It is a common misconception that diners assume the best restaurants are all in Zone 1 in Central London rather than experimenting with dining establishments which are further afield. Case in point is the stupendous Japanese restaurant, Tsunami. It’s been around since 2001, so evidently, they must be doing something right to impress the locals. However, they are not one to rest on their laurels, having undergone a full refurbishment in 2015 and regular menu updates to make sure they are at the cutting-edge of culinary developments.
With sophisticated wooden-panelling and slickly polished dining tables, there is a distinct shogun-style elegance to Tsunami. The restaurant wouldn’t look out of place in the heart of Mayfair, but it’s smartly positioned itself in Clapham where competition is less fierce and rent prices are lower.
Our meal started literally on fire with a sensational Tsunami grilled scallop: it came presented in its shell still with glowing flames on its base. This wasn’t just about presentation but to bring out the flavours from the spicy, creamy whisky sauce which also had a hint of masago.
They have an extremely vegetarian-friendly menu at Tsunami: their Shojin tempura selection is a must-order. They even have an avocado tempura offering which I must admit I have not tried anywhere else. The creaminess of the avocado contrasting well with the crunchiness of the tempura batter. Shojin actually is a Buddist term which means a desire to progress along the path of enlightenment.
The vegetarian delightfulness continued onto the main courses with the toban tofu and vegetables served in a heartwarming Japanese clay pot. It’s an extremely clean-living, healthy dish but never feels insipid due to the umami-rich toban flavours present in the soup base. Try matching this dish with a slurptastic side portion of hot udon noodles; it has an incredibly light soya and dashi sauce with generous helpings of spring onions.
Personally, it was hard to ignore the gin dara dish; the velvety, smooth black cod was imbued with a pleasing sweet miso. Every mouthful took me a step closer to culinary nirvana.
To finish off, we ordered some of their house specials such as the lobster maki, vegetable special roll and avocado and cucumber roll. They were all presented together in a stunning sushi platter and the server kindly offered to bring some dry ice if we wanted to make the photo even more special. Apart from using the freshest of ingredients, great thought has gone into offering textural variety such as the lobster maki with accompanying scallions, avocado, cucumber, and tempura.
The one thing that is most painful to write is they offer a £20 buffet menu during the weekend lunchtimes. This sounds like the bargain of the century and I’ve heard rumours that booking is essential. Painful, because I know it’s highly likely I might be missing out on getting a table due to knowledgeable Townfish followers booking in advance.