London Wanderings: Café Bar Necco

Café Bar Necco used to be my favourite sushi place in London, back when I was working at Movember for a few months, whose offices are on the same street. Being a creature of habit I went there for lunch every day, soon amassing enough loyalty stamps to make me officially feel like a regular.

Then I stopped having a reason to visit Exmouth Market on a regular basis, so I hadn’t been back in a while – probably at least a year and a half. Last week I went back there again, and although it’s lost some of its lustre, it’s still worth a visit. 

You’ll have to excuse the terrible photography in this post. Evening lighting in restaurants does very little for my phone’s camera abilities. And yes, I eat Japanese food with a fork, because it took me until I was 23 to learn how to cut food properly with a knife, and there’s no way I’m making things more complicated for myself at this point.

I had a veritable feast – too much of a feast, really, and felt quite food-coma-y after it, but it was pleasant all the same.

My order included takoyaki (a.k.a. “big octopus balls” according to the menu, although they were normal-sized), an avocado and sundried tomato rice ball, agedashi tofu, and a teriyaki salmon donburi. Oh, and a salmon & avocado hand roll, which I order in every sushi restaurant I go to just to be able to compare.

Necco’s octopus balls used to be a thing of great beauty, the perfect mix of batter and sauces and octopus. Unfortunately these days the amount of tentacle is sadly lacking (insert rude joke about being all balls, no tentacle here), so it tasted more like I was eating balls of fried mush. I mean, it was mush that tasted good, at least. But I’m quite particular about the texture of my food, and currently the takoyaki at Necco isn’t quite up to scratch. You can get better takoyaki at Yo! Sushi now they’ve added a ‘street food’ section to their menu (and OMG the fries).

The rice ball was really good – probably my favourite thing of all, in fact. The teriyaki salmon was quite nice but nothing exceptional, although I really enjoyed the slightly crunchy texture of the brown rice it was sitting on. The salmon & avocado hand roll was again alright but nothing special; and again, I prefer Yo!’s version.

The rice ball, which was the best part of the meal.

In summary, while Necco remains a nice place to eat, it’s lost some of the interesting flavours and generous portions that it had back in 2013. My friend’s curry was very sparse: a few bits of vegetable floating in an ocean of sauce towards a little island of rice. Maybe if we keep going there we can tempt them to become more generous again; in any case, my recent trip wouldn’t put me off going back, but it might make me think twice if there were another sushi restaurant nearby.

What’s your favourite place to get sushi in London? 

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