You may already frequent another restaurant that you consider to have the best sushi in London. However can you get authentically prepared high-quality sushi at such reasonable prices there? So far we have not come across any Japanese restaurant with a sushi set like Mugen. Their Toku-jo (Extra special) set includes 9 exquisite nigiri sushi and 6 tuna rolls for only £27. Although if there is a place you think deserves recognition or is a contender for this title please do comment below.
On this visit, I took an old schoolmate to try out Mugen. He currently lives in Singapore where there are plenty of great Japanese restaurants and has visited Japan too. We haven’t seen each other in years and because there was a lot to catch up on, I wanted to go to a tried and tested restaurant where we could truly enjoy the evening.
Mugen Interior and Atmosphere
The restaurant is round the corner from Chancery Lane station on a small side lane by the Hatton Garden diamond district. Although Mugen had many tables booked for the evening, there were many cancellations due to a rise in Covid-19 cases. This meant there were only a few diners apart from us although some walk-ins arrived later on.
Like our last visit, Hadi-san gave a warm welcome and showed us to our table. After we sat down, we looked around at the stylish minimalist interior with warm wooden tables and panels. I also noted the Ikebana flower arrangements and the clever artwork on the walls at the back. At the tables around us, Japanese friends and colleagues spoke in Japanese and it felt just like Japan. Hadi-san speaks fantastic Japanese too so if you want to order in Japanese, Mugen is a good place for this.
What did we order?
The first plate to come out was a plate of assorted sashimi on the house. There are perks to keeping your booking when others cancel! The slices were sublime. Buttery melt in your mouth salmon, deliciously delicate sea bream, and thick cuts of tuna. I find the best sashimi are the ones that come with several layers of flavours. You can certainly get this experience at Mugen.
Best Sushi in London!
What a gorgeous looking Tokujyo set. It already was an extra special set but the additional Botan Ebi made it spectacular. We should mention that Mugen kindly added this giant prawn to the set on the house as well. If you order it a la carte it is £8.8 extra but if you are celebrating a birthday or want to impress someone on say Valentines Day, it’s definitely worth pushing the boat out.
This is the second time I’ve eaten this sushi set. The first time was such an incredible experience I was afraid the second time would not live up to it. We’re happy to say it truly did and although some sushi neta may be prized more than others, every single nigiri we ate was incredible.
We turned the plate around so you can see from both angles. The Tokyujyou sushi set comes with Toro (fatty tuna), sea bream, salmon, tuna, yellowtail, salmon roe, scallops, marinated mackerel, grilled eel, and 6 tuna rolls. Then there was the Botan Ebi too. Honestly it was such a masterpiece we took a few minutes taking photos. Ok it may be more the case I was taking up time with the photos but hopefully you can see why we say Mugen has the best sushi in London.
How did it taste?
In terms of taste, every nigiri was perfect. The set too is full of all the textures you are looking for and each nigiri comes packed full of flavour. My friend’s favourite was the Ikura (salmon roe) nigiri where he commented on the taut skins around each plump egg. This is a sign of high quality fresh Ikura which he picked up on. My favourite of course was the Botan Ebi which came with a lovely serving of flying fish roe on top. The prawn itself was rich and sweet and together with the crunchy and mildly salty flying fish roe, the combination was truly intense. To be honest each nigiri had a story to tell and perhaps this is the beauty of Mugen’s sushi sets. Each bite you take brings out more flavours and is truly satisying.
Next, we tried the Kaki fry (deep-fried oysters). These may not have the beautiful colours of the nigiri sushi but they certainly taste amazing! Possibly it is my bad luck but often when I try to order Kaki fry at restaurants in London they are unavailable. Tonight was the exception though! The batter for these oysters was light and crispy and the oysters inside were incredibly juicy. Was tempted to order another plate but we knew more food was on the way.
This plate of Tamagoyaki actually arrived earlier but in hindsight we should have ordered it later on like here or even saved it for last. If you’ve had a bento lunchbox in Japan, you’ll recognise these joyful treats although it’s popular for breakfast as well. Mugen does a magnificent job with their egg-rolls. The rolls are sweet and almost custard-like in taste. Each mouthful could be further enhanced with a small addition of the refreshing daikon( white radish) condiment.
Assorted Kushiyaki platter
Kushiyaki is skewered and grilled meat and vegetables. This 5 piece selection included Yakitori grilled chicken, tsukune, sunagimo (chicken gizzard), uzura (quail egg) and sasami mentai (breast and cod roe). These Kushiyaki skewers paired well with the beers we had ordered and were good fun trying to share. We liked the minced chicken tsukune meatballs coated in sweet tare sauce. I particularly enjoyed the gizzard pieces seasoned with salt and pleasantly chewy in texture. The chicken breast decorated with spicy cod roe was good too but our favourite was the shiny quail egg skewer. These lustrous eggs were rich in flavour and delishously creamy in texture.
We actually had two more small dishes to finish the meal. We chose natto on agedashi (deep fried) tofu along with a plate of delightful scallops. My friend who had never eaten natto before really enjoyed the sticky fermented soybeans (I guessed he would have) which went well with the crispy deep fried tofu. I realise some people don’t like tofu either so perhaps this one is only for the fans out there!
Mugen Rating for the Best Sushi in London
Mugen keeps its title for the best sushi in London for us. We give it 4.9 stars out of 5 stars. The quality of fish and seafood, the craftsmanship of the nigiri with excellent preparation of shari rice, and the beautiful presentation are outstanding. The Tokujyou sushi set provides with plenty of textures and tastes to keep you dreaming about until your next visit and prices are kept reasonable. Perhaps most important is consistency with all the food dishes both on this visit and our last.
The service of course was superb and we can not thank Hadi-san and Mayumi enough for such a wonderful evening. Mugen really does feel like you have gone down a secret alleyway and discovered a doorway into Japan. The staff offer true omotenashi hospitality and you can truly sit back and enjoy your evening.
Have you visited Mugen recently? We would love to hear how your experience was for you in the comments section below. Also if you are looking for another restaurant where you can eat sushi at Sundays, check out our review of Cocoro.