What do we need to know about Issho-Ni?
We'll be frank with you, the opening of this Japanese izakaya in Bethnal Green a few years back, had essentially passed us by. Which has definitely turned out to be our loss. This sharing plates spot was opened by restaurateur Claire Su, who cleverly brought in head chef Eduardo Aguiar (former head chef of Bone Daddies, Shakafuyu and Kiri) to do the honours in the kitchen.
And they're delivering now?
Yes, like most London restaurants, waiting to find out exactly when they're allowed to reopen isn't an option, so they've moved to delivery. But rather than simply doing a sushi-by-numbers operation, this is all about bringing as much of the restaurant experience as possible to your home. "We're not a takeaway," they say. "We're a Japanese restaurant at home."
How exactly do they propose to do that?
While you can order a-la-carte from the menu, working your way through all manner of sushi, sashimi and bento boxes, you can also opt for the full omakase experience. That's a menu, put together by the chef, that will change seasonally. To that you can add shared sake or pre-mixed cocktails and - for the cherry on the cake - there's a playlist curated by the restaurant on Spotify that's shared with diners.
We roamed around the menu a bit, trying stuff from both the a-la-carte and omakase menu to give you a taste of what to expect. The omakase is £85 for two for six dishes. Here were the highlights from our dinner:
What about the drink?
This is where it gets interesting. If you're after a party atmosphere, then kick off the evening with some of their pre-mixed cocktails (each is enough for two or three servings. Choices include a Shisorita made with tequila, mezcal, yuzu, agave, shiso or there's a Plum and Chocolate Negroni made with cocoa nib infused gin, Campari, red vermouth, plum sake - (£16 and £18 respectively).
We opted for a paired bottle of sake as recommended by the restaurant which was Masumi “Okuden Kantsukuri” (Junmai) (£16) a multi-award-winning sake from the Nagano Prefecture.
Really good sushi was probably the thing we'd been missing most during the lockdown, so the discovery of Issho-Ni felt like a gamechanger. But it wasn't just the clever little twists on classic dishes that we liked - it was the attention to detail and the love they'd put into the way every dish was presented that really impressed.
An honest-to-goodness treat you should avail yourself of if you're in their delivery area.
More about Issho-Ni at Home
Where is it? 185 Bethnal Green Rd, London E2 6AB
Delivery area: They go as far south as Wapping, west to Clerkenwell, north to Stoke Newington and east to Hackney Wick and Mile End. They also do a weekly drop each Saturday to an area outside the delivery zone, which they will post each week on their Instagram.
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