Hot Stone Fitzrovia review: impeccable sushi but at a price
There are several giddy highs on the menu as well as a couple of pricey lows
High-end cuisine in London has, of late, turned into something of an arms race, with restaurants across the capital competing to incorporate ever-more expensive ingredients into their dishes and then charging a small fortune for them. In recent years, The Wellesley has offered a white truffle pizza for £200, The Ritz a caviar omelette at £300, or if you really want to push the boat out, Sushisamba currently has a Kobe beef ishiyaki for £1,000.
Some of these dishes achieve instant greatness, with high quality fish, meat or veg given the space to speak elegantly for themselves, but others end up feeling overly fussy, or simply drenched in too much truffle, caviar or literal gold.
Hot Stone Fitzrovia manages a little of both, with several giddy highs on the menu as well as a couple of pricey lows. It is possible to eat incredibly well here, but you might just want to navigate the menu cautiously so as not to end up paying dearly for some dishes that take things just that bit too far.
The main highlight is the restaurant’s sashimi and sushi, which is obviously the loving work of master itamae. Perfectly chosen fish, prepared elegantly on positively Instagrammable plates (if that is your thing).
And there is also the dish that gives the restaurant its name: a searingly hot stone that has been heated to 400C and then delivered to the table on which you can cook an impeccable slice of Kobe or Wagyu beef to your own liking. A subtle, precise dish whose sophistication is hidden behind its apparent simplicity.
Meanwhile, at the other end of the spectrum, there are a couple of gaudy items on the menu where the lily has been gilded, truffled and/or caviared for no discernible reason. The restaurant’s fatty tuna with truffle and caviar is a case in point. Fatty tuna is prized by sushi aficionados, but most prefer it served as plainly as possible. Several other dishes suffer from the same fandangle.
One can’t help but feel that the chefs themselves would happily rest on their skill and their obviously superb attention to detail in their selection of the very best meat and fish coming into the UK. Doing so would also match the decor of the restaurant, which doesn’t aim for the date-night allure of Hakkasan or the glitz of Nobu, but something more refined.
The restaurant is still incredibly easy to recommend - the Omakase (literally, “I will leave it to you”) chef’s choice dinner is one of those dining experiences you will want to gush about for months. Plus the wine and sake list is exceptional. Just beware some of the top-end dishes, or Hot Stone could burn an unnecessary hole in your pocket.
Hot Stone Fitzrovia, 3 Windmill Street, W1T 2HY; hotstonelondon.com