Tosa, East Finchley

East Finchley is not the kind of place one expects to find a decent restaurant, yet word on the street was that, as of about six months ago, they had a damn fine Japanese joint. Time Out reviewed it, and said it was good. Poking around on the internet, a couple of bloggers (here and here) had been, and were enthusiastic. So when we needed somewhere to go for dinner with friends who also live on the 263 bus route (and another couple who live in Palmers Green, so have to drive everywhere anyway), it seemed an obvious choice. In the end we all drove, so we could just as easily have gone somewhere else. But hell, I’d wanted to go, and here I was.

We’ll make this brief. The room is unwelcoming, the chairs not very comfortable, the service sullen and unreliable (well, our waitress was; another couldn’t stop giggling, and didn’t spend enough time with us for me to work out whether she was reliable or not), and the food – the best part of the experience, then – average. The grill is the thing, here, and the menu features probably 30-odd skewer-based options. There’s sushi, too, and soups and stuff. Bits of our order were forgotten and then arrived, after two reminders, without so much as an apology. Several items were unavailable. Nothing was particularly tasty, and my salmon (£8 for a single fillet) overcooked. If you want grilled meat, you can do a lot better. If you want sushi, you can do a lot better. If one of you wants grilled meat, and the other wants sushi, it’s probably a decent compromise, so long as your standards aren’t very high. At £30 a head, including probably a beer and a half each, on average, it’s not even very good value.

I won’t be back in a hurry. And East Finchley could still do with a decent restaurant.

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