Clapham was the area of choice for my best friend's 30th birthday meal. She chose the Japanese restaurant, Tsunami. It's directly across the road from Clapham High Street tube station, and on the adjacent road to High Street.
Only a 10 minute drive from Brixton and my hopes weren't high, but I was bowled over by the food and service. Portions are generous, but also pretty and chock-full of flavour. If you're dubious about Japanese food, or like me, not very interested in East Asian food, have a rethink and visit Tsunami.
I had imagined salty, oily food and an abundance of sloppy noodles and rice. But Tsunami serves up delicate flavours that take you by surprise and there was a freshness akin to Thai cuisine.
We had a mix of prawn and lobster sushi with avocado cream and wasabi and grilled black cod that was out of this world with a depth of flavours. After what seemed like a stream of food, we were served steamed prawn and salmon dumplings that were fantastic; a cocophony of shellfish, parsley and Japanese seasoning, that melted in the mouth.
I had the opportunity of meeting the owner, who told me he created every dish himself, obviously with the help of his talented chefs (who we could see through the open kitchen behind us).
I'm not sure if it was because we were sitting with the owner, but the service was great; staff were attentive, friendly and thankfully, not overbearing.
This restaurant in Clapham is one of two across London. It gets busy, but the booths are spacious and we fit four women (with space) and three chairs around our table. It was intimate, but not at all squashed.
With the birthday girl leading the way, she prompted us to share starters as well as mains. Staff treated the starters as tapas and as they brought them out all at different times, everyone got to tuck in and share the food. It was perfect for the size of our group and would suit equally-sized groups of friends, families, or birthday gatherings.
Make sure you book a table because it gets busy. Although not a rowdy venue, it does get full, which was enjoyed by my friends and I who were in a celebratory, joyful mood, as we showered drinks on the birthday girl.
Speaking of drinks, my friend (birthday girl) ordered the spicy, slightly savoury lime-smoked drink. Once served our waiter lit the dried lime that sat on the outside, at the bottom of the glass because the smoke brought out the flavour of the drink. I was questioned this rather extravangant gesture, but amazingly, the smoking lime scent added a fruity element to the drink which complimented the slightly bitter flavour. It was very impressive indeed. Not to mention our waiter's skills with the blow torch.
As our meal drew to a close the staff brought out a surprise birthday 'cake', which was a pastry cake with a sparkling candle, my friend loved it, it was brilliant.