Sushi Ga Ga

I was surprised to get invited to Sushi Ga Ga by a PR firm. Surprised, because other bloggers reviews of Sushi Ga Ga had not been great and so I was half expecting my invitation to be revoked. After all, after not so positive reviews of the new Mexican restaurant Cantino Laredo, the restaurant’s (separate) PR firm emailed me and told me they no longer wanted me to visit Cantino Laredo as other bloggers “had been rude to staff”. I don’t mean to be churlish about this, as I feel privileged to receive an invitation to review a restaurant and realise it is just that, an invitation, and can be withdrawn at any time. Still, I have spoken to the bloggers who I guess must be the ones in question, and they have denied being rude to the staff and speculated that the withdrawal of the invitation was purely on the basis of a run of bad reviews.

Crispy duck rolls

Congratulations then to Sushi Ga Ga’s PR firm for not treating all bloggers as a homogenous group that will all write exactly the same thing and behave in the same way. Because while I think Sushi Ga Ga has to be the worst London restaurant name since Urban Turban and the interior is kitsch in a “Hello Kitty” sort of way and cheap looking, I also think the food is actually not bad. You just have to get over the fact that Sushi Ga Ga is not a traditional Japanese restaurant (the name is perhaps a slight giveaway). So it was not the sushi or more standard dishes that impressed but instead the chef’s recommendations.

Wasabi prawns

Our favourites were the wasabi prawns, nasudengaku, tuna tataki and sirloin beef. The wasabi prawns (£5.50) arrived looking like little crustacean lolly pops, perched on skewers set in a board. Sure it was gimmicky and cutesy, but the tempura batter was light and crisp, the prawns meaty and the wasabi gave an addictive kick. Nasudengaku (£5.50) was a great version of this staple Japanese dish of miso topped aubergine with the slow cooked aubergine tasting silky and sweet. Tuna tataki (£12.50) was crisp and pale on the outside with a blood red interior served with a shot glass of sour ponzu sauce with a citrus tang. Sirloin beef wrapped in golden mushroom (£12.50) was nigh on perfect and encaspulated all that is good about Sushi Ga Ga. Thin slices of sirloin beef were wrapped around sprouting mushrooms and teamed with a miso paste. The beef was tender and cooked to a pale pink while the mushrooms and miso were the perfect foil to the meat.

Tuna tataki

In contrast the selection of salmon and tuna nigri sushi that we tried were a little lacking in bounce and brightness, not bad but forgettable. For a sushi restaurant that is not really good enough. I would also suggest avoiding the crispy duck rolls (£4.50) which were too much crispy, fried skin and not enough duck.

Sirloin beef

If you ignore the name and the strange sunken tatami seating and glass table set up and order wisely you can eat pretty well at Sushi Ga Ga. It needs to lift its game on its sushi but otherwise the food I tried was not bad. What’s more it is a restaurant that is confident and proud enough of what it is offering not to turn people away just because it cops a bit of mixed press.

Details: 16 Lisle street, Soho WC2H 7BE (Ph 020 7287 6606) Tube: Oxford Circus
Damage: Reasonable

Gourmet Chick was a guest of Sushi Ga Ga

For Japanese in Soho I would recommend Sakura or Koya.

Sushi Ga Ga on Urbanspoon


  1. I’m a bit bloody outraged by that PR firm’s accusations; me and my companion were nothing of the sort. Cheek of it.

  2. Great review GC, and since when have you become a professional photographer! – great snaps. The name of this place seems to say so much about it!

  3. Out of curiosity, what’s the protocol once you arrive at a restaurant that’s invited you? Does the restaurant know what day and time you’re going?

  4. Depends on what the PR staff mean by being rude to staff. It may have been what was written about the service rather than being rude at the time.

    Lizzie’s review praised her server so I doubt they meant her. However, Chris did comment on oversolicitious front-of-house at Cantina Laredo that may have upset the staff in question. BTW, I’m not debating the rights and wrongs of his comments just that they could be taken the wrong way by the staff in question.

    Sorry for straying off topic. Back to Sushi Ga Ga, it certainly looks like they’ve smartened up their act after the initial bad blog reviews.

  5. To withdraw an invite because your fellow bloggers were (supposedly) rude is really a bit lame.

    That said, the invite is a PR exercise and if it is not yielding the desired result (i.e. positive reviews) I think any business manager would think about cancelling the project

  6. Just to let you know, I emailed Cantina’s PR people about this directly and they have assured me it was neither me nor Chris Pople they were talking about. Odd thing to do though, to criticize members of such a small community.

    ANYWAY – Sushi Ga Ga looks like they’ve sorted themselves out, luckily for you.

  7. I’m fascinated by the presentation of the wasabi prawns. Can’t decide if I like it or not LOL, though love anything with wasabi on it.

  8. Those wasabi prawns look amazing!

  9. Lizzie – They didn’t say who it was but given you and Chris were the only other people invited to review that I know of they seemed to be implying it was one of you two. After talking to Chris I knew that both of you did not think you had been rude to the staff at all. Good they said it wasn’t you but did they mention who it was?

    Greedy Diva – Thanks. Photography skills not any different – have just worked out how to make photos bigger in size which seems to make them look better.

    American in London – Yes they know as you book in a time to visit. That is why I always say in a review if I have been invited as I think you generally get better service as they know you are there.

    Mr Noodles – It was a very strange thing to say by the PR firm. As for Sushi Ga Ga Catty has also done a fairly positive review.

    Gregory – fair point but does cancelling the project make the whole situation even worse?

    Heavenly Housewife – Kai the Michelin star Chinese restaurant does wasabi prawns as well if you are feeling the urge

    Lonestar – Yes I really liked them – very moreish

  10. I’ve not seen the other reviews but it looks like you had a better deal. I like the food on sticks!

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