Have you ever seen a zony? Google it now and you'll see it's cross between a zebra and a pony (i.e. super cute, with natty striped legs). And while it sounds slightly odd in principle, it's the perfect demonstration of successful fusion.
Well, Sushinho is that zony. Combining Japan with Brazil, it has the sexiness of Rio and the style of Tokyo – a very good mix indeed. In fact, the combination isn't as random as it sounds. Brazil is currently home to the largest Japanese community outside of Japan - an estimated 1.8million people.
One of the consequences of this is that football-mad Brazil has now developed a strong martial arts tradition, with millions practicing karate chops alongside their bicycle kicks. The other is the impact on food culture, with sushi joints now popping up next to more traditional churrascarias.
Sushinho has the best of both worlds on offer – from the laid-back South American decor of the bar, to its Asian-inspired spirits, and the casual Latin dining style in the main restaurant paired with the Japanese-style open kitchen area.
We nibbled on moreish paper-thin cassava crisps and warm chilli edamame beans as we browsed the menu. There's a lot to take in, so we were happy when the waitress made some suggestions.
The Brazilian dish of moqueca ceviche (white fish, coconut milk, tomato, coriander) was incredibly fresh, with both crisp and creamy flavours.
The sushi menu is varied but not too long. Try the butterfish (so named due to the way it melts on your tongue), the tobiko (a scratchy-textured orange fish roe), and the pop-on-your-tongue fishy globes of ikura.
We'd also recommend the two-bite Samba rolls, which combined meaty eel with fresh papaya, cucumber, and more tobiko, plus a plate of light and crisp battered prawns, which was lip-smackingly moreish if eye watering, thanks to the punchy wasabi dressing.
But the stars of the show were the tender picanha steak and the pork belly feijoada with kale and crackling. Cooked in a broiler, they were moist and juicy on the inside, with a lovely textured crispiness.
Don't overlook the puddings. The sugary churros with 'doce de leite' made us swoon.
The cocktails perfectly exemplify the Japan/Brazil fusion. We liked the mango-spiced margarita (tequila, plum sake, umeshu, shichimi powder) and the party-starting Skinkoku Sling (sloe gin, dry gin, cherry heering, apricot de vie, lime juice, cane syrup, ginger extract, aromatic bitters).
However, our standout drink was the Montecristo Daiquiri (Montecristo No 5 infused Angostura 7yr Old, freshly squeezed lime juice, vanilla syrup).
According to the barwoman, the liquor had been infused with a smoky cigar, giving the drink a tobacco-y, amber hue. Happily it tasted nothing like snogging a chain-smoking Russian plutocrat – instead, the vanilla gave it a sweetness, while the lime kept it fresh.
With the food, we tried a sweet-but-light Riesling which didn't overwhelm the sushi, and cut through the spicy wasabi. We'd also recommend the sake with dessert - sweet wine would be too overpowering, but the Japanese tipple is just right.
Cocktails £10, dinner for two £80.
Sushinho (City), Devonshire Square, (Liverpool Street), EC2M 4AE
020 7220 9490, sushinho.com
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