I was extremely excited to be invited along to the latest addition to the Feng Sushi family in Billingsgate Market. Feng Sushi won the rather prestigious Sustainable City Award, judged by Raymond Blanc, for their efforts towards providing food from sustainable sources. This award must be truly gratifying for MD Silla Bjerrum, who strives to combat over fishing and our world’s depleting fish supplies. Oh and I should mention, Feng Sushi is a member of the Marine Stewardship Council too.
Upon arrival, we were offered a champagne cocktail with aged brown rice sake – delectable. As Feng Sushi is primarily a delivery service, we found ourselves in a unit that had previously been a refrigerator. Stella’s team had transformed the space into a small kitchen. Led through to the kitchen, the dining table awaited us in front of a kitchen counter. Silla proceeded to prepare and talk us through a whopping ten course meal. Originally from Denmark, she came to London for the rave scene when she was 19 and fell into sushi when asked to work at her friend’s restaurant. Our first thought was, as a western woman, did she feel stigmatised by Japanese sushi chefs? Happily, she informed us that during her trips to Tokyo, the great sushi masters had been more intrigued by here than insulted. As the meal progressed, she showed us how to filet lemon sole and gave us the chance to try that sometimes stigmatised dish of salmon skin roll. My personal favourite dishes were the line caught mackerel sashimi and the hand dived scallops green maki. Keen to take on the authentic experience, these were accompanied by sake and Japanese beers.
I only had praise for Silla whose passion and vibrance is infectious. It seems there’s no underlying search for glory or for a marketing hook in her environmentally friendly ambitions; Silla runs Feng in an ethical manner and the accolade she has found in doing so is just a happy by-product. Rising early, Silla can be found at Billingsgate fish market at least once a week. On the morning of our visit, she personally chose the fish for our meal at 5am. As she also teaches at Leith’s cookery school, we felt very spoilt indeed to glean some of her expert knowledge.