Best Part: The Deal
Price for 4 diners: £33
In and out within 1 hr: Oh dear me, no
Where: Next to the Pudding Stop
Sushimania is dedicated to the constant flow of Sushi, to satisfy even the most craven sushi-maniac. There are two Sushi Pricing structures. if you feel you have a high capacity for sushi consumption then you can go for unlimited sushi for £17.80. For those who feel there is such a thing as too much sushi you can order individual items (including non-sushi) from the menu. Even better, if you do this at lunchtime then everything is half price, leading to some fairly spectacular prices.
Whichever way you do this you will have to download and order through their app. This has some benefits, firstly you don’t really have to interact with other humans which is always a bonus, but you also get a running total of how much you are spending (not very much if you’re there at lunchtime). It could be confusing if you are a technophobe or have a rubbish phone, but theoretically this is a pretty sweet system (although slightly redundant as by the time the waitress has finished explaining it you could actually have ordered normally). In practice, as we shall see, this is very much a beta version of Restaurants 2.0.
As it was the Summer holidays, we had the full Midweek Lunch clan with us. The pricing and menu was good, all of us could find things that we wanted and were able to eat which is quite a small section on the Venn diagram these days. Very quickly we were presented with our drinks and some wasabi and pickled ginger. Everyone else went for adequate fruit juice but I alone plumped for iced green tea, which I declare to be the most refreshing drink known to man.
The first round arrived. They have a good mixed menu, and this was reflected in the range of dishes we have. There was edamame beans and ramen, pumpkin croquettes and vegetable udon. All of these dishes were well presented, generous, and most importantly incredibly tasty. Appetites piqued, we waited for the second half of our order.
And waited. And waited. People all around us seemed to be getting plenty of sushi and we glared at them angrily. What made them so worthy of sushi? How had we displeased the sushi gods? It wouldn’t have mattered so much if the dish distribution had been uniform. If we’d all had something substantial we could have weathered the sushi drought. I actually did quite well as all my choices were delivered in the first sushi tranche. Youngest midweek child had a big bowl of noodley soup to slurp upon. But pity the poor eldest midweekling, who had naught but edamame beans to quell his hungry belly. He was not in a good mood.
When a human person came around to refill our water we asked him how long the rest of our order would be. He assured us he would go and check and disappeared. The next time he was doing the water rounds we asked the same question and he asked if one of his colleagues had spoken to us. We told him they hadn’t and he wandered off looking perplexed. Still we waited. Eventually we were able to grab a slightly more senior member of staff as they dashed past. She went off to check for us, and came back to tell us that the printer in the kitchen had broken, hence us only receiving half of our order. Luckily we had the app to show her everything that we were missing and she went off to arrange it. This time the food actually did start to appear, to general rejoicing. It was good, but certainly not worth the wait.
Another aspect of the app is that we could request the bill whenever we were ready, and this we did as soon as the final sushi arrived. We were well over our allotted lunch period, and were starting to get a bit sick of the place and were stressed about getting to our next appointment. This is quite a good feature, saving you having to catch someone’s attention to pay for your meal, but it shares the same flaws as the ordering system. E.G. it didn’t bloody work.
Once again we waited and waited, all food consumed and dishes piled up. Someone came to collect the empty things and we asked them for the bill verbally. They took our plates but still no bill appeared. We tried the lady who had sorted out the order before, on the basis that we knew she got results, but apparently producing a little piece of paper with the amount we spent on it was beyond even her powers, even though we could already see it on the app. We were a hair’s breath away from walking out of the place without paying. The only thing stopping us was that this review might have been fairly conclusive evidence against us. Eventually I stood by the till and glared at everyone until they bought the bill to me. And it was the wrong bill. I asked for the compulsory service charge to be removed, only the second time in memory that I have done this.
All in all, we were there for about 2 hours, and of that about 30 minutes was spent consuming food or drink. I really wanted to like Sushimania, the food was very good and in the lunch deal very cheap, but the service was abysmal, the worst since we started writing this blog. When you are so reliant on technology there will obviously be errors, but it is how you deal with the errors that really marks you out as a top class restaurant, and in our experience Sushimania were strictly Vanarama League South.