Sunday, 14 February 2010

Tenshi review - Angel Islington cheap and cherry Japanese restaurant & sushi bar


Address: 61 Upper Street, London N1 0NY
Tel: 020 7226 4655
Nearest Tube station: Angel

Ratings (out of 5 *)
Price: below £10 pp
Service charge: N/A
Taste: ***
Service: ***
Ambience: **
Suitable for: those looking for affordable
and refreshing meal
Despite Angel having a large concentration of restaurants and eateries along Upper Street and Essex Road, there is not a single sushi bar north of City Road and Pentonville Road. Although we first saw Tenshi along Upper Street sometime back but for the longest of time, it seemed to be shut even though there was always a staff milling around within. For one, I thought the name, which literally meant 'Angel' was rather refreshing. Not to mention that I was longing for some lighter tasting food.

We were on our way to Chinatown to do our Chinese New Year shopping over the weekend when we decided to drop by for lunch having read Krista's review on Tenshi the day before.

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Upon stepping into Tenshi, we came face to face with the chef who was just walking out of the kitchen cum sushi preparatory counter. "Hi!" I gave him my widest grin but he returned a stony stare and walked past me. To be honest, I had come to realise that Japanese chefs weren't the most sociable of people - that was the case even at Soseki.

The waitress quickly came up to us and with a pleasant smile showed us to our table. With a takeaway sushi counter just beside the kitchen, Tenshi's setup reminded me of a sushi takeaway with seating provided but we found out that it did boost a full menu that included chicken teriyaki rice and katsu curry rice. Knowing that we would be in for a feast for the reunion dinner that night, we opted for a light meal and ordered tempura soba and nigiri set.

Tenshi+review+Nigiri+set+London+Chow

I thought that the sushi roll's rice in my nigiri set (£6) was a tad too compact to the point of being hard but I had no issues with the freshness of the accompanying fish, squid and prawns though the texture was somewhat tough. At just over one quid per piece, I couldn't really complain, could I?

Tenshi+review++Tempura+soba+London+Chow

Wife was enamoured with her tempura udon (£7.25). "You should try the udon, it's good!" she insisted on passing me some to try. Udon had never been one of my favourite noodles but Tenshi's udon had that silky smooth texture to it. Very nice indeed. The tempura was slightly damp but it was priced at a fraction of that at Mitsukoshi.

Tenshi+review+Angel+Islington+Japanese+sushi+London+Chow

All in all, Tenshi with its friendly service, being the only one of its kind in the vicinity of Angel, was defininitely a welcomed addition to the area's culinary scene. If you are looking for an affordable and refreshing meal, Tenshi's the place to go.

Tenshi on Urbanspoon

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7 comments:

The London Foodie said...

Being half Japanese but not able to properly speak the language, I can sympathise with you - i have had very awkward moments eating at those sushi counters in Japan.

I never heard of this place and live very near Upper Street so I will be checking this place out now. Thanks for your review, the pictures look great.

Luiz @ The London Foodie

Wild Boar said...

The sushi-chef at Sushi Say always gives me a grin as I walk in. I suspect mainly because I tend to order the toro.

C K said...

@Luiz,
Overheard the staff telling a customer that Tenshi has been opened for 'a couple of months'. Not sure how true that is though. Hmm, really, there's no need to specially come down for this. It's a good place to top up your tank if you're in the area though.

@Wild Boar,
Maybe I stepped in on a bad day. Will give him a wider smile the next time round. :)

Krista said...

I feel like they've only been open since December...it hasn't been long. Either that or I am totally blind! I walk by all the time.

I was pleased with the prices and the general above-average quality. It's not heartbreakingly delicious, but it does the trick!

Kang said...

I'm always interested in cheap and cheerful sushi places around town. Will add this to my list, perhaps a place to settle down after a visit to The Sampler...

C K said...

@Krista,
Went there for dinner two weeks back and ordered soft shell crab. At 8 quid, the portion is quite sizable. Definitely a good snack if you aren't looking for anything heavy. Why not give it a go the next time you're at Tenshi?

@Kang,
Oh, do let me know what you think of it after your visit. As Krista was saying, it's not fantastic but it does fill a certain niche in the area.

Sampler? Will head towards LondonEater for the review in a bit.

laurie said...

I went there for a quick dinner last night with friends, who craved some sushi. There's not too many sushi places on upper street, so the choice to give it a try was obvious. We had to wait a little and once the food did arrive, but when the food did arrive portions were rather small and the freshness and quirkyness of the dishes somewhat missing. The staff was overfriendly, we couldn't believe the fake smiles all around. The place lacked in quality food, which was very dissapointing, because it certainly felt authentic. Won't be coming back here...