Work has been pretty brutal lately and as a result cut into my spare time to eat and write up reviews. But luckily we’ve had a slew of visitors in the last month which means a great opportunity to organise team lunches and try out some of the (relatively) new places in Crossrail Canary Wharf.
My first stop was Sticks’n’Sushi which has a pretty lengthy menu divided largely into skewered meat (aka Sticks) and sushi (well…Sushi). The layout is fairly open but some judicious placement of pillars and fake walls does segment the restaurant to minimise noise and also outline a semi-private area at the back. The other key thing to note is the back is actually a floor to ceiling set of windows which provides a great view out onto the Thames/Docks particularly if you get out on one of those sunny days.
What you need to know:
- The menu is very extensive but the set menus are a good way to try a bunch of things
- It’s pricey but not outrageously so– we spent £40pp for a filling lunch of sushi but no booze
- When they say a platter is for 4 people, that’s assuming you don’t eat anything else
- Come hungry – This isn’t your normal super expensive morsel, the platters/rolls are fairly big
- You can make reservations (at least for larger groups) and it gets very busy during weekday lunches
There is a small waiting area/bar of sorts but you are best heading up to the Sports Bar on the raised main level or going to the top to enjoy the rooftop park if the weather is favourable. Other than that, you could of course meet at any of the many pubs in Canary Wharf although, for a proper cocktail, the Boisdale remains my favourite.
What to eat?
I’m always a bit torn at sushi restaurants as I find a number of rolls I like and then of course I try to figure out how much sashimi or nigiri I want to eat too. At Sticks’n’Sushi, I opted to get the sushi platter for four people as well as a couple of side dishes and one or two meat items for variety. I thought since we had 10 people, two sushi sharing platters plus two meat dishes would just be enough. As it turns out, that was probably enough for another 2-3 people to join in as we had enough leftovers to feed the members of the team that couldn’t join us (although that was a very favourable outcome for them!).
The sushi sharing platter was not only large, but had a great variety of rolls from your standard salmon, tuna, and crab rolls to the more elaborate varieties. Plus, it looks pretty damn awesome so a great choice to impress your friends or senior colleagues.
The fish was fresh, succulent, and perfectly seasoned, the rice cooked perfectly with just a bit of a tang, and each roll was uniformly cut into pieces small enough to be taken down in one mouthful. I’m constantly at loggerheards with the fiancée over whether there is decent sushi in London that won’t cost an arm, leg, and possibly your first born but I think this place my tip the scales in my favour.
Onto the meat – it’s tasty but doesn’t have the wow factor of the sushi. The short ribs were flavourful but nothing you can’t get at half a dozen places in London and the same would go for the steak. On their own, I’d happily eat them but when faced with limited stomach space the sushi is going to win out. Actually, one of the meatier dishes that was yet veggie were the roasted giant mushrooms on skewers, a simple but fantastic dish.
The one non-sushi item that does beat out the sushi is the roasted cauliflower with a black sesame and truffle sauce. Wow…just wow. I enjoy roasted cauliflower but that sauce was insane. I’d eat it on anything and in fact did dip quite literally everything on the table into it and was seconds away from licking the bowl clean before I realised there were other people present.
I’d be remiss in not at least mentioning dessert. The restaurant offers a dish which is essentially a tasting of their dessert menu. You get nine different mini-desserts ranging from yuzu sorbet to crème brulee to a warm chocolate fondant. I liked all of them although the clean refreshing yuzu sorbet and rich luxurious chocolate fondant are always going to be dear to my heart despite being on opposite ends of the spectrum.
The cocktails here looks pretty awesome but sadly a work lunch was never going to be the time to try it out. That being said, given a couple of well known cocktail bloggers keep raving about the different choices here I think it’s a safe bet to say the list won’t disappoint.
Worth the dosh?
At £40pp , it’s fairly reasonable given the quantity and quality of the food. It’s definitely pricey for a lunch and not something I’ll repeat regularly, but when you consider a simple box from Itsu cost £8 and you can get a brilliant freshly made maki roll for about that at Sticks’n’Sushi, it’s a viable option. It’s a great place to take someone to impress and by far beats the majority of the other lunch places in the area which will cost you £20-30 anyways.
Would I go back? Yes, I’m definitely going back when my fiancée is next in London. Actually I might be back earlier – I have to test out the remaining menu items just to be sure. And the cocktails. Definitely the cocktails!