Monday, 15 June 2009

Ginnan Japanese Restaurant- Monday Night Sushi Buffet

Ginnan Japanese Restaurant
1-2 Rosebery Court, Rosebery Avenue,
Tel: 0207 278 0008

As a huge lover of sushi, I am always on the hunt for all-you-can-eat offers which allow me to eat truckloads at a time. Unfortunately in London these are few and far between- the Hi Sushi chain fills a hole, although mainly with salmon and not much else-unlike Malaysia where lavish Japanese buffets are all the rage. As such, I was uber excited to discover upon some Google research that there was apparently a place called Ginnan in Angel with an all-you-can-eat deal on Mondays between 7pm-8.30pm for £15.50, consisting of various maki, nigiri, katsu, noodles and rice.

Now as far as I'm concerned, all-you-can-eat automatically implies a buffet-style service where all the food is spread out for you to help yourself (or at least, unlimited orders you can make from a list). Not so with Ginnan; what they actually mean is that they will serve you the food omakase style, course-by-course in a set order. For us who went there primarily for sushi, this meant over an hour of sitting impatiently, getting increasingly annoyed, as they brought us plate after plate of food we didn't want before the sushi finally made an appearance. It was obviously structured to save the restaurant money: fill the customer up with lots of cheaper carbohydrates so that they're no longer hungry by the time the more expensive stuff comes!

To be fair, I believe if Ginnan had described this offer more accurately as a course-by-course sampling of Japanese cuisine rather than a buffet we would have enjoyed it more. The hot food, despite us not really wanting it, was tasty all round and the sushi fresh and delicious when it eventually arrived (although again, somewhat limited in variety). And whilst one waitress was moody and seemed indifferent to our presence, we were pacified slightly in the end when another nicer one obliged with several more plates of nigiri and maki upon demand, even beyond 8.30pm.

Whether or not Ginnan's buffet is good value depends entirely on what you are looking for. If all you desire is a hot dinner that's filling and tasty, then Ginnan could be your thing. If however, like me sushi is your priority, then my advice would be to steer clear and go elsewhere for your fix.

7.30pm- We happily munch on the edamame and salad with tasty goma (sesame) dressing brought to our table

7.45pm- Flavourful cold glass noodle thingy. Appetising.

8pm- Vegetable katsu. Freshly fried and crunchy. But where's the sushi?

8.10-Fried noodles. *fingers start drumming on the table*

8.15- Bowl of plain rice and a pot of chicken katsu curry. We've been here 75 mins and still no &^?!*£@ sushi!

8.20- Chicken teriyaki on a sizzling hot plate. All yummy, but we have only ONE thing on our brain!

FINALLY! The cut rolls are served, although disappointingly there are too many
chicken/crabstick type fillings and not enough proper fish. Asked for more salmon avocado,
but the waitress brought another of the same assorted plate.

Salmon, tuna, mackerel, shrimp and an unknown white fish nigiri.
No unagi (eel) or anything else, but after the wait it was divine and we relished
every bite of the four plates the waitress brought us!


  1. If you had four plates of sushi and more than two plates of variety rolls, don't complain!!
    Where can you find fresh Japanese food like that value in London???

  2. Well I forgot to mention we were a table of 8 people, so even with the extra plates of nigiri (which we had to ask and wait for and were half the size of the first plate), in the end we barely got 3 pcs each! And hardly any rolls as only a few had proper fish, the bulk were chicken/veg. I think if you were starving, expected an all-you-can-eat but had to wait 1 and a 1/2 hours for 3 pieces of sushi and pay £15.50 (£17+ with service) for it you'd complain too.

    As for where else offers better value, Japan Centre. I could get easily get 25-30 pieces and a huge selection for that price, no waiting either.

  3. I think that a place like Hi Sushi would offer a more immediately satisfying buffet (all you can order) type experience. How was the quality of the sushi in the end?

    There are various new incarnations of it now in central London but the nicest one is in Camden and the cheapest is in Golders Green for £13.80. It's really good for when you want to eat a hell of a lot of sushi.

  4. Hi Andytizer,

    Thanks, have eaten at Hi Sushi Camden a few times and it is DEFINITELY a better buffet for sushi-lovers (although it's a tad limited to various incarnations of salmon) :) I go to the little takeaway Bento Box in Holborn now for my fix, 50% off everything (including sashimi) after 8pm daily!

    Ginnan's nigiri was great in the end though the cut rolls not so much (too little fish, too much chicken/veg types). Though honestly by that point we were so hungry anything would have tasted good! If only they had come 90 minutes earlier in bigger portions, the 8 of us would have left happy instead of angry!

  5. Hi Samantha,

    I'm also looking for a restaurant who does sushi buffet in London since I'm going to visit there for several days at the end of this month. Anyway, most of the reviews that I've found were written at least a few years ago.

    Like you, I tend to eat a truckload of sushi at a buffet. Have you tried "Yo!Sushi"? Do they offer sushi buffet there?

  6. No, Yo! Sushi unfortunately is an ala carte conveyor belt restaurant which doesn't offer buffets. They are pretty expensive too, unless they happen to have their occasional 40% sale.

    The only decent buffet I know of in London is Hi Sushi-

    They have several branches around London and a sister restaurant called Tokyo City which apparently has an excellent all-you-can-eat too, have not been myself though.

    Good luck!

  7. Thanks, Samantha! It all depends on my itinerary, I might combine "Tokyo City" and Tower of London on the same day. Anyway, I'm not leaving London until I stuff myself with tons of sushi.

    Happy blogging!