3 Appold St EC2A 2AF & 20 Copthall Avenue EC2R 7DN.
I don’t remember when I became obsessed with sushi, but I also can’t remember a time when I didn’t like it. It probably helps that I spent a year in Vancouver where sushi is as prevalent as cheese is in France, and I subsequently developed a slight addiction. Well, when it’s as fresh as fresh can be, as a result of living on the coast, and expertly prepared due to the high influx of immigration from Japan, and so inexpensive that £5 worth of sushi was sufficient for two lunches, it wasn’t exactly unexpected.
There are no shortage of places to go in our fair capital for sushi, and I am quite the connoisseur eating sushi easily at least once a week, but none of them have ever really taken my breath away. Often lacking freshness, this means flavour is compromised making the whole experience that little bit less remarkable. None of this is the case at K10 whose latest site opened recently on Appold Street just around the corner from their flagship on Copthall Avenue.
K10 takes its name from the Japanese ‘kaiten’ which describes its conveyor belt layout. An extremely large site in a prime corner location, the large windows allow passers-by to glimpse the dishes making circuits of the restaurant. With different colour plates denoting price categories, ala Yo Sushi, the prices range from £2 to £7.50 with hot dishes that can be ordered from any of the attentive staff somewhere in the middle. Still and sparkling water is on tap, and there is an abundance of ginger, soy sauce and wasabi tucked into the counters for each diner.
The joy of the conveyor belt layout is the immediacy with which you can pick your food. I can imagine K10 is super popular with bankers and lawyers, whose high rise buildings dominate this area, who spare little time to grab a bite to eat in the middle of the day (they also do brilliant value take away boxes). For Ellie and I, time wasn’t much of an issue so we chatted as the plates stared longingly back at us before we tucked in. The downside of the conveyor belt can occasionally be the pace at which it goes or the fear of the unknown dish – there is nothing more annoying than spying the dish you want on the other side of the belt and realising that it’ll never quite reach you. Never fear, the friendly staff are on hand straight away to clarify any dishes and will without prompting request plates from the chefs who are embedded within the centre of the conveyor belt.
We, finally, come to the food itself. Maximum freshness, maximum flavour, the sushi from the belt is nothing short of brilliant. Simple maki and nigiri find themselves interspersed with some of the most exciting and adventurous sushi based concoctions I’ve ever seen. What’s more the presentation of all the dishes is right on point, making them appear even more appetising. On the sushi side the tuna and salmon dragon rolls are absolutely my fave. Some of our top picks for the more adventurous dishes are the asparagus stems wrapped in beef carpaccio (if you want to stick with fish there is also a cucumber-salmon version of this) and the yellow fin ceviche. Before we move off the belt, the sashimi needs a mention; quite simply without a doubt the freshest, most melt in the mouth piece of fish I’ve had, perhaps ever. My stomach is rumbling just thinking about it again. This one is not for sharing with your friends.
With so many exciting possibilities before your eyes, it would be easy to overlook the selection of hot dishes, but this would be extremely foolish as they help to make K10 stand out even more from your run of the mill sushi chain (if that’s not an extreme contradiction in terms). If you order only one thing from the hot menu, it has to be the chilli baby squid; the perfect combination of salt, chilli and crunch with not a hint of grease in sight. We also had the gyoza and the chicken keragee, described by one of the owners as ‘Japanese style KFC’ which does it a major disservice. Again crispy, fresh and light rather than greasy as might be expected, it came served in a cute basket type contraption. There is also tempura and the usual katsu offerings, which I’m sure will far exceed expectation as the rest of the food did.
The final icing on the cake, quite literally, were the desserts. I can’t name another sushi restaurant I’ve ever been to where I would risk trying the puddings, but at K10 they looked too delicious to resist. We shared a chocolate mousse and a raspberry panacotta. Both were a creamy delightful sweet ending to our evening.
K10 is certainly a little more on the expensive end for the regular sushi chains, but then the catch is this is not a chain really. There are only two sites and expansion isn’t likely to be on the cards, preferring to stick to doing what they’re doing well rather than risk lesser quality products by branching out; a concept I can totally get on board with when they do what they do so well already. If you love sushi, you would be mad not to pay K10 a visit. Perhaps use a certain special occasion as an excuse, but, trust me, after you’ve tasted their sushi, you’ll be finding excuses for ‘special occasions’ a great deal more often.