Review: Sasa Sushi, London

25th Oct 2012 by

Oh dear. The Panda and I had really hoped to kick off this site on a positive note…and we thought we’d be able to until…the bad service bug bit again.

Let’s start from the beginning.

The Panda and I had been tragically separated for *gasp* a whole month, while I galavanted about the continent for my job. So tonight we had it all planned, dinner, catch-up, back to the Panda’s to assemble her new bed, blog, sleepover, BOOM.

We ended up in Angel for dinner, which I’ve always thought of as a good place to find good food. I’ve had nothing but fantastic experiences there – good service, good food, happy Fairy. Simple right?

We used the Panda’s nifty smartphone (I NEED ONE) to google restaurants in the area, and a restaurant, Sasa Sushi (I don’t need to tell you what type of food they served, do I? ;D) came up that was right next to us and had fantastic reviews – rated 24 on Google. Off we popped, and were seated at the sushi bar to wait for a table.

The menu looked great, not too pricey at £8 – £11 for a main course, and the food coming from the sushi bar looked incredible. The Panda was woozy from hunger – looking at me with a gleam in her eye that indicated I was currently a talking sushi piece with wings to her – and Japanese is my favourite. ever. food, so I was a happy bunny.

We put our orders in – sushi to start and noodle soup for mains. I’d been having a stressful day so ordered a big glass of plum wine too (and also I have a slight plum wine addiction. shh).

For Starters:

California Sushi Roll, boiled prawns / avocado with mayonnaise / flying fish eggs (6 pcs) £4.50
Alaska Roll, salmon / avocado / spicy mayo (6 pcs) £ 4.50

There are no pictures here, as the food took 45 minutes to arrive, so when it did come we fell upon it like wild women, all thoughts of taking photos gone.

What was disappointing was that it only came after the Panda asked the manager how long it would take for the sushi to come. We got a brief apology (and a mumbled explanation that they had to serve takeaways too first – even though the takeaway order was placed after ours it seems), and the main courses brought out with the sushi. I think they did this because the hungry gleam was now in both our eyes and bordering on the maniacal – we were both ready to take a chunk out of the next poor civilian unfortunate enough to wander into our path.

Main Courses:

Tempura Udon Soup £8.50


Nabeyaki Udon Soup £10.50


Now in all fairness, waiting time and bad service aside, I thought the food was really tasty. I definitely think it was worth £10.50. Thats roughly what you’d pay at Wagamama’s, and the food was of much higher quality.

The Panda’s noodle soup looked yummy (although sparse on vegetables) and I liked that they served the tempura separate from the soup noodles. No soggy tempura batter!

The manager also kindly offered to take a photo for us, so here we are! All is well so far :)


The problem arose however when we tried to pay.

We both wanted to pay the cost of the meal itself on card, and then leave the tip in cash. This is a personal preference for me – I always, always tip and I always leave it in cash.

When I worked as a waitress it was soul-destroying work where we hardly got tips and were paid less than minimum wage cash-in-hand. If anyone tipped using a card machine, we didn’t see a penny, it just went straight into the owner’s bank account. Since then I’ve had a thing about tipping in cash.

The Panda also requested the same, as she wasn’t sure if she wanted to leave a full tip due to the long wait for our starters. When we said this to the waitress, all hell let loose.


The Fairy: “Oh, I’ll pay the meal on card and leave you your tip in cash”

Waitress: *looking disgruntled*

The Panda: “Oh yeah, I’ll do the same please.”

Waitress: *looking more disgruntled* “yes…you should just put the tip on card, we do get it if it’s on card”

The Panda: “No, we’ll leave it in cash, we will tip you, I’m just not sure how much I want to leave yet. It says it’s a discretionary tip right?”

