Spring has sprung and it was with a spring in our steps that we set off for sushi brunch in Bethnal Green. If we’d stopped springing for a minute, we might have taken the time to check whether trains on our branch were stopping at Bethnal Green today but these are minor details that do not deter the determined bruncher.
To be fair to me, the sign in the station had made it clear that Sunday was the day when trains weren’t stopping at Bethnal Green and, last time I looked, the day after Friday wasn’t Sunday. Still, I didn’t really have anyone to complain to as we sailed straight through and arrived at an unprecedented Platform 11 of Liverpool Street. So instead of complaining, we decided that this was all part of the adventure and jumped on the 388 back to Bethnal Green Road.
If you’re wondering who my brunching companion was, well she’s requested to stay anonymous. Not for any good reason, just likes the idea of being an inter-boroughial woman of mystery. Real-life friends will soon deduce that it’s the person I hang out with on most Saturday mornings though.
We were at Issho-Ni to try the bottomless sushi brunch. I’m not super keen on fish, which is why I brought the anonymous companion with me, but the rest of the menu looked good so I was well up for the challenge of all-you-can-eat sushi. We started with the sashimi, which I gave to She Who Must Not Be Named. Then the kimchi and chuka seaweed arrived, which was much more my cup of pickles. I finished both of those and requested more because that was how this worked. I can never get enough pickled stuff.
Along with the kimchi and seaweed came a generous serving of edamame beans and a bowl of wasabi peas. This was like a collection of the best bar snacks ever. The seaweed was sweet and crunchy and the edamame beans nicely salted. The wasabi peas were a touch too spicy for me but her over there liked them.
And then came the maki rolls! Half were fish-based (spicy salmon and salmon avocado) and the other half were prawn tempura and vegetarian, which I think was mainly avocado. We cleared the plate between us and I asked for more, which may have been veering dangerously into “eyes bigger than tummy” territory. I think I had it in my mind that I could never fill up on sushi but reader, I was wrong.
So, this is how the bottomless brunch works – you have the table for an hour and a half. For the first 30 minutes, you feast on the maki rolls, sashimi and all the starters (the seaweed etc). Then you’re brought your main, which is a choice of Fried Aubergine, Salmon Teriyaki, Vegetable Tempura or Chicken Katsu Curry. I think Wagyu Steak is also available as an option, but at a supplement. I chose the katsu curry because I’ve been sorely disappointed with the version I’ve been having from a certain City-based lunchtime food provider of late. It used to be my staple comfort food at lunchtimes but the post-lockdown servings have been stingy on the edamame beans and confusing on the chicken distribution.
Anyway, Issho-Ni’s version blew that other place out of the water. Perfectly crispy chicken, in a slightly spiced batter and lots of piping hot curry sauce. Beautiful. And, as previously mentioned, the edamame beans were plentiful. My dining companion went for te aubergine and that was tasty too, although trickier to eat with chopsticks.
The only issue was that I was getting pretty full by this point. A bowl of katsu curry on top of 8 maki rolls means I didn’t really do the second plate of maki rolls justice. I wanted to keep eating and eating but my body started to protest that yes, you can fill up on sushi. But it was all so good!
By then, we were almost at the end of our timeslot anyway, so it all worked out nicely. It’s good value as it’s a lot of food and is served quickly by very friendly and helpful waiting staff. So if you wear your stretchiest trousers you can probably eat even more than we did in the 90 minutes. There was also a bottomless drinks option for £17 that you can add on – this gives you unlimited Prosecco or Bloody Geishas (a Japanese twist on a Bloody Mary). We didn’t go for that as midday seemed a bit early to be drinking but it seems like a good add on if you’re there for a special occasion.
So, good, filling food and lots of variety – what’s not to like? For more info and bookings, click here.
Disclaimer: I was given a complimentary brunch for both of us in exchange for a review but opinions remain honest and my own.