Step into the cool, calm, modern chic of Love Sushi in Maidstone and you will immediately experience the feeling of zen that surrounds the place. Whether it’s the hand-cut natural bamboo brought all the way from Asia that hangs on the walls, the fascinating – almost hypnotic – conveyer of sushi that makes its way serenely around the dining area, or the friendly, relaxed staff that makes the place so comfortable, it’s difficult to tell. But whatever it is (perhaps a combination of it all), it’s a restaurant I’m glad I tried.
And what makes Love Sushi even better is not simply that it is a genuinely lovely place to be with its sophisticated yet casual black and red colour scheme and intimate booths, but that the food is exceptional too.
Everything at Love Sushi is handmade, and most of it – apart from the conveyer dishes – is made to order. This is real sushi, using the freshest of fish and the highest quality rice. And it does make a difference. For our starter we decided to try a selection of ‘traditional’ sushi dishes from the conveyer. They all looked fantastic and each one would, we’re sure, have been as appetising as the rest, but in the end we had to make a choice. It was a good choice – sake nigiri (salmon), hotate nigiri (scallop), aftershock roll (spicy tuna, crab, cucumber and chilli flakes), Las Vegas roll (crabstick, cucumber, salmon, avocado, cream cheese, spring onion, tobiko green and garlic mayonnaise) and California roll (crabstick, avocado, cucumber, tobiko and mayonnaise). As either a starter or a main course this would have worked perfectly well – and that is the beauty of sushi; it is as flexible as you need and want it to be.
Despite the name, Love Sushi is more than sushi, sashimi and nigiri platters; there’s all sorts of other delicious dishes to try. We ordered prawn tempura, soft-shelled crab tempura, shichimi squid and chicken gyoza. The batter on the tempura dishes was light and fluffy, and didn’t detract from the taste of the fish within. The shichimi squid certainly had a kick to it, but the garlic mayonnaise dip that was served alongside was just enough to cool the spice down. As for the gyoza… these bite-sized Japanese dumplings filled with chicken and vegetables, delicately spiced and seasoned and cooked just so… We wanted more. And more.
Restraint, however, was called for since there was still a main course to try. Katsu chicken curry (chicken coated in crispy panko breadcrumbs in a Japanese curry sauce) had intrigued us since we first sat down to eat and spotted it on the extensive menu, so we decided that it was time to sample it. The chicken was moist and the breadcrumb coating was thick enough to bring taste to the dish, but not so thick that it compromised the flavour. As for the sauce, it was thick and creamy with a burst of heat at the end. Where it soaked into the breadcrumbs it took on an extra dimension of deliciousness.
Mochi is a Japanese rice cake, and for dessert at Love Sushi it is possible to have mochi ice cream in various different flavours. The ice cream is encased in mochi and has an incredible texture and taste to it. We tried both the raspberry and green tea flavours and, despite being so very full, we couldn’t help but eat it all up… Try it and we’re sure you’ll feel the same!
Love Sushi is a modern delight full of new tastes and traditional methods. The combination gives Maidstone something rather special in the restaurant stakes.
60 Earl Street