A month has now passed since my trip to the wonderful world that is Tokyo, Japan and now I was experiencing some severe Sushi withdrawal symptoms. So when a friend of mine was visiting London for the day and suggested we try a new sushi place in Stratford; ‘Koi Sushi Garden’. I jumped at the chance.
Food - 7.5/10
Ambiance - 8.5/10
Service - 4/10
Value for Money - 7/10
A nice little sushi restaurant with western influences. The decor and the food are great experiences but there is quite a bit of room for improvement in the service. (Available on Tastecard)
Price Range: ££
Telephone: 020 853 41357
Address: 156 The Grove, London E15 1NS
Nearest Station: Stratford
Typically in Sushi restaurants, it is hard to make the distinguishment between Starters and Mains, so for easy writing, all the dishes that we ordered will be bucketed under mains.
We started by ordering three smaller dishes which were the Salty Edamames (these are always great for a nibble); two sets of Vegetable Spring Rolls and the Chukka Salad which is made from Wakame Seaweed. The Spring Rolls were wonderfully crispy and packed full of veggies with the usual Sweet Chilli Sauce to accompany it. The Wakame Seaweed was also delightful and made for a nice palate cleanser when switching between dishes.
The Salty Edamames was a slight disappointment. There was far too much salt for my liking and after a while, you do feel massively dehydrated (good thing I ordered a jug of tap water!). But also, some of the Edamames seemed on the stale side which meant some came with odd, lumpy textures and a displeasing taste.
When looking at the bigger dishes, you can see this restaurant does have some Western influences. With dishes named as the Philadelphia and California Uramaki and a plethora of dishes found to be made with Cream Cheese. So if you or your friend don’t like cream cheese (like my friend does) your options from the menu do become slightly limited.
We went for the eight-piece California Salmon Uramaki which is layered in Tobiko (fish eggs) and the four-piece Kyoto Uramaki made up of Eel, Crab Stick, Tobiko and sauced with Teriyaki.
The California Salmon Uramaki is dosed in Tobiko which adds an interesting texture to the sushi as you feel the little eggs burst in your mouth. The Kyoto was crunchy and mixed with A LOT of teriyaki sauce which always makes for a good bite!
The interior of the restaurant gets a big thumbs up from me. We were seated in the outside part of the restaurant which I was a bit sceptical of at first (as we are in the middle of winter). However, the area is well heated with little to no draft from the outside. The decor is nature and green-themed, with leaf-shaped and wooden cutleries to match. Coupled with the outdoor lights, Koi Sushi Garden does have a very beautiful aesthetic.
However, my friend and I couldn’t help but notice that on a 1 pm on a Sunday which should be the peak lunchtime rush time for most restaurants. We found ourselves being the only customers here, which does take away from the ambience.
The fact that we were alone did put a spotlight on the customer service and how underwhelming it was. After being seated at the back of the restaurant, we weren’t seen too by the waitress for another 20minutes to take our order (you do get these buzzers on your table to call the waiting staff, which we clicked several times. I can only assume it wasn’t working). Once ordered our dishes did arrive within a reasonable time. However, we did experience a bizarre moment when the waitress asked if we needed anything because she needed to leave the building for a few minutes and so the very quiet atmosphere got even quieter. In addition, getting the waitress’s attention again but this time to pay was also a slight pain. After many failed attempts we decided to head to the till ourselves and pay.
All in all, a rather pleasant experience at Koi Sushi Garden. The food and aesthetic are a great positive for this restaurant, but I am apprehensive to see what the service would be like when it is in fact busy.