Against contrary opinion raw fish served on miniature cold rice loaves have become a staple lunchtime purchase and the British have been educated enough to realise it’s raw for a reason; not because the grill wasn’t turned on. I for one am hooked and this Saturday saw me travelling further than the sad looking Boots Shapers range to the depths of Ealing Common to eat out a hidden sushi gem.
The windows of Atari-Ya were frosted and the sign above the door spoke of a dentist surgery but having trekked an hour there was little option but to walk on in. The welcome was significantly worse than one would expect from a dentist but the ruthless discipline was somehow refreshing in an ‘it must be all about the food kind of outlook’.
Not letting the words nigri, chirashi, and sashimi get the better of me I ordered a selection of their best. My sister and I waited and watched the chief surgeon attack the fish with seamless efficiency and present meticulously carved sushi looking fit for a still life.
It was indeed good. Chunky and succulent and far meater than I had before but what was also interesting was the conversation we forced the waitress to have. After much nurturing she explained a few ground rules for eating sushi and it is these that I thought I’d pass on for potential date ammunition; perhaps it may allow each one of you to feel smug and frown at your partner for their ignorable lack of knowledge -
- Ginger is meant to be a palate cleanser – It is not for adding to the sushi
- Eat sushi upside down so that you taste the fish first, the fish is more flavoursome than the rice
- There is no need to cut the sushi in half, the chef should have prepared bite sized chunks and they are meant to be eaten in one gulp. It was originally a street food eaten with fingers.
- If you dip sushi in soy sauce, just dip the fish side not the rice thus preventing the rice acting as a sponge and you being faced with a loaf of solid soy.