As a born and bred Brixtoner, you can bet I’ve pretty much eaten my way through the town. From warming curried goat bought off street-side vans to plates of pasta wolfed down in pretty trattorias, there’s little I haven’t tried. But when Temaki opened up in the market, its slick yet pared-back appearance piqued my intrigue. And while I love sushi, I'd never heard of its namesake – a type of Japanese handroll. Something new in Bricky I hadn’t tried yet? Let’s give it a go then.
From the get-go, this joint was as cool as. It’s the kind of restaurant you wished you'd worn that leather jacket to; think bare marble-effect walls, a wooden wrap-around counter with matching stools, bright (but not offensive lighting) and hip-hop tunes creating a chilled-out ambience. I’m pretty sure my friend and I were the only two not on a date - although I’m sure one of those would earn serious brownie points here.
The cocktail list offers a unique selection of signature sips, all of which were calling my name. But as I could only drink one at a time (at this moment anyway), I went for the yuki nori margarita (£9.5). A subtle take on the classic mix, this was sweet and delicate. My pal ordered the sansho peppercorn gimlet (£9.5), which she said was a more fragrant version of the classic. Both were ready-made in a bottle and served cold from the fridge.
After a few quaffs, we studied the food menu. It comprised of temaki a la carte, as well as a few set menus and small plates. We decided to kick things off with a round of the latter. The first thing to be delivered was the monkfish karaage (£7), which came piping hot and superbly crispy with a side of mustardy mayo for dipping. Alongside this, we had the yellowtail sashimi (£8), a stunning plate of thinly sliced tuna in a homemade ponzu served with local peppers and a flowery garnish. And finally, we had the salmon tataki (£7) - meaty, bright-red slabs of salmon lying in a powerful sour sauce. They all went down an absolute treat.
But the real star of the show was, of course, the temaki. We each went for one of the five-item set menus (£30 per person), which showcased akami tuna, salmon, otoro tuna, prawn tempura and BBQ eel. All were made in front of us by the chef on duty, who offered them to my friend and I across the bar as and when they were ready.
Every single one was absolutely delicious and beautifully presented. The meat was so high-quality it melted away in your mouth, with the perfectly paired accompaniments (rice, vegetables and sauces in seaweed) brought out the flavours of each. But if I had to choose a favourite? It would be the akami tuna - the only way I can describe it is serious umami.
We washed all this town with a couple of glasses of Kimoto Junmai sake (£12 each). This was my first experience with this spirit, and I was not disappointed – it was light and refreshing, not too dissimilar from a light white wine. Opting to finish with something sweet, we then ordered a couple of mochi (£4 each), which came in mango and strawberry cheesecake. Frozen and delicious, we polished these off instantly.
Not only did I get to try something I've never had before, but as it turns out - it was right up my street. Everything was fantastic, from the friendly staff and laid-back ambience to the beautiful food and lip-smacking sake. And my favourite part aside from the grub? As you're overlooking the chefs at work, they interact with you throughout your meal, which I think really adds to this unique dining experience.
💰 The damage: Around £130 with cocktails and sake.
📍 The location: 12 Market Row, Brixton, SW9 8LB.
👌 Perfect for: Date night dinners.
⭐ Need to know: They have daily specials and often change the menu, so keep an eye out for new additions.