These two Japanese restaurants opened up in our area before Christmas and we decided to test them one weekend after the other, to decide which would become our new local Japanese.
- Sushi Atelier is clean and modern-looking; upstairs consists of a bar overlooking the chefs and downstairs there are tables in a narrow room. The music was quite noticeable downstairs and upstairs was pretty busy and therefore noisy
- I am not sure if Kazu has a downstairs room as we were seated upstairs. The main room is light and airy with big windows on the corner of Tottenham Street and Charlotte Street, and there is a small counter facing the chefs. We felt more comfortable at Kazu (even with people on the street peering at our food)
Style of food:
- Sushi Atelier is focused on sushi and related items (as the name would suggest), for example tataki, sashimi and rolls. It is more fusion than traditional – the nigiri had interesting toppings, like Yashin
- Kazu on the other hand would be better described as a high-end izakaya; alongside sushi and sashimi, there were lots of hot food choices including grilled salmon, noodles, ochazuke and tempura
- Both were pretty similar – they clearly use the same sake importer and the choices of beer were Asahi or Kirin; Sushi Atelier has come up with the good idea of cards to explain the sake tasting flight rather than having their staff fumble over the terms though I wish they’d serve the sake in proper glasses!
- The staff at Sushi Atelier were very friendly and helpful, but at the end of the evening they started to struggle as the restaurant was at full capacity; we had to work hard to get our bill paid!
- The staff at Kazu were polite and efficient – not the type of people who are trying to be your new ‘friend’, but I don’t care about that!
Most importantly – the food:
- The highlights for me from Sushi Atelier were the nigiri, particularly the mackerel, and the butterfish tataki; on the other hand some of the other dishes we had were a little inconsistent, for example overpowering with mayo or wasabi
- On the other hand we really enjoyed everything we had at Kazu, both the cold and the warm dishes. Our highlights here included the ochazuke, the taro salad and kaki fry (fried oysters)
Verdict: Kazu for the win!
(Side note: I didn’t think it fair to do a price comparison as we ordered more and drank more at Sushi Atelier – my sense is you’d pay slightly more at Sushi Atelier but I’d say it’s reasonably even)