One of my all time favourite restaurants is Pham Sushi, an unassuming Japanese restaurant on the equally unassuming Whitecross St, and I was lucky enough to eat there again last night. In fact, this was a pretty important evening – I was taking my parents for the first time. Would it live up to the huge amount of hype I’ve piled on it? Thankfully it did – and then some! By the looks of things, the word has got out about how good their sushi is and they seem to have opened a second premises just a few doors down from the original restaurant. You definitely need to book to get a table here – it’s never quiet!
Location & Atmosphere:
Pham Sushi is on Whitecross St, a market street halfway between Barbican and Old Street tube stations. There’s not much of note in the immediate vicinity, but if you do fancy a pre-dinner pint, I’d also recommend the Jugged Hare which is less than 5 mins away. But really, I would only be going to Whitecross St to eat at Pham. The restaurant itself is quite small, and always full and it’s not much to look at from the outside. But once you’re happily ensconced at your table it’s quite a relaxing environment, with attentive staff and pleasant surroundings. Weirdly it looks like some of the decor is Chinese, but this place is most definitely the best Japanese restaurant in East London!
In a word, fantastic. I’m sure I read somewhere that the sushi chef was trained at Nobu, which may be true given that two of the best dishes I’ve tried have featured on a Nobu menu. First up their Black Cod with Miso – beautifully sweet flavours, with the most perfect flaky fish. And one of my all-time favourite dishes from Pham – Yellow Tail with Jalapeno Sashimi. At £15.50 it’s one of the most expensive dishes on the menu but I think it’s worth every penny. The quality of the sashimi is superb and the delicate flavourings just make this taste so special! We tried a couple of new dishes for the first time last night, with a particular highlight being Scallop Tobiko Sushi Roll. Anyone who needs some gentle persuading to try sushi should try this dish – the scallop is soft and delicate, but with the addition of a chilli, creamy sauce that really packs a punch. It was a real winner on the table. In fact it momentarily challenged for the “all-time-favourite-dish-ever” crown. I am somewhat obsessed with Pham Sushi’s Crunchy Tuna Roll. If I had to order my Last Supper – this dish would be my fish course (if I’m being executed in the morning, you can bet your bottom dollar my last meal on earth would be a full 7 course affair)! And I have been known to order an extra portion to take home to have for breakfast the next day… Anyway, we had this dish last night and it was as fabulous as ever. Finally, special shout out to the beef options we had – Sirloin Steak with Teriyaki Sauce and Gyu Asparagus (beef wrapped around asparagus with a teriyaki sauce). Both dishes were made with great quality steak, and the teriyaki sauce is nothing like that horrible gloopy stuff you get in crappy restaurants – Pham Sushi’s version is light but still packed with the same flavours.
For the quality of the food you get, Pham Sushi is extremely reasonable. In fact, last night we ate like Kings in terms of quantity and quality, opting for some of their priciest dishes. We also had a couple of bottles of sake and a few beers, and the total bill for 4 people was less than £140. I really do think this is brilliant value, and it actually puts me off trying some of the more top-end Japanese restaurants because I’d always be comparing the value. I honestly can’t say enough good things about this place.
Image Credit: http://booinlondon.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/pham-sushi.html