Despite the modern interior – pale wood, cream walls – this Mayfair restaurant (just off Regent Street) is traditional at heart. Oshibori (hand towels) are presented on arrival, service is low-key and considered, and saké is taken seriously (the lengthy list offers not only tasting notes, but also more detailed information on the region each bottle comes from).
The chefs pride themselves on the sushi and sashimi here – and the sourcing certainly can’t be knocked. A plump botan prawn was served fanned on top of a nigiri rice pellet with an unusual accompaniment of the deep-fried head. Also from the deep-fryer, a chef’s special of mini octopus in light batter (kodako no karaage) was pleasingly tender, with a citrus tang from the accompanying lemon. A summery dish of cucumber with pearls of sweet and salty barley miso was tasty too, though the decorative carving made the chunky cucumber a little tricky to eat elegantly.
At times we’ve found the service a little distant at Chisou, but become a regular (there are plenty) and you’re sure to be treated with more warmth. There are branches in Knightsbridge and Chiswick.