You either love or hate sushi, and I've always been on the other end of the spectrum, vehemently ruling out raw, wobbly, smelly fish. Or at least that was until Shimogamo, just off Camden high street, turned my head. This no-fuss eatery is a game-changer.
I was taken here on a date, a first date a little while ago now. Said date didn't tell me where we were going prior to us meeting, and I just assumed some cute Italian, or blink-and-you'll-miss-it speakeasy that serves killer nibbles, first date ideals for me.
But nah, date said sushi with enthusiasm and I internally hoped, prayed my eyebrows hadn't automatically raised in horror. Instead I mouthed a soft: "yeah", when he asked if I like it. My inner voice was screaming (I'll make for a toilet break and furiously text me sister that eugh, 'date's name' took me for sushi!)
I have a love for sashimi, but at the time all sushi-dishes escaped me, so my date explained (hand gestures too), this is nigiri, this is a roll, this is sashimi, etc. What a doll right? Brownie points. So we ordered the sushi platter to share.
Oh and for those that wonder why my chopstick skills are terrible? Because up until now I've avoided Asian, Japanese and Chinese dishes because of very bad experiences. My date however, was a confident pro, god damn it.The fish was incredibly fresh. I fell for sashimi which tasted like just-churned butter, but from the sea, with a mild flavour of fish. If I'm honest, save for the wasabi, it was a truly pleasant, gentle flavours kind of meal. Nothing to was too-overpowering, which I hate, so this sushi-hater was gently being guided in the other direction.
And then I had the black cod. My goodness. Eloquence and loveliness combined, black cod, a fish native to North Pacific waters – which I tried to find it in my local fishmongers, (and failed) – was like walking in to a warm, calm sea of miso, meltingly moreish mouthfuls of fillet and a sweet glaze on the one side. Honestly, if it's this alone, come to Shimogamo.
Oh and the desserts are pretty good too; I've never been keen on Asian sweets, I find them too-sweet for my palate, too far left for my appreciation of my very British approach to desserts, and don't particularly enjoy adventurous desserts which employ ingredients like fish sauce, or chicken stock in their desserts. But this tart was just lovely. I tried the wasabi-flavoured ice cream too, which was real good.
Price-wise, it's cheap to average. If like me, you've quite an appetite be prepared to spend around £40. You could easily spend more/less, depending on how hungry you are, but either way, irrespective of the no-frills decor and basic tables, you will leave satisfied.