Given how overwhelmingly ancient, cosmopolitan, and multicultural London is, it seems almost odd when it gets something entirely new.
But it appears that up until now, this city’s never had a handroll sushi bar.
So, after feeling the flurry of emotions stretch from curiosity, to FOMO, to anticipation, we ask the question: what is a handroll bar?
First and foremost, it’s just that. A bar. There are no tables, there are no bookings, and you may not even need a plate. It’s a place you can pop into for a quick bite, or linger over a deep dinnertime conversation. And the space itself (in the buzzing Brixton Market) is extremely sleek, with concrete floors and a huge, sheer-edged hunk of unvarnished oak separating you from the chefs.
Second, the handrolls themselves (or ‘temaki’ in Japanese). They’re made in front off you by those chefs, who’ll then hand them to you directly like teeny tiny sushi burritos – you probably won’t need to put it down, so your plate may well be as clean as a whistle by the end. You can pick and choose them a la carte, but it’s probably best to trust in the set menus, and spring for their curated lineup of between three (light lunch) and six (hearty dinner) rolls.
Before we talk about the flavours being packed into the rolls, we need to talk about the rice. As many people are now aware, this is probably the most important & underrated aspect of any sushi, and at Temaki they’re obsessed with it. The head chef, Shaulan Steenson, is a rice specialist. He’s worked at some insanely good Japanese sushi joints, including Hakkoku and Sushijin (without going into it, they’re both a very big deal) where he spent literally years learning how to perfect his golden Uruchimai rice. It’s soft, buttery, and frankly exquisite.
Some of the swimmers being paired with it include fatty otoro tuna, bbq unagi eel, crispy prawn tempura, and crab. There’s real wasabi in there too. And on the side, you can get some salmon tataki, toro sashimi with smoked soy, and a light-as-a-cloud monkfish karaage with ponzu & spicy mayo.
There’s plenty to drink with all this, ranging from sake & wine, to bottled cocktails from mixologist Karol Bobinski (Soho House, Endo at the Rotunda, etc.). You can score a pre-mixed pineapple rum punch, peppercorn gin gimlet, yuzu negroni, and more. They go down easily, and it can be easy to have too many…
…and end up doing some rolling of your own.
Temaki | Unit 12 Market Row, Brixton, SW9 8LD
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