“Sushi-fueled stay at London’s only five-star Japanese hotel revived me after lockdown”

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There is a beautiful bouquet of flowers waiting for me in the room, wrapped so that I can take them home if I want (I wish) – a perfectly formed cloud of dusty pink roses, mixed with delicate pink heather and other miniature flowers. Flowers and nature play an important role in Japanese culture and this ‘ikebana flower gift’ from Aoyama Flower Market in Selfridges (only their second store outside of Japan) is part of the package , just like a plate of traditional miniature specialties presented with art – little rolls of macha and sweet sushi – brought in moments later.

After I get settled in, Dolma, a sushi chef from TOKii, appears at my door with what looks like a martini cart loaded with ingredients for making sushi from shiny seaweed leaves and long, thin slices. avocado, cucumber and miniature corn to one mouth a sprinkle plate of dark pink blue fin tuna and another of salmon. Dolma bustles about in my living room pushing aside furniture and miraculously transforming the space into a sushi kitchen, with two workstations facing each other, one for her, one for me.

Over the next hour and a half, I learn the rituals of making sushi and then have the chance to try them out. Dolma explains about rice and how best for sushi is a short, dense, very absorbent type called kinuhikari, and how, if I have time, I should rinse it under a cold tap three times while gently running my hands through. in a circular motion then let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes before simmering.

Once cooled, Dolma explains, you gently pour sushi rice vinegar, widely available in stores here, but you can also get regular rice vinegar and add sugar, salt, and kombu (a delicious seaweed). rich in amino acids). To my relief, after explaining all of this, Dolma pulls out two bowls of rice that she prepared earlier for us.

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