Review of 'Hot Stone'

When the pandemic hit there were a number of attempts made by local restaurants to keep patrons visiting. In the case of Japanese restaurant “Hot Stone” they offered their “Wagyu Experience Menu” for £29 which was “three courses with champagne” in the form of a voucher that could be redeemed at any time in the following year, though only during lunchtimes. We decided to take them up on their offer and now, almost a year later, we finally were able to redeem.

Our initial reservation at their newer, and likely far nicer, location in Fitzrovia was moved to their smaller restaurant in Islington, on Chapel Market which is, as the name implies, the same street as the daily market.


At the front of the small restaurant there is a sushi bar with general restaurant seating at the back. The interior seats maybe 20-25 people and feels a bit crowded with the hard surfaces everywhere making it very noisy particularly with a group of ladies drinking at a neighbouring table when we visited. There is some attempt at ambiance with (fake) cherry blossom branches in the corner of the room which gives a rather nice effect. The black tables and chairs are basic, not terribly comfortable though here it seems it is more of a eating than dining establishment with not a lot of reason to hang around.

On arrival we were shown to our table and given a copy of the “Wagyu Experience Menu” on which we were able to choose from a series of mostly sushi and sashimi starters with the main (“A5 Sirloin Japanese Wagyu 100g”) upgradable to various options for additional money and a description of the desert. Their regular menu (a single A4) contains various assortments of signature sushi rolls and sashimi at fairly hefty prices (£20 and up) though they appeared to be good sized portions. Regular sushi/sashimi is also available in single portions (!) for between £5 and £11.

To drink, my companion was given a small glass of champagne (included in the deal) which she found quite strong though worked very well with the food while I opted for a bottle of sparkling water (in lieu of alcohol).


My companion opted to start with “Salmon Cream Cheese Maki Roll with sweet plum sauce 6pcs” which was presented beautifully on a small narrow plate. The cream cheese was very subtle and the plum sauce pretty much non-existent but the salmon was very fresh and the dish, as a whole, was quite tasty.


I decided to go for the more unusual “Seared Butterfish sashimi, truffle spicy ponzu 4pcs” which was really tasty. Again, the sauce was mild to the point of irrelevancy and seemingly replaced by a simple onion chutney of some kind but the fish was perfectly seared, creamy and almost sweet.


The main event here is the wagyu with a small, extremely hot, flat stone placed in front of us on which we were instructed to cook the meat at a minimum of 45 seconds a side. I took this at their word seeking a bit more of a medium rare to rare finish. This was accompanied by a bowl of rice and a strong dipping sauce. I used the sauce sparingly, hoping to not overpower the flavour of the tremendously tender and delicious meat. Very creamy with lots of even marbling which give wagyu it's delicious flavour.


I ended up putting the dipping sauce onto the copious amounts of rice we were given after finishing the meat. One of the sides on the menu “Japanese Pickles” never appeared on our table, unfortunately.


The dessert was initially treated by us with some scepticism: “Homemade Green tea matcha cheesecake” as we were afraid of the flavour of the matcha which can often be overwhelming with the taste of fresh cut grass. Thankfully hear that fear was misplaced with the cheesecake very delicious indeed with only the slightest hint of matcha in evidence (and sprinkled on top). The dish was generally not very sweet but very tasty with the creamy filing and a delicious biscuit base.

The bill took note of our vouchers and we were only charged for service at £7.26.

The service was very good throughout the meal: Pleasant and swift with the team well coordinated and our seeing many of the staff coming and going from our table with their various bits and pieces. Empty plates were cleared off the table very quickly and new dishes very nicely arranged on our small table.

The food was very good indeed but disappointingly did not entirely follow the menu we were given. I can't complain though, for the price and the quality it was very tasty and we would be interested in returning though not sure at the full price. The current “Seafood & Wagyu Tasting Menu” is £110 but they have offered a discounted version again which I think will probably continue as the place was busy with people using their vouchers when we attended. So, if you visit, make sure to pre-purchase a voucher…

Rating: “Nearly perfect, but not quite”

Review Date: 2021-11-21

Cuisine: Japanese

Address: 9 Chapel Market, London N1 9EZ ENGLAND

Public Transport: TUBE Angel

Location: London (England) - Islington



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Telephone: +44 (0) 20 3302 8226