UPDATE 28th April 2015: This branch of Shiso has closed. The Crouch End shop is still open.
Shiso is a small, independent Japanese cafe tucked away on Long Lane near the Barbican. On the menu, you will find a selection of sashimi and sushi sets, gyoza, chicken katsu, noodles, teriyaki and Japanese tea. Vegetarian options include vegetarian sushi, gyoza and noodles. The style is self service and very much like the chain, Wasabi – the sushi are already pre-packaged and displayed in a fridge for you to take to the counter. The hot dishes are ordered at the counter too and are also already prepared. Shiso is very popular at lunchtime and there is often a queue of people, usually ordering food for takeaway. There are three or four small tables to eat in but they do get nabbed very quickly. The turn over is fairly quick however. The food can sell out quickly too – once it’s gone, it’s gone 🙂
I go to Shiso regularly for lunch, usually for sushi, gyoza and miso soup. I do love their sushi which is both fresh and well made. My favourite is the inside out selection which includes salmon and avocado rolls, California rolls and avocado and cucumber rolls. I have also tried their vegetarian sushi selection which included Japanese omelette, tempura vegetables and tofu nigiri and avocado and cucumber maki. I usually find vegetarian sushi options rather bland however, I actually enjoyed eating Shiso’s veggie sushi as much as the fish version. The sushi and sashimi sets range from around £3 – 8 at time of writing.
I’m also rather partial to their gyoza. There are three choices of filling: chicken, vegetables and prawn. For £3.50, you get five plump and delicious little dumplings, served with a soy and rice vinegar dipping sauce.
I have tried the noodles and the teriyaki – these are pretty good value at £4 – 6 per portion – but to be honest, I have had better. The vegetarian noodles did not come with tofu as advertised sadly and the salmon teriyaki was a little overcooked. Still, the price is good and the food isn’t bad so you could do worse!
I do like to support independent places and Shiso is a delightful little place that is deservedly popular – I come here over Itsu. There are rumours that the Long Lane shop will sadly close in the new future (it has been threatening to close since December but it has stayed on). There is another larger restaurant in Crouch End which will remain open. If you are in the Barbican area, then it’s definitely worth a visit if you fancy some decent sushi – catch it before it goes! I hope it doesn’t go..
74-75 Long Lane
London. EC1A 9ET
Nearest underground station: Barbican
Typical cost per person excluding drinks: Up to £10