I wonder how many people can remember St. Sushi occupying a spot in Eldon Square? This was long before Grey’s Quarter, when the highlight of dining in there was a Pizza Hut. I never actually ate in that location, preferring their restaurant opposite Tilley’s for ambience. Now their permanent home is the dimly-lit former Salsa Cafe on Westgate Road, a mere stone’s throw away from the Academy.
We’ve eaten here a few times of late with friends, liking its informal approach to dining. The menu isn’t great at alluding to what the ingredients are in each dish, so any information we had was gleaned from the staff. With the huge array to chose from it is a Japanese food lovers’ paradise, although it can be a bit bamboozling for those who too aren’t familiar with the cuisine. While – as the moniker suggests – sushi is the star of the show, curries and gyoza also make up just some of the options at St. Sushi. Bento boxes are a way to sample a range of their dishes in one sitting, as well as being attractively presented.
On this particularly busy Friday night we were dining in a group with a mix of dietary requirements. It was also a large party, which meant ensuring we all got what we wanted and were sure the veganism and allergies were fully understood was a big ask for a flustered waitress.
There was a long delay on the food, and some of our party had finished before others had even received their plates of food.
Mr. Canny and I decided to share a few dishes rather than get individual portions, meaning we could sample more of what St. Sushi had to offer non-meat eaters like ourselves.
Dining out with a dietary requirement can be a risky business, especially when there isn’t a vegan or gluten-free menu offered in a restaurant. We have been spoilt of late with many dining establishments providing allergen lists – as much as Mr. Canny hates them being referred to in this manner – and I feel it is the bare minimum eateries can do in this day and age with such an emphasis on ensuring dining out is safe for those who have issues like these. There was a lot less confusion in Nudo, for example, because a special menu was provided. I can’t begin to imagine how daunting it must be to dine out if you or one your family carries an Epipen.
We sampled Tofu Katsu Curry, Vegetable Gyoza, Aubergine in Garlic, Seaweed and a side of rice. The rest of the table tucked into all manner of fish dishes. The food itself was good, although most were tepid by the time it arrived at the table. The aubergine in particular would have been more enjoyable hotter as the sauce became greasy.
We felt the prices were reasonable for what we ate, but can’t help feeling disappointed each visit is like Russian Roulette without a clearer menu. We rely on the staff understanding what veganism is, which in itself isn’t fair. Based on our own experiences of dining out, not everyone front or back of house comprehends how much this impacts on food and drink consumption. While there is a vegetarian section on the menu, clearer labelling on each dish would allay the fears of those who avoid egg and dairy. We continue to visit as many of our friends think the standard of dishes – especially the fish – are of an exceptional standard. I hope they address these concerns in the near future as I can’t help but feel they are deterring many with dietary requirements from visiting.
Thanks for reading,