Review: Dinner at Sticks and Sushi

IMG_3947Great sushi in a city that is entirely landlocked? We’ve got it! Danish restaurant chain Sticks and Sushi recently opened here, bringing amazingly fresh sushi to us, and a host of delicious nibbles.

They have 4 restaurants in London, and Cambridge is the first location outside of London. We’re lucky in Cambridge as it seems to be the place for testing the waters when a restaurant chain wants to move outside the capital. I’ve got my eye on a few more high quality chains that I want to open here – Dishoom and Honest Burgers please!

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The interiors and the concept is exactly what you’d expect from Scandinavia and Japanese influences put together – everything is very slick – the interiors are gorgeous, the service super friendly and the tableware envious. The tables are set around a large, round bar meaning you get a bit of privacy and the modern interior feels sleek and cosy at the same time.

A note about the pictures in this post – the LED lighting used in the restaurant leaves lines across the photos when viewed through a smartphone camera, so some of them might be a bit distorted. Apologies!

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And the food? There’s quite a bit to talk about! First of all, the menu is called the ‘photo album’ – yes this is bit pretentious but for someone like me who doesn’t know much about sushi, it is useful to have a visual guide. It consists of 144 visuals (they put that on the website, I didn’t count) starting with bites and sushi and then on to salads, mixed platters of sticks and sushi and finally dessert. There’s a lot of choice, and the photographs do make life easier, as well as the combinations they put together for you.

Here’s what we ate (and drank)…

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Kimchi (virgin) Bloody Mary

I’ve not long been drinking Bloody Marys but my addiction has grown fast and quickly, so they often have to be virgin. This only appears in the non-alcoholic section but I imagine they’ll pop some vodka in there for you! It’s made with fresh tomato juice, spicy kimchi, salt and pepper. Beautifully refreshing!

The Mr went for the Ko-Sanka cocktail – pomegranate, apple, mint and jasmine. He said it was nice and refreshing although a little heavy on the mint.

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Fried cauliflower with black truffle sauce

Deeply savoury, crispy cauliflower with an intense miso-based sauce, we didn’t detect too much truffle here but otherwise it was a fantastically addictive side.

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Ebi bites

Ridiculously fresh prawns encased in a crisp rice coating with a miso aioli – I’m glad the Mr is a vegetarian because I could eat these all to myself. Addictive, I imagine they’d be fantastic nibble with a large glass of white wine.

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Kani korokke with wasabi caesar sauce

Deep fried crab is always a winner, and whilst I loved the crispy coating and the punchy wasabi, the filling didn’t live up to expectations. I was expecting a light crab filling but it was a little heavy, and I wasn’t too sure about the addition of sweetcorn.

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Jerusalem artichoke chips with miso aioli 

I love jerusalem artichokes and these were great, not too overcooked and the savoury aioli made them into a super-addictive snack and a great alternative to chips.

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Green keeper – Nigiri: Inari, avocado and tenderstem. Maki: inside-out Hosomaki with greens. King oyster mushroom and sweet potato sticks, spicy edamame beans, grilled corn and seaweed salad.

Sticks and Sushi’s slogan, is a ‘sushi restaurant for people who don’t like sushi’ which is an excellent way to persuade a vegetarian to come along with you. The vegetarian options are vast, and the green keeper platter was just as delicious, fresh and expertly made as any of the fish-based options. The Hosomaki (left) was the highlight, stuffed with delicately smoked chestnuts and ripe avocado.

The sticks (below), mushroom and sweet potato, were well-cooked but could have done with some more embellishment to really make them taste special, they were a little plain.

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Mixed emotions –  Nigiri: salmon, tuna and prawn. Gypsy roll. Pink alaska – salmon, avocado. cream cheese. Sticks: Pork belly, chicken meatballs and miso chicken.

This was all excellent – the sushi is the freshest I’ve had with such a range of flavours. The gypsy roll had a delicate spiciness and the cream cheese really did work in the pink alaska. The Nigiri was just about excellent, excellent ingredients – no claggy rice here.

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The sticks were well cooked with some really gorgeous savoury notes, particularly the pork belly. I think they overdo it a little on the edamame and the rice, which I did struggle to eat, but I do have a small appetite!

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Puddings! Chocolate peppermint fondant with popping candy, rhubarb & umeshu sorbet, vanilla creme brûlée

We were feeling quite full by this point so we chose three puddings between us. I love their way of doing puddings, they are all this size and you can have 3 for £8 or one of each for £30. Maybe I’ll just come in for pudding one today? The creme brûlée had the trademark crackly top and a vanilla-rich filling. The umeshu (a Japanese fruit liquer) added a kick of booze to the fresh rhubarb sorbet and it was surprisingly good with the incredibly rich and gooey chocolate fondant. A great end to a really interesting meal!

If you take a look at the menu you’ll see that Sticks and Sushi is by no means a cheap meal out, around £50 for us with a cocktail each and tea, but the quality of ingredients are worth it. I’d definitely return for a plate of sushi and those ebi bites. The sticks didn’t live up to expectations, unfortunately, but there’s more than enough else to keep you occupied.

We were also really impressed with the quality and flavours in the vegetarian sushi and the range of bites available for veggies too.

A great addition to Cambridge’s thriving restaurant scene, and somewhere I’d recommend for a blow-out meal or a special occasion.

We were invited to dine by Bookatable, all opinions are my/my husband’s own!

Sticks and Sushi,
Wheeler Street,
Cambridge.

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