Despite its conception in Denmark, the slow, forgetful service at Sticks n’ Sushi does not reflect the efficiency synonymous with the Scandinavian nation.
It was a cold January eve when the Colombian and I tottered over to Canary Wharf, we went in order to test drive a restaurant chain that has swept through Denmark and landed with as much might as a Viking conquest on British shores.
Sticks n’ Sushi, for those who don’t know, serve up vast plates of visually appealing sushi rolls and sashimi along with a variety of grilled fish and meats which are speared on oversized cocktail sticks.
Despite booking a table and arriving with German style efficiency, we were still asked to wait for our table. Nevertheless, we suppressed our hunger and dawdled by the bar with other famished parties, all just as eager to get some sushi down them. Eventually, we were led to a bare table in the centre of a minimalist dining space, all brightly lit with low-hanging fixtures. I quite enjoyed the Scandinavian aesthetic.
Without hesitation, we ordered a bowl of miso each and some edamame beans to quench our hunger. Our waiter, another Colombian coincidentally, suggested we try hotate kataifi, scallops in kataifi with miso aïoli, trout roe and cress. The scallops were great albeit slightly overpowered by the garlic in the aïoli which detracted from the delicacy of the mollusc. These arrived along with the edamame in quick time, yet our miso was missing. I gently reminded our waiter.
Having finished the scallop starter, we then moved onto a sushi platter which was, I must say, very tasty. I think it was called Maki Maki and it contained two tempura shrimp rolls and two salmon rolls. Each roll was prepared very differently, my favourite combination of flavours was salmon, avocado, cucumber, red onion, coriander and lime. Devastatingly fresh and clean. Still no miso.
Next came some sticks, which too, were very good. I preferred the miso marinated grilled mackerel to the miso marinated black cod, the meatier fish and bolder, more defined flavour prevailed in my opinion. Still no miso, so I reminded the Colombian – the waiter, not my dining companion.
Still a little hungry, we ordered a half roll of snow peas, avocado, cucumber, miso aïoli, seared salmon and trout roe. Alike the other sushi we had ordered, this roll was delicious and each flavour simultaneously stood out from the others whilst combining very well. It was after the final fishy mouthful that the miso soup landed on our table, an hour after it was first ordered and two enquires later. We begrudgingly ate it, but it definitely left a slightly sour taste in my mouth.
Yes, the sushi was good. Not the best but it was good. I liked the atmosphere and design of the place, my company was splendid but the whole experience was marred by the forgetful service. We arrived at Sticks n’ Sushi at 8.45pm, we left, finally, at 11.30pm. All the raw materials were there, but the assembly was really quite shambolic.