26 April 2012
Moshi moshi. Say hello to tasty, guilt-free Sushi
Thank god for Caroline Bennet, sustainable seafood champion and proprietor of Moshi Moshi Sushi.
In a swift, single handed movement, she has delivered us from the realms of mushy (mushy) sushi, replacing it with fresh, authentic examples, and made the often confusing and guit inducing task of eating seafood simple once again. She's been at it for years.
Caroline founded Moshi Moshi back in the late 90's when the sushi market in London was kept afloat by Japanese bankers on expense accounts. This invisible group of London residents were responsible for ensuring a continuous demand for expensive (think 50 quid lunches back in the 90s), but high quality sushi establishments in the City of London.
Just a few minutes into a conversation with Caroline and it is clear that her views are more than a 'greenwashed' facade. "I think that supermarkets are almost single-handedly responsible for a vast majority of the food problems we have in this county" she says provocatively. She pushes the point. "They have a massive influence over how we eat fish, and for the most part it's pretty terrible."
Now, one might construe this statement as an elitist, anti "big food" position. Not quite, Caroline's mission and beliefs have been finely honed though more than a decade of experience in London's tumultuous restaurant trade (Soseki, her second restaurant was shuttered after 3 years of operation).
Her efforts have been officially recognised by the Seafood Choices Alliance, The RSPCA and Greenpeace.
When the food arrives, Caroline's vision all makes sense. "Ingedients speak volumes, and it's these which you need to create a truly exceptional Japanese restaurant in London".
We snapped our chopsticks, lunging at an exquisitely presented Sashimi platter which featured scallops, mackerel, salmon and sea trout.
Cornish Kabayaki - a sort of charcoal teriyaki followed partnered with a neatly packed 3-part bento.
And if that wasn't enough there was still more. Fish and Chips Moshi Moshi style - Deep fried plaice and sansho pepper alongside a stack of crispy vege tenpura and Aubergine Nasudengaku which melted when touched.
The Japanese 'sweet tooth' has not been overlooked. A tangy and almost tannic Matcha tea creme brûlée quickly erases any memory of fried food from the palate and leaves one wondering why it isn't utilised more often in this course to combat the inevitable Postprandial dip (as well as heart disease).
So where to from here? Do people actually 'get it'? "Of course!" Caroline remarks "Today, if I tell people we don't serve Toro, nobody complains. When I took it off the menu in 1999, lots of my customers left and never came back."
Amen to that. I'm looking forward to the day when we can say 'sayonara' to the poor quality, claggy mush synonymous with our current understanding of Japanese food in London.
Tuck and Vine ate as a guest of Moshi Moshi