Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Sun is Shining

Wind back just three days. It was cold and windy, people were huddled in coats and long boots, finding solace in the nearest coffee shops.

A day later, the world became sunny. It's been two days of absolutely glorious weather. In fact, it was almost too hot today.

Because London gets so few days like these, people get a little crazy around here when sunny days show up. I don't quite know how they managed but the very first day of summer, every girl was dressed in the shortest dress or the skimpiest skirt possible. And there were more guys wearing shorts than you would see at the peak of an Indian summer.

And it's not just a wardrobe change. At school, the gardens are overflowing with people. In pubs, beer drinkers are spilling out into the roads. I can guarantee that absolutely no work got done last two days.

Before I came to live here, I've never understood the British obsession with weather. But several months of cold weather later, I can certainly see what the brouhaha is all about!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Sushi Two Ways

Let's start with the tackiest way to eat sushi in London. The chain's called Yo! Sushi and you can see them all around the city. It's a cool concept - the cheerful staff (and the service, you will notice, is really good here) will seat you at a table already equipped with soy sauce, pickled ginger, wasabi and other tools of the trade. And there will be a conveyor belt going past your table with little plates of sushi and other things on the menu. It's a fun concept, and there is an almost childish pleasure in picking dishes off the running conveyor belt to eat. But don't eat sushi here. Even if you are a vegetarian like me and don't care about the cut of your tuna, this is the place to chat over edamame and yakisoba noodles instead.

For sushi, your first stop should be Haru. This little cafe right opposite Baker Street station doesn't have much going in the looks department. But the sushi you will take away will be perfect in all aspects. My favorite - avocado maki.

Next, when you are in a mood to splurge and blow up loads of money, head to Nobu near Green Park station (you will notice how I reference everything with respect to tube stations; it's a London thing and you just can't escape picking the habit). When you make a reservation to visit this opulent restaurant, ask to be seated at the sushi bar. Then tell the sushi chef you are a vegetarian and leave everything else in his hands.

After this first conversation with the chef, I spent the next few minutes watching the master chefs in action, putting together platters of sushi that are work of art. The chef in charge of my sushi created his own masterpiece in the meantime, a red pepper nigiri roll with some complex flavors I couldn't identify. Another mushroom nigiri roll followed. And then I put in my request for a maki. There was avocado in this one, just as I asked for. But there was also a fresh, hot asparagus tempura sticking out of my roll. And this, I claim, is the best vegetarian sushi anywhere, not just in London!