Before the arrival of Baby Edie, D & I took the (reluctant) decision to move from central London out to the ‘burbs. Try as you might, there’s an instinct that takes over when you have a kid and you start to crave being near big, green, open spaces – thinking that it will provide your spawn with a much more healthy and fulfilled lifestyle. There’s probably a lot of merit in it (and once she starts to have a bit of a clue about her surroundings I’m sure she’ll thank us for it), but as city dwellers it made D and I rather nervous. Now, don’t get me wrong Wimbledon is hardly the Outer Hebrides, but to us it signalled a shift across a relatively large chasm one approaches in life – when you stop being a happy-go-lucky ‘look at me I have disposable income to fritter on fine dining type’ and become the button-down ‘let’s save it for a special occasion’ sensible suburbanites type.
But probably the biggest fear of all was moving to the culinary wilderness. Central London is simply bursting at the seams with wonderful places to eat, however Wimbledon was seemingly void of anywhere to delight on the food front. Granted I no longer have a disposable income to fritter away on fine dining, but the prospect of a Weatherspoons pub being a ‘treat’ filled me with dread. Even the ‘upmarket’ Wimbledon Village area serves up little more impressive than a Carluccio’s, Strada, Auberge and a couple of bistro’s whose prices seem to have gotten a bit over-confident judging by the menus.
I am pleased to say however that there is at least one place that has come to my rescue in Wimbledon. One gleaming illumination in the darkness that is SW19’s restaurant landscape – let’s hear it for Sticks N Sushi!
I have my brother (@seanjones11kbw) and his addiction to Inari to thank for discovering this foodie treasure. I guess I also have him to blame for the loss of any semblance of disposable income I can scrape together now I’m on maternity leave as it all seems to be going in the till at Sticks N Sushi these days. We worked out that in Edie’s short 16 week long life, she’s been to the restaurant a whopping 13 times, and she can’t even eat yet!
The truth is, I can’t keep away from the place. Now, before you ask whether I’m fond of it because I’m essentially now lazy I’m a new mum and don’t stray further than 500yards from my home, I can assure that even if we were to move to deepest, darkest East London tomorrow, I would still insist upon weekly visits back to Wimbledon for sushi here, or even fly to their flagship in Copenhagen if it were easier than taking the tube.
The good news is that Sticks N Sushi is growing, they are due to open another branch in Covent Garden later this year – although in all honesty I love the place so much I rather want to keep it to myself and have it exclusively in Wimbledon. But I mustn’t be selfish. Food this good deserves to be experienced by as many people as possible. I feel truly sorry for those folk who will make it to their graves without experiencing Coal Crab rolls, Ebi bites and Sticks N Sushi’s unsurpassed Inari. Truly, truly sorry.
What’s so great about Sticks N Sushi is that not only does it serve up some of the best sushi I’ve ever eaten, they have an excitable enthusiasm for experimentation and creativity. If you follow their Twitter feed (@sticksnsushi_uk) then you’ll see that week after week they tweet new mouth-watering creations. The sushi is ‘cool’ in there. You can’t help but think it’s the Danish influence perhaps that adds the contagious playfulness to the whole place. The staff are all achingly young, attractive and remarkably friendly. They wander around in t-shirts with a free lesson in Danish printed on them for the punters. For example, from my many visits I now know that in Danish ‘duck’ is ‘and’, also ‘smile’ is ‘smil’. A free education whilst you eat…what more could you want? The interiors are just as you’d imagine the love child of Denmark and Japan to look – effortlessly gorgeous.
The menu is also one of the most beautifully presented menus I’ve ever seen. Printed on quality black stock, the visually stunning photographs have you simply drooling as you flick through the pages like a wide-eyed child on Christmas morning. So, just HOW many Inari is too much again??…
I often visit restaurants and think to myself how I must return, and do so with regularity, but the reality is I rarely get to many places more than 4 or 5 times, mostly because the novelty wears off after a while. At Sticks N Sushi however, as you can tell, I have broken my own record by a long shot. The novelty just doesn’t seem to be wearing off with this place. I go in feeling excited about what I’m about to experience, and I leave, sated, already looking forward to my next visit.
The more sushi and delicious yakatori sticks these guys can keep making, the more I shall be traipsing down there ready to fill my tummy.
Now, if my words haven’t done enough to convince you that you ought to be jumping on the first train out to Wimbledon to eat here, then perhaps some photos will support the case even more so…
A final word of warning to those tempted to visit – the desserts are outrageously good, so do try to restrain yourself when it comes to the sticks and the sushi as you definitely want to save room for dessert.
Sticks N Sushi is located on Wimbledon Hill Road and are open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner.