228 Merton Road, London, SW19 1EQ, United Kingdom

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Takahashi is a small Japanese restaurant in a parade of shops quite near South Wimbledon tube station. It opened in December 2015 and is a husband and wife business. Nobuhisa Takahashi trained as a kaiseki chef in Chiba before moving to London, where he worked at Nobu prior to opening his own restaurant here. His very charming wife Yoku runs the front of house.

The menu offers sushi but also a range of other styles of food, from tempura through to imported Japanese beef. It was grating to see some dishes described as “tapas”, but then again this does not seem to be aiming for traditional Japanese food – the black cod made famous at Nobu appears here for example. Tasting menus were available from £45 - £78. 

I tried akami tuna, snow crab and eel nigiri. The crab was distinctly uninspiring if you have eaten crab in Hokkaido, for example at the stunning Sushizen. However the tuna was fine and the eel was actually very good. The rice used was from Toyama prefecture. Sushi rice should be body temperature, and although this was at least not fridge cold it was distinctly cooler than it would be served in Japan, though its texture was good (13/20 average). It was a pity, though, to see powdered “wasabi” (actually coloured horseradish) used here rather than freshly grated wasabi root, which is a real joy when you encounter a good quality specimen. I liked the slightly spicy tuna rolls, with reasonable tuna and nicely judged level of spicing (13/20).

Tempura prawn was filled out with tempura of oyster mushroom, shiso (perilla) and carrot, the latter actually having very good flavour. The prawns were cooked correctly though the tempura batter was far from the ethereally light creature to be found at top Tokyo restaurants like Nanachome Kyoboshi (13/20). Tamago (layered egg omelette) is the traditional end to a sushi meal, and it was available here, made by the chef, and very capable it was too (13/20).

The bill came to £67 per head with Kirin beer to drink. This is not unreasonable for a Japanese meal, though at this price they could surely afford to buy a wasabi root. Overall, Takahashi was a very pleasant experience. If you are used to eating in Japan it will seem quite ordinary, but then that is true of just about anywhere in London. The sushi was quite some way off the league of that at Sushi Tetsu, but it was pleasant enough, and certainly Takahashi shines like a beacon in the culinary tundra that is Wimbledon. 

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