Itsu – sushi, Chelsea, London, England ***

Itsu – sushi restaurant, Chelsea, London, United Kingdom
It’s Itsu. Today there are three of them, found at Canary Wharf, Soho and here at the
‘original’ location in Chelsea. There are also 16 shops, all located in the London area.

Info you’ll find if you google Itsu…
It opened in 1997, in the corner of Draycott Avenue and Walton Street in Chelsea. This restaurant chain is the brainchild of Clive Schlee and Julian Metcalfe, who founded the sandwich chain Pret à Manger without any restaurant experience and a business loan of just £ 17,500. Today the Pret chain has 155 shops in the UK and a turnover of more than £ 150 million. Itsu is a more delicate operation. The core customer is more demanding and spends more money on a sushi meal than the average sandwich buyer at Pret. Demanding customers means that locations are harder to find.

I lost count of how many times I’ve been here.
It’s because it’s good. Also, I love kaiten sushi. If not only for watching the food travel around the restaurant on a conveyor belt. When in Japan it’s a great, fast and affordable way to eat. When in the UK, it is a fast food concept executed nicely, although not as affordable. It’s a pretty good restaurant experience overall. The staff is nice and helpful and the food is always a little better than you’d expect. The only downside is the pricetag. It’s easy to just pick another plate and then another. In Japan, it did never hurt my wallet but again this is the UK.

It’s also an ideal Itsu location.
It’s more than ideal when you don’t feel like having oysters for lunch at the Bibendum in the Michelin building. The Itsu restaurant is located a mere five minute walk from South Kensington Tube Station (turn left out side the station and walk down Pelham Street). Aim at the aforementioned Bibendum building and you will be close. This is the original location, in an area where you can smell the money. Today there are also a restaurant in 103 Wardour Street in SoHo and one in Canary Wharf. It’s a chain, it’s fast food but in my opinion it’s certainly more than just good enough. Three stars for consistency – and for the fun of it.

118 Draycott Avenue
London SW3 3AE

OPEN: Monday to Saturday: 12pm – 11pm. Sunday: 12pm – 10pm

Bonus info: Itsu is Japanese and means ‘whenever’.

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