Monday, November 20, 2006

Sushi - Yikes!

I'm going to have to rethink my attachment to sushi.

I can distinctly remember my wonderment when at the age of around 5 I first heard the Japanese ate raw fish. At that stage in my development, the formidable Catholic nuns at my nursery school had extreme difficulty getting me to eat cooked fish on Fridays.

However, time and taste marches on and certainly by the time of the Japan festival in the early 90s I was keen to try the stuff. And rapidly became hooked.

But now - oops. Firstly, a knowledgeable friend absolutely hated my choice of Japanese restaurant (a quite highly rated one, according to all the reviewers, here in South London).

And secondly, my most favourite snack joint is now the notorious scene of an (allegedly) KGB poisoning. Alexander Litvinenko, a Russian dissident, exile and strong critic of Putin's goverment fell ill - of thallium poisoning - after lunch at Itsu in Picadilly.

I love the sushi at Itsu. Yes, its mass-market but the sushi is prepared on the premises and they don't overchill the rice. It's actually really nice and I love going there after a cultural session at the Royal Academy. I liked it so much I wrote a fan letter to Julian Metcalfe, its owner. (He sent a very sweet reply.)

But this is the sort of incident a restaurant can't live down. Sort of like Boris Becker bonking in a broom cupboad at Nobu, only much much much more negative. Much. It's one thing if the food makes you so frisky you can't keep zipped up. Quite another if you are poisoned. Yikes!

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