Willoughby & Co. is an institution known for its top-notch sushi and Japanese food – and with good reason. Fans will often queue to get a table and a taste of the famous 4×4 rolls or a helping of robatayaki. Located within a shopping mall, it’s not known for spectacular ambience, but the food speaks for itself. Eat Out critic Nikita Buxton stands in line for her Willoughby & Co. fix.
Price: R185 on average for a main meal
Serves: Japanese-style food, sushi and seafood
Best for: Grabbing a quick bite after a shopping spree
Parking: There is ample parking at the V&A Waterfront
Star ratings: Food 4, service 3, ambience 2
The restaurant does not mess around when it comes to the menu. The list of options is almost daunting but we find peace when we get to the familiar sushi menu. To mix things up a bit, we start off with some lighter starters. The hot and spicy tom yum soup is great for cooler weather: The generous portion of broth is filled with plump prawns and has a moreish flavour. Tofu lovers can also enjoy a slightly smaller portion of soup with the complex tofu miso. But if it’s sushi you’re after, you’re in the right place. From the standard California rolls to the famous