), though rock shrimp tempura had rather flaccid batter, though the shrimps were cooked well enough (12/20). It is good to see another Japanese restaurant in Chiswick, an area not particularly well served in this department. Although the décor is very smart and the food generally good, I do not think that this branch is yet delivering at the same level as the original Chisou in Mayfair.