The Japanese are, on the whole, a healthy lot. (Though I’m not sure I’d take diet tips from those Sumo fellas). It’s all down to a wonderful combination of fresh fruit and veg, and even fresher oily fish. Oh, and whale blubber.
Now, in pure numbers terms, we’re not exactly spoilt for choice when it comes to sushi restaurants in NW6. But everyone knows that it’s not quantity that counts, but quality, and boy do we have that by the net-full. Both Yuzu and Sushi Gen will satisfy your desire for tasty raw fish, but they do provide rather differing dining experiences. With this in mind, I decided to pit them in a head-to-head battle across a range of categories. After a brief introduction, of course:
Yuzu, on Fortune Green Road, is a fusion restaurant serving up the best of contemporary Japanese cuisine with a Latin American twist. This basically just means that as well as an extensive sushi menu, they also serve beef. Beautiful, tender teriyaki beef (£9). Unusual and exotic sauces also feature.
Sushi Gen is an unassuming little canteen-style restaurant on West End Lane that can claim Japanese authenticity, but probably won’t win any interior design awards. The salmon and tuna salad freebie that they give you upon your arrival is a particularly nice touch.
Like almost every aspect of Sushi Gen, the food is no-nonsense, simple fare. Every dish that you might expect to find on a sushi restaurant’s menu is here, from the single pieces of nigiri to the salmon, tuna or crab-based rolls. The Salmon California Roll (6 pieces for £3.80) is a favourite, as is the Ume Kyu Roll (6 pieces for £2.50), a veggie option consisting of cucumber in a tongue-fizzlingly tangy plum sauce.
The first thing to note about Yuzu is that portion sizes tend to be slightly smaller – typically 4 rolls per portion to Sushi Gen’s 6 – though the individual rolls themselves are slightly bigger. The food itself is just as good, if not better than its rival, and certainly more adventurous. Try the Yellow Tail Tiradito with Ponza Sauce – thinly sliced raw fish, spiced up with jalapeno and coriander (5 pieces for £5.80). And the classic Salmon and Avocado Inside-out Roll is exquisite (4 pieces for £3.80).
Yuzu has a warm, intimate dining room, decorated in a tasteful and inoffensive manner. It seems to be popular with medium-sized groups – families and friends more than couples – but still lends itself well to a romantic meal. It can be quite busy on a Friday or Saturday night, so worth calling ahead.
Sushi Gen does not feel like the kind of place that you would book for a special occasion. Its tiled floor and bright lighting mean that it’s more the kind of place that you might pop into after work or to satisfy those impromptu sushi-cravings. I’ve never experienced it especially busy but, if anything, that’s a good thing as it means you’re generally guaranteed a table.
Value for Money
This is a tight call. With Sushi Gen you get larger portions for less money, but at Yuzu the food is probably slightly better, so worth the additional cost. They both represent good value – Sushi Gen more so for those with greedy guts and light wallets; Yuzu for those who want a proper restaurant experience and are prepared to pay for it.
They are both fantastic sushi restaurants, though very different in feel. In a truly courageous display of fence-sitting, I simply have to recommend that you try them both. If you like sushi, you won’t be disappointed. And if you don’t, then why on earth are you still reading?
Yuzu, 102 Fortune Green Road, NW6 1DS. 0207 431 6602
Sushi Gen, 243 West End Lane, NW6 1XN. 0207 431 4031