When I booked the table at Koto, spring seemed to be on its way, but by the time the date rolled around, we were in the middle of a snowstorm that had led to cancellations across the city. I contacted Koto via their Facebook page to make sure that the restaurant was still open, and received the prompt and cheerful reply that yes, they certainly were - an example of Koto's excellent customer service that continued throughout the evening.
Reassured that neither rain nor snow nor gloom of night could stop a sushi chef, I headed down to the small but cosy restaurant on
The sashimi, a selection of tuna, salmon, scallops and prawns, was fresh and flavourful - I was unsure about eating raw prawns, but they went well with the soy sauce, wasabi and pickled ginger. The rainbow maki, a set of rice rolls with cucumber in the middle and salmon, tuna and avocado on top, was filling, and the avocado gave the dish a creamy consistency that complemented the rich flavours of the fish. The gyoza, while not the best I'd ever had, were good, and came with an appetising dipping sauce. I loved the agadashi tofu, which were delicately crisp on the outside and fall-apart soft on the inside, and enjoyed trying the flaky puffballs of takoyaki, a new experience for me.
As well as having excellent food, Koto is a pleasant restaurant; small and friendly, with attentive staff and a straightforward, unfussy atmosphere. They have a wide range of drinks available - although we were tempted by the sake, I went for a white wine, while my companion had the green tea (a good choice for such a cold night). Koto also has a good range of beers, spirits, and soft drinks on offer.
I will definitely be making a return visit to Koto - their katsu curries and chicken chan-chan yaki, which several of the diners around us ordered, look too tempting to resist. Sushi and sashimi may not be the first food you'd think of for a cold winter's night, but I thoroughly enjoyed Koto's takes on these traditional dishes, and would recommend them to anyone who's looking for authentic Japanese food near the centre of
A large meal for two, with drinks, cost £57.80.