The union of steak and sushi is an appealing duo many of us have been in absence of over lockdown. At Hot Stone on Chapel Market, one of Islington’s quieter streets, they offer just this. Led by executive chef Padam Raj Rai whose 19 year-long heritage many chefs would sit smugly on, his culinary successions include Tsukiji within Mayfair’s Westbury Hotel, alongside notable names such as Nobu and Zuma.
Satisfying diners’ post lockdown appetites, his small restaurant on an easily overlooked street does a good job at rivalling some of London’s big Japanese dogs – and trust me, there’s a competitive myriad of them settled comfortably across central London: from the likes of Hakkasan to Sushi Samba, Sexy Fish and Nobu.
The attention at Hot Stone centres on the dishes instead of the comradery other celeb-led Asian style restaurants epitomize. Here is a place to eat and share, rather than ‘see and be seen’. Diners come for razor-sharp maki rolls, new-style sushi and sashimi and hot dishes, including a beautifully flaky, 48-hours marinated black cod and a moreish grilled aubergine in saikyo miso. More importantly, the steak element does well at rivalling all of this courtesy of the restaurant’s signature Ishiyaki menu, the ancient Japanese method of cooking on a searing-hot stone: think the French pierrade goes East.
A worthwhile focal point is that Hot Stone is one of seven restaurants in the UK to serve Kobe beef. Widely considered as the most abundantly marbled in the world, you don’t need to be a steak aficionado to understand that this is a diamond addition to any steak orientated restaurant. A variety of Wagyu (Japanese cattle), Kobe (from Hyogo in Japan and named after its capital city Kobe) – is produced under extraordinary care with some of the animals said to be fed beer or even sake. A method that ultimately leads to longer periods of fattening that results in the high levels of marbling; the fat of Kobe melts at a lower temperature than any other – resulting in its sought after rich and buttery flavour.
Hot Stone’s signature Ishiyaki menu centres around this Kobe beef. Living up to its name, the interactive grilling and dining experience orbits around a 400°C heated hot stone which is placed on each table. Diners are encouraged to sear and sample their cut of Kobe beef, alongside other options such as Wagyu and black tiger king prawns. Balanced with a good dose of sushi, as their concept suggests, other highlights include a fatty tuna, horenso gomae (Japanese spinach) and caviar maki roll; scallop carpaccio with truffle ponzu and plum sauce; and the crunchy Hot Stone roll: king prawn tempura and crab, rolled in crunchy tempura flakes.
The last thing worth noting for those of you who are favourable to wasabi, Hot Stone is one of the very few restaurants to serve authentic, freshly grated Japanese wasabi with its sushi and sashimi, this offers a delicate and cleaner taste than the imitation paste widely offered in other sushi restaurants.
Address: 9 Chapel Market, The Angel, London, N1 9EZ
Phone: 020 3302 8226