Standing out from the crowd, this local Japanese eatery produces awe-inspiring cuisine on every visit, rivalling any central London Japanese restaurant on all counts. No wonder this is celeb chef Michel Roux Jr’s favourite local restaurant. Not only that, but Tsunami Clapham elevated the ‘best steak’ benchmark on this visit, taking us to dizzy new steak-loving heights with a wagyu masterpiece.
Kataifi oysters, £7.50
To start, some of the pan-Asian dishes from the appetisers came recommended, including the kataifi oysters. Oyster nuggets were hidden beneath a wispy nest of kataifi, and some wasabi tobiko mayo alongside added the right amount of umami.
Soft shell crab tempura, £8.50
Crisp soft shell crab was encased in a tempura batter, balanced out with some deliciously tart yuzu-dressed leaves. The Japanese citrus dressing was needed to balance the rich crab, and the green chilli dipping sauce with a hint of wasabi masqueraded as Japanese mayonnaise.
The inside-out rainbow roll was as colourful as its name; topped with green flying fish roe and filled with cream cheese, avocado and masago roe. The ‘rainbow roll’ tag comes from the carefully-crafted stripes of salmon, sea bass and tuna, and this was the better of the two sushi plates. Dipped in the Japanese mayo, the creamy wasabi hit rounded off the seaweed powder-dusted lobster roll. There was a herbal tanginess from the yamagobo burdock root leaf, which was a really interesting flavour. I still think the volcano roll that won the 2012 Sushi Award Championships is a must-try, but these were close contenders.
Wagyu Picanha, £35
We were in for a treat with the mains: the melt-like-butter wagyu steak was a mind-blowing creation. Apparently wagyu is all the more flavourful and tender as wagyu cows are luxuriously massaged and fed saké, meaning the fat marbles throughout the meat. We went for the epic 30-day aged wagyu picanha, tagged as the best cut from the rump cap. This wasn’t a one-person steak; it needed two committed carnivores to tackle the prime cut. Cooked medium rare, the marbling melted into the steak, and it enriched the tenderly pink meat with buttery succulence. Hawksmoor should be quaking in their boots, that’s all I’m saying. You can choose two sauces to go with the wagyu, and for me, the intense, sticky truffle sauce far outshone the creamy wasabi sauce.
Truffle ribeye, £15.90
The truffled ribeye steak was also full of flavour, with some unspeakably-good teriyaki sauce which coated the meat in a syrupy glaze. An artistic tangle of petal-strewn seaweed marinated in smoky sesame-soy dressing made a delicious accompaniment, along with some fluffy jasmine rice and sautéed exotic oriental mushrooms.
Chocolate spring rolls
Fit to burst but with a duty to complete our mission, we moved onto dessert. Drizzled with a light smattering of butterscotch sauce, the spring rolls were dripping with delicious dark chocolate. Some Japanese whisky yamakazi ice cream added coolness with a boozy whisper.
Topped with a cloud of cream, the banoffee butterscotch sundae came with bananas and biscuit rubble which got a bit of a look-in but, it was too late, we were beat.
We left the restaurant with a firm pledge to return for the next wagyu fix. A dedication to premium Japanese sushi and not-to-be-missed Japanese signature dishes make this restaurant my local favourite by a city mile. You’ll be in good company when you visit Tsunami, and you may even spot Michel Roux Jr.
5 – 7 Voltaire Road, Clapham, London, SW4 6DQ