When one thinks of enjoying top-of-the-range steak, you might consider visiting Hawksmoor or Gaucho, but have you ever thought of visiting a restaurant that doubles-up as a sushi bar? Probably not.
Your habits might change soon once you discover the hidden gem that is Hot Stone in Islington. You might not have heard of their Executive Chef Padam Raj Rai, but you will have heard of the restaurants where he has worked at. I loved the sushi at Tsukiji restaurant, located in the 5-star Westbury Hotel in Mayfair, where he was the former head sushi chef. He has also worked at the likes of Nobu, Zuma, and Sake no Hana.
This is the kind of restaurant to impress a date with and that starts from the ‘amuse-bouche’ course when you can order decadent fresh oyster, seaweed & tosazu sauce topped up with Aquitaine caviar. The next courses you might order are probably the raw fish dishes and Padam really shows his ingenuity here. Rather than creating your standard nigiri and maki rolls, you get creative options like his take on carpaccio, new style sashimi and we enjoyed a crunchy hot stone roll that contained king prawn tempura, crab sticks, and crunchy tempura flakes. Hot sushi might be an anathema to most sushi chefs but it does work in this case. Wasabi is freshly grated in front of you rather than being served from a nondescript supermarket tube.
However, what we are here to mainly discuss is the unbeatable quality of their steak. They only offer 3 types here: Australian halal Picanha/Sirloin wagyu, A5 Premium Sirloin Japanese wagyu, and premium Japanese Kobe. With the latter, they are only 1 of 7 restaurants in the UK that sell certified Kobe. ‘Melt-in-your-mouth’ might be an overused phrase in restaurant reviews, but there’s never been a more apt statement than that to describe the A5 wagyu we tried. It was just as ‘buttery’ tasting as the fatty tuna course we tried earlier on and we are talking about a thick cut of premium sirloin here. The meats are served with asparagus as well.
The other important aspect to consider here is it is served to you raw and you have to cook the steak yourself on a hot stone. It is an ancient Japanese cooking method known as Ishiyaki. The benefit being, you can more accurately determine how well done you want your steak to be and secondly, it is a more healthy way of cooking with no need to use any butter or oil.
Desserts are in the form of traditional classics like homemade green matcha cheesecake and mochi.
The restaurant is particularly popular with halal-friendly diners and does get extremely busy, so I would strongly recommend booking well in advance of your visit.