It’s been a long time since I ate in a school canteen but the loud and characterless communal food hall at Whole Foods – home to a number of concessions, plastic trays and hairnets – brought the memories flooding back. I half expected a bigger boy to demand my lunch money. In truth, a couple of the players here are pretty serious: a branch of ramen joint Bone Daddies has just pitched up, and now there’s Sushi and Robata, which comes from prominent sushi chain Genji.
Nearly everything I tried at Sushi and Robata was good, especially some excellent ruby-red tuna nigiri (with rice warm enough to suggest it had just been hand-rolled), some high-quality, super-fresh salmon sashimi and some beautifully tender duck, smoky from the robata grill. In fact the only duds were the skewers of skirt ruined by a topping of watery grated mooli – good neither for texture nor taste.
Prices are far from democratic, but this part of town is a different world entirely and nearly all the tables on our lunchtime visit were taken – mostly by an international crowd with expensive haircuts. They’re clearly not put off by the setting, but then I doubt their school canteen was much like mine.