Waitress: *NOT HAPPY* “You’re not going to tip? I’m going to have to talk to my manager” *goes over to manager*

The Panda and I: O_____o

Waitress: “The manager says you can leave what you want, but I want to know why you’re not tipping? I’ve been working here for 5 years, since I was 15 and no one has ever refused to tip before”

The Panda: “We are tipping, but there was a 45 minute wait for our food, so I might not leave the full 10%…It’s really not you, you’ve been fine, we just want to pay the tip in cash, plus there was the wait…”

Waitress: “Ok, I just want to know why you’re not tipping though, really, the tip includes everything, service, food, wait, everything, so I want to know what’s wrong, it’s up to you, but I just wanted to know why you aren’t paying the tip”

The Fairy: “We are tipping, really, I just have a thing about not putting tips on card. Seriously, you’ve been lovely, there’s no problem with you at all”

Waitress: “Ok. Fine.”

*silence as we pay*

Waitress: “Are you students then?”

The Panda: “…No”

Waitress: “…*rolls eyes* ah, okay.”

I’ve underplayed how rude this waitress was. She was very very unhappy about us wanting to pay the tip in cash. Normally, I’m very docile about this sort of thing, as I appreciate how hard waitressing is, but really, this was ridiculous.

I used to have customers being incredibly rude to me the whole night, and leave not one penny as a tip. I’ve been yelled at by customers, harassed by customers, and treated like dirt by customers. Not once have I ever made any comment about their tipping, as it’s their decision whether or not they leave one.

I also found the student comment incredibly insulting – we’ve asked that we be able to leave a tip in cash, so somehow that makes us students? The insinuation was very much that we must be poor students being stingy. We ended up leaving 2/3 of the 10% tip, but I really wish that we’d left nothing.

Despite the good food the rude waitress definitely left a sour taste.


Food: 8/10
Ambiance/Decoration: 6/10
Service: 0/10

Average/Overall: 4/10


The Panda Says:

Fully agreed with the ratings. La Fairy really did underplay how utterly awful said waitress was. Never in my life have I heard of guilt-tripping bordering aggression towards customers, simply at the hint of them not leaving a full tip by card.

I felt so uncomfortable and upset by this it made me rather regret going there in the first place. A wonderful evening ruined by some tweenager who felt herself superior most likely under the assumption that we, who look misleadingly young, must therefore be a couple of poor, stingy kids. Offensive, insulting staff are certainly enough reason for us to never return. It really is a shame because everything up until then had been alright. Sadly the service, although not bad to begin with, can only merit a 0/10 after that.

So would we recommend this place? No. (“No” from the Fairy too) – but if you do decide to try it out anyway, just try to suggest you aren’t paying full tip. Go on – we dare you.

Happy Dining (but maybe not here!),

Emma the Fairy & Her Royal Pandaness

Sa Sa Sushi on Urbanspoon

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3 comments on “Review: Sasa Sushi, London

  1. Hi,

    I don’t know why it took me so long to finally get onto the reviews,
    My name is Kim as I was the waitress that served you that night, looking back on it now I should have been new sympathetic, I am open to criticism and I appreciate your review. If you want to get in contact with me, I’d be more than happy to apologise again after this comment. I do apologise deeply, I didn’t realize how long ago this was until I saw the blog post, I am not going to try and justify my actions, as it’s been done. Hopefully you and your friend can find it in you to accept my apology and hope all is well and you’re not experiencing bad service elsewhere. But I would end with this, we’re all human and we all have our days. I apologize again.

    Thanks girls and you’d be able to accept my apology.

    Kindest Regards,


    • Hi Kim,

      WOW this was such a pleasant surprise! I think I speak for us both when I say we really appreciate this apology, thanks so much for taking the time to write to us, that is incredibly sweet of you. I completely understand that we all have off days, and your apology is definitely accepted from me :)

      The both of us were so disappointed after this happened since we did genuinely enjoy the food there very much, and were afraid to return since we didn’t want to cause another scene or make things awkward for you and your manager. Thanks again for your apology, and I hope you don’t mind if we pay you guys another visit some time? :)


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