Word of a new sushi place in London always gets me excited so when Oliver Maki opened in Soho recently, I quickly made a lunch reservation for Mr S and I.
A family-owned restaurant group, Oliver Zeitoun and his brother Amer already have four popular restaurants in the Middle East and this is their first restaurant in London. It’s actually Japanese cuisine with a bit of twist – this isn’t your standard sushi stop – Head Chef Louis Kenji Huang uses international flavours and textures to create innovative dishes which are rather extraordinary. Rather than starting with a hearty bowl of miso, we were given little shots that come with sweet potato crisps and bread – I’m not sure what made the bread blue but it reminded me the corn bread that you get at Lima.
We also ordered some edamame beans to nibble on. Mr S and I often order these soybeans but I don’t always include a picture as they’re pretty standard fare but these were a bit different, chargrilled and with a touch of oil and salt they had a delicious smokey flavour.
Rather than a traditional menu, the food is itemised on an iPad, this I’ve seen this at a few restaurants and it’s becoming a bit of a trend. Though at Oliver Maki you still give your order to the waiter or waitress, you don’t actually order straight from the iPad.
I really liked the interior, the restaurant is very small, maybe around ten tables downstairs, but apparently more upstairs, and very simple and chic. There’s also a video display enticing diners with the various dishes that they can order, pretty useful as the menu is vast and it’s difficult to know what to choose. Which is lucky for Oliver himself, as he has eaten in a branch of Oliver Maki every day for the past decade!
Rock shrimp tempura tacos were delicious with just about the right amount of spice and a citrus twist provided by a good squeeze of lime.
The salmon ceviche was beautifully prepared and a good example of how the chef draws on other cultures and techniques in his menu. We loved the fresh, light flavours of the marinaded fish served with tomatoes and avocado. It reminded me that I literally cannot wait to try authentic ceviche in Peru, less than three months to go now!
I’d already seen a few pictures on social media and I was excited to try the signature sushi jewel box.
A perspex box packed with the chef’s special selection of sushi…
Each drawer contained a perfectly fashioned piece of sushi…
So beautifully presented and tasty! I can’t remember what everything was and the selection varies but salmon, prawn, tuna and eel were all included.
If you come to Oliver Maki, I’d highly recommend ordering a sushi platter, it was definitely the best thing we tried at the restaurant. And we couldn’t eat here without ordering some maki rolls too.
Perfectly prepared spicy tuna and avocado. The rolls at Oliver Maki are made using brown rice which gives the sushi a slightly nutty flavour and a great bite to it. We didn’t try it but apparently the signature Oliver Maki roll contains over 30 ingredients and is actually eight rolls in one! Also rather than soy sauce the chef has created his own signature blend to dunk your sushi into.
We had to order one of our faves, rock shrimp tempura which arrived as perfect popcorn sized bites in a tasty spicy sauce, while it didn’t surpass SushiSamba, it was still very good!
Finally, though I could nibble on sushi and sashimi all day, Mr S needed something more filling and meaty and we went ahead and ordered some grilled chicken. This was probably my least favourite dish, Mr S thought it was overcooked and it wasn’t as tender as the robata grilled chicken that I’ve tried at other Japanese restaurants. We still ate it all though!
Mr S and I very much enjoyed our lunch at Oliver Maki and it was very conveniently located right opposite Soho House, perfect for us to pop in for a coffee and an apple crumble afterwards.
33 Dean Street
020 7734 0408