Itsu, All London
I started off London life hating this stupid, bland faux-Japanese sushi chain that was everywhere in London. But nature finds a way, and I can safely say I’ve become well acquainted with the institution that is Itsu. As every box I indulge in tells me, Itsu was developed from the early pioneers of Pret. And like that chain, it does a lot well, and like that chat it does a lot that infuriates me.
Two of the reasons I got so attached to the chain is that they are reasonably healthy, and they do a half price sale thirty minutes before closing. Closing time is quite late (10pm for my local Victoria store), but combined with a late night gym session it works out quite nicely. Meals under £3, oh yes please.
I’d be much less inclined to pay full price for any of this, as it’s not particularly worth it. On the other spectrum it makes me a little sad to see places like Itsu doing so well, whilst mom-and-pop type cafes struggle. It’ll be a shame for our food culture to descend into vending machine monotony.
I’ve tried most of the non-seafood options at Itsu and here’s a wee breakdown:
Teriyaki chicken – a bit simple, it’s chicken, rice and a small amount of peas, spring onion and ginger. The sauce is quite nice and low calorie compared to full blown sugary teriyaki sauces. Filling with the bed of rice.
Itsu does a fine soft boiled egg and here with the avocado and chicken it’s a good, balanced mix. There’s a surprising amount of salad green sitting under all that. I like the salad dressing which I can only describe as tasting of “green”. The chicken can sometimes be more dodgy tasting, like here. The more premium, seeded sushi wasn’t especially better than the standard issue sushi, which is alright.
I wasn’t impressed with the vegetarian dumplings. Which are oddly served on rice. They don’t taste right cold, but they also taste right microwaved up. The white chocolate dessert is delish, and the fruit salad helps. I hate the ratio of the seven fruit salad, it’s all pineapple with like ten pomegranate seeds and five or six blueberries.
The mix plate was one of their seasonal offerings, with tenderstem broccoli, a sesame dressing chicken and vegetarian sushi. It costed a little more from memory but it’s way good. There’s very few options that give you sushi along with something else.
I don’t rate the noodle salad. They always come so wet and I’ve had a bag ruined due to the leakage from the food, ugh. As you can see above, Itsu isn’t as consistent as it should be. I wouldn’t serve broccoli that yellow and sometimes the salad leaves can be dodge. I don’t think they do it any more, but for a while they had the shirataki/ zero calorie noodles that I was into. Those were better.
Also see Wasabi