Saturday, 7 April 2012

Hare & Tortoise

I can’t actually remember the very first time we ate here; we’ve eaten here a lot over the past 10 years. It’s almost the very last shop/restaurant as you head out of Putney towards Cheam. It’s one of a small chain and I do know that my monster-in-law ate in the Kensington branch, saying it was very good, and that “the sushi was very fresh”.

We always try to get there as close to midday on a Sunday as possible, as it gets very busy. Also, if you get there just that little bit too late, you end up with one of the two tables in the window – the huge, plate glass window that welcomes the sun all afternoon, dazzling you throughout your meal. We always ask for whichever free table is furthest into the restaurant towards the back of the large room.

The staff are, according to reviews of the restaurant elsewhere, stereotypical insofar as the females are polite and occasionally smile, whereas the males are gruff, unsmiling, bordering on rude. I must say though, that no behaviour has put us off going. Yet.

When we eat here, we are subconsciously saying “let’s eat something delicious but familiar. We always eat the same thing, but we love the place for that. Why order something else when what we get is so tasty?”

Experience has taught us that just because you order in the order you would like to eat – you state your starter first, then your main course - doesn’t mean that’s the order this meal will come in. In fact, it doesn’t even mean that you will all receive you food at the same time.

I should apologise, even at this early stage, for my photographs. They look a bit washed out, a bit pale. I’m not entirely sure why this has happened. My camera, albeit a point and shoot, normally makes my food look far better than this. I think I’ll blame that sunlight I was complaining about earlier.

M and I both ordered green tea, water for Annabel (her favourite drink, honest!) and Carrot and Apple juice for Joseph.

Come to think of it, my son has more refined taste buds than me, so I will report what he had to say about his thirst quencher.

“Mmm …. delicious”.

Our order went something like this. We ordered a mixed sushi box, which consists of 7-8 pieces of sushi, along with 6 maki rolls. Although the sushi box option works out cheaper overall, I really think we have to start looking at other alternatives. Allow me to explain. With M being allergic to egg, I get the omelette sushi by default. The children love the fish eggs which sit upon the ikura, so that piece looks a bit sparse by the time they’ve finished with it. The eel goes to M, thanks to my main course being entirely made up of exactly that. Add to this the fact that Annabel likes the maki rolls and BANG, what am I left with? A bit of tuna or a piece of salmon which are a bit everyday, although delicious, admittedly.

My main course, as I’ve touched on, is Unagi Don, or curried eel. If you’ve ever eaten in a pie and mash shop and hated the jellied eels, trust me, these are nothing like those. The eel is served on a large bowl of sticky rice, with pickles and covered in (I believe to be) kabayaki sauce and a small covered bowl of miso soup. No surprises but consistently delicious. Superb.

Joseph and Annabel both take prawn tempura; 3 very large prawns in a deliciously light batter, albeit a little greasy, and is served with a dipping sauce. Both agree this is, “delicious”. I agree this is the same adjective as Joseph used for his drink but to be honest, I don’t manage to get a great deal out of them when they’re hungry. It’s for the best.

M is the one person among us who often orders slightly differently but not this time; Singapore noodles with no egg. Unfortunately, no comment came from her general direction, but this should be taken as a good thing. I must admit to not taking a single shot of M’s dish for your reflection for which I apologise. However, I can report that she thinks her dish had, “the right balance of tang and spice”.

As you can see, tasting and describing food comes easier to my wife than it does me. I did ask if she would be kind enough to tell you all about our eating out experiences but she is a tad busy right now.
Perhaps next time.

Or the time after that.

As we were finishing, my good friend Michael Caine and his wife Shakira stopped in – I told them we’d be there – and astonishingly, they ordered exactly the same dishes as us.

Their verdict?


296-298 Upper Richmond Road
SW15 6TH

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