Presenting Our Favourite New Sushi Genre: The Kazu Roll
It's a nice mix of ritual and relaxed buzz at Kazu, somehow managing to be ceremonial without standing on ceremony. We're ushered in with a small bow, and the restaurant looks set to be muted and tranquil. Sake glasses are brought inside wooden masu boxes, the sake — a Yamagata prefecture Dewasakura, with all the lightness and un-sweetness our waitress promises — poured traditionally, till it runs over the brim and puddles in the box.
But set against that low-key formality, a big group arrives and starts pulling tables together and clinking beers, a couple of after-work drinkers are propping up the sushi counter and talking expansively. It's not a lot, but it's enough to make the restaurant feel lived-in, rather than a museum to sushi.
Vegetable gyoza have a soft, lovely crunch to their fried shells. Teriyaki chicken and wagyu beef skewers pack so much smoky, grilled flavour that the tiny portions are surprisingly satisfying (though for £14 a portion for the wagyu, you'd want it to be). And the restaurant's justifying the stage-like presence of the sushi counter with an omakase selection that deserves its place in the spotlight.
That counter's also the source of our favourite new sushi genre: the Kazu Roll.
Man cannot afford to live by wagyu and omakase selections alone, even if Kazu's slippery, delicate slivers of butterfish and yellowtail might make us want to. But sitting in that sweet spot of the menu where high artistry meets might-just-fill-you-up are the Kazu Rolls, ornate parcels of fish, inside rice, inside more fish.
£16 a dish isn't cheap, not even by Fitzrovian standards. But that gets you a long roll chopped into eight slices, each of them pleasingly chunky — and the highlight of a menu that's already thrown some real sashimi-art our way. The salmon and avocado roll comes topped with stripes of yellowtail, tuna, sea bass and little clouds of roe, and drizzled with yuzu-miso, the spike of citrusy-umami flavour keeping it from sheer, thick richness.
Usually when it comes to sushi we'd say it's better not to mess with the classics. But it's possible Kazu have just invented a new one.
Kazu, 64 Charlotte Street, W1T 4QD.
Last Updated 08 March 2018