Tajima-Tei – Chancery Lane

When I lived back in the States, I used to have sushi all the time. I still love it, but I find to get proper sushi in London, you usually end up paying an arm and a leg. If I’m every really craving it, I might have Itsu for lunch, but even then, I end up spending £7 or £8 for something that’s not really high quality.

So, essentially, I’ve been avoiding sushi as much as I can. There’s a part of me that doesn’t want to find a place I like because I know it will be expensive, and I know I’ll just want to go all the time. Tajima-Tei is a perfect example.

I went here on a very cold and rainy London evening. My dining partner had said that he heard about it from a friend who said it’s the only place he goes for sushi in London, and that it’s the only place Japanese people in London go for sushi. Walking in, that seemed to be a true statement. I think we were the only native-English speakers in the whole place. Good sign.

The first thing I order at any sushi restaurant is hamachi. Ninety-nine percent of the time, you can judge the quality of a sushi place based on the quality of their hamachi. For example, what did I think of Hakuba‘s hamachi? Not great. Tomoe‘s hamachi? Actually quite nice, and a good price. Japan Centre‘s hamachi? Meh. And that pretty much sums up my feelings of all of those restaurants in general.

And what, you ask, did I think about Tajima-Tei’s? My god, just look at it:

Lovely, rich and buttery. A fantastic fish.

The rest of the evening was filled with things like eel and avocado:

Tuna, prawn, mackerel, salmon, scallop and some sort of weird egg thing on rice:

Veggie tempura:

And the star of the show, a massive ‘Spicy Tuna Tempura‘, which had sweet prawn, tuna, crab stick and salmon mixed with spicy mayonnaise. This picture doesn’t do it justice – each piece was seriously about the size of my palm:

I really liked this place. It’s a bit out of my way, which is probably a good thing as I won’t be tempted to come back too often, and it’s not the cheapest (food and two carafes of sake and service was about £65), but it was definitely tasty.

Tajima-Tei on Urbanspoon

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4 comments

  1. Hmmm will have to try this place one day. :)

    I must say I love 2 dishes at Hakuba (but I actually haven’t been in more than a year) – I found the “number one special/Mr Miyagi’s special” amazing (I would order 2 portions of it, lol), as well as their volcano roll. Both of those were very fusion-ish though, definitely not authentic Japanese.

  2. As I finished reading your post I was thinking £65 for two (with sake) ain’t bad.. BUT that just goes to show that good sushi in London *does* cost. I’ve been here two years and am still struggling to find affordable good sushi. My winner at the moment is Feng Sushi, which has a branch at Southbank and one at Borough Market (there are probably others)… give it a go and see what you think?

  3. You can’t go wrong with Tajima-Tei; I do think it works best as a lunch spot, and recommend the Bento highly. Tons and tons of food for less than £20 with that all important authenticity bundled in.

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