Sushi restaurants have suddenly become keen to let their customers have a ‘hands on’ experience with their future meal. So is it as easy at it looks? After all, slicing up fish and rolling them around rice can’t be that difficult? I attended a class to find out.
This year, restaurants of all types are very keen to offer cooking experiences to their clientele. I am not sure how the ‘health and safety’ police work when you invite members of the public near hot pots and injury inducing machinery in a professional kitchen. I can hear ambulance chasing cries of “Have you had an accident? Was it your fault?”
Last night I was invited to sushi restaurant and Japanese bar, ‘Sumosan’ to experience a one-off sushi making class. Admittedly I have been to two other sushi classes by London venues, however neither has the reputation of Mayfair based Sumosan. Rumours are that several ‘A-Listers’ are regular visitors whenever they are in town. Sumosan is very well established, first opening its doors in Albemarle Street in 2002. It has been serving Londoners for over a decade and wasn’t on my radar as I typically cover new restaurants and food events in London.
Unsurprisingly we weren’t allowed to handle the deadly sharp and ultra expensive sushi knives. Understandable for blades which are traditionally tested by attempting to slice into one’s finger-nail as ‘skin’ is too delicate. Fortunately we were entrusted with blunt bamboo rolling mats and soft rice.
With a great deal of instruction from the chefs, we constructed nigri, inside out rolls and a California roll from balls of rice and sliced fish portioned out before each lesson. Fortunately there were no disasters as Executive Head Chef Bubker Belkhit and his lieutenants looked on.
If you get the opportunity to attend a sushi making class, it’s a very rewarding experience. The class is definitely fun and this version was more in detailed than the others I’ve attended. This sort of activity would be perfect for a ‘team-bonding exercise’ (i.e. read ‘excuse for a team night out’). At the very least you will gain an appreciation for the skill of a sushi chef. It’s not as easy as it looks and given that it takes 10 years or more to become a sushi master in Japan it’s definitely a challenge.
NOTE: Many thanks to Sumosan Restaurant and Bacchus PR for their invitation and hospitality. Also big thanks to Exec Head Chef Bubker Belkhit who flew in for the day from Russia to ensure no fingertips (or restaurant reputations) were lost.