Essentially, I’m still a sushi novice, and I’m not convinced that I’m ever truly going to love the stuff, but I decided to give Hay Sushi a whirl, while out for a little wander, today.
Situated just next to Sushiya, which is under the same ownership as the excellent Kanpai, I have the feeling that Hay is viewed as something of the poor relation. In terms of what I was after, today, Sushiya’s sushi bar, with high seats and shelf eating, didn’t appeal, as I’d been walking for ten miles, so a comfy seat was a must. Hay was just the place for me.
I caught them towards the end of lunch service, so things were quite quiet. To begin with, service wasn’t particularly great, with neither of the waiters looking too interested. Things warmed up as we went along, though, so perhaps I initially mistook reserve for disinterestedness.
The decor is neat enough, and what you’d expect, without being too remarkable. I felt at ease, which is a good thing, as the atmosphere in some sushi places can be too stilted and overly-reverential for my tastes.
From their extensive menu, I opted for one of their lunchtime sushi sets, which comprised four neat little sandwiches of rice, seaweed and salmon, salmon and tuna nigiri, thin slices of salmon wrapped around like roses and topped with mayonnaise and roe, and salmon and tuna sashimi.
First came some miso soup, served with the green tea that I’d ordered. Both of these items were good, without being particularly noteworthy.
Elements of the sushi set were really good, though. The fish wasn’t of the quality I’d had in other Japanese places, but curiously the overall effect of the dishes wasn’t unduly compromised by that. This was mainly because the rice was very good, and each element was very well balanced, as well as being stylishly presented.
The salmon sandwiches were particularly good in this regard, with notably tasty sesame topping. The salmon roses were lovely on the palette and the eye, although I’m aware that some (including MJ) would not have been keen on the mayonnaise in the topping. The nigiri were satisfying. It was only, and not surprisingly, with the sashimi that the slight lack of quality of the fish, particularly the tuna, let things down.
But overall, I was pretty pleased with Hay. They served me a good platter of sushi delights, elegantly presented and demonstrating appreciable skill. The rice, in particular, was really good. I’m starting to get a better feel for sushi, so I was glad to add this place to my list. There are other restaurants with better quality fish on offer, but I liked the balance of flavours that the chef at Hay produced. I’d gladly pay it another visit.
Blythe scores Hay Sushi
3.5/5 for food
4/5 for presentation
3/5 for service
3.5/5 for setting
giving an overall 14/20
Today’s quester was: Blythe
I ate: lunchtime mixed set (4 salmon sandwiches, tuna and salmon nigiri, 2 salmon roses, tuna and salmon sashimi); miso soup
I drank: green tea
I wore: new walking shoes
Total bill: £11