My husband and daughter are both huge fans of everything Japanese, so it was with much anticipation that we headed to Chisou in west London one recent evening. Chiswick may not lack for Japanese restaurants, from large chains to independents, but if you’re looking for an up-market option—perfect for a date night—look no further than Chisou.
Tucked away from the high road in the Barley Mow passage, Chisou offers some of the best Japanese food in the city. Part of a trio (the other Chisou restaurants are in Mayfair and Knightsbridge), the restaurant prides itself in serving authentic and regional dishes, using seasonal produce to allow its chefs to showcase a wide range of Japanese dishes. Sure, you’ll find the obligatory sushi and sashimi options, but you’ll also be exposed to ever-changing specials such as Kurobuta Amakara Yaki Shimeji Zoe (pan-fried Iberico pork belly and Shimeji mushrooms on a light chilli bean sauce) and Tako Usuzukuri no Kizami Wasabi (thinly sliced boiled octopus sashimi served with ponzu sauce and Kizami wasabi)—a real treat if you want to broaden your culinary horizon.
We started our feast with the Avocado and Sashimi salad (£10.50), made up of mixed greens, seaweed and avocado tossed in Japanese dressing served with sashimi. The dish was colourful—almost too pretty to eat—and with melt-in-the-mouth sashimi. Next we ordered the Yellow Fin Tuna (£13.50). The fish was subtle but when teamed with jalapenos and prawn-infused dipping sauce, the humble tuna was taken to another level. We tried the Saikyo Yaki as well—grilled black cod marinated in white miso paste—buttery in flavour and cooked to perfection.
We mixed it up a bit with a meat option, the Gyu tataki (£13.90), thin slices of prime beef fillet seared and served with garlic, sesame oil and ponzu sauce. Although also light, it was a nice juxtaposition to the fish dishes. But of course the best measure of a great Japanese restaurant is its sushi and sashimi. In true family fashion we ordered an assortment of sushi and maki. The platter was beautifully presented, fresh and didn’t have any “fishy” smell that can sometimes happen with lesser quality sushi.
Sake doesn’t suit me, but if you’re a fan, Chisou claims to have some of the finest sake around, as well as an impressive collection for the discerning sake palate. Prices range from £12 to £19 per glass.
I mentioned Chisou would be great for a date night, but when my husband and I went we did bring our child. The staff were lovely and accommodating to my daughter—if you went early enough I’d say you can get away with bringing children into the restaurant. The space, however, is small and intimate. The circular design of the venue doesn’t allow you to be tucked away in a corner out of earshot, and don’t expect crayons on demand—this is definitely a grown-up restaurant. It would be well-suited for a romantic evening or a girls’ night out—especially with their list of cocktails.
If you like Japanese cuisine, add Chisou to your list of restaurants to try. It’s worth going off-piste to sample some of the chef’s specials. With a wide selection of dishes, even the smallest family members will find something to enjoy, and most kids love Japanese food—bite size and cute. I’m always amazed at my daughter’s experimentation when ordering and I think it’s partly due to the presentation of the food—or perhaps it’s a little competition between her and her dad.
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