There are dozens of places to sample sushi in London and we’re happily working our way down the list.
On Friday we decided try a place no one we knew had heard of, in an area we don’t really know at all.
Merton Abbey Mills is on the site of one of the most important monasteries of the 12th Century and is now home to arts and crafts shops and restaurants.
The area is covered in old preserved buildings, including an historic wheelhouse and the old Liberty’s design shop. The buildings are now home to shops and Brazilian, Thai and Caribbean food, among many others.
But it was the sushi at Rock Star Sushi Bar we had travelled from Earlsfield to taste.
The restaurant itself is tiny, with around four tables inside and a few benches outside.
The decoration deserves a mention here as it’s probably time I explain the reason behind the name.
After speaking to the Brazilian owner we discovered that the restaurant mixes his two biggest passions; sushi and rock music.
He moved here because the bands he loves never tour in Brazil and has worked at high-profile places like Zuma and Roka.
There were a couple of guitars hanging on the walls and music played throughout our meal, but not loud enough to be intrusive.
Now (finally) onto the food.
The menu was really varied with all of the usual things you’d expect from a sushi restaurant, with a few added bit to entice us.
We started with some edamame and prawn tempura. The prawns were delicious with crunchy batter and a spicy sauce.
We then ate the hot salmon teriyaki futomaki which was like a normal sushi roll but it had been really lightly deep fried. This was really tatsy, it felt unusual to eat hot sushi but the flavours were great.
Other varieties on offer were salmon skin, duck and prawn tempura. We could have eaten them all.
Next we ate the spicy tuna uramaki which came with black sesame seeds, cucumber and beetroot-stained rice. Now, I am not the biggest fan of beetroot – in fact I actively avoid it when I can – but the tuna was so soft and tender in this instance that I forgot about the dreaded purple vegetable.
While eating this, we were also alternating mouthfuls with the ‘Rock’n’Roll’ California roll which was made up of eight pieces all with the same filling or crab and avocado but each one had a different type of seasonal fish wrapped around the outside with avocado.
This was a really nice touch as sometimes ordering California rolls are can be seen as being a bit unadventurous I think.
After these dishes, we just kept on going.
We tried the tuna tataki which was really thinly sliced and melted in our mouths. It was slightly seared on the outside and drizzled with a sesame seed dressing.
We threw in a couple of salmon and prawn nigiri too just to make sure we had sampled pretty much ALL of the menu!
The rice on all of the sushi was the perfect texture, not too sticky or chewy and the fish throughout appeared to be of the highest quality.
The presentation of all it all was lovely and you could tell it had been prepared with the utmost care.
The owner, whose name I didn’t catch annoyingly, was a great host and very persuasive. He managed to ‘convince’ us to have a chocolate pudding which was sprinkled with green tea dust. It was hot and moist and full of naughty deliciousness and again looked great on the plate – my photos do not do it justice as usual.
I think the service at Rock Star Sushi Bar deserves a special mention. Sometimes you can go to a sushi restaurant and the service can be surly and impersonal – and at others we all know the name of, you even have to serve yourself!
But the whole team here were really attentive, keen for feedback and most of all, proud of their food. And it was great value for money too, the bill would have given us a heart attack if we’d eaten that much in the West End!
This tiny restaurant has only been open for five months but I really hope it will go from strength-to-strength and will entice more people from across southwest London and further afield.
Merton Abbey Mills almost has a Brixton Village feel to it with lots of people passionate about food setting up independent cafes and restaurants.
With a KFC and Pizza Hut just across the road – let’s hope the foodies reign supreme and are here to stay in these stunning surroundings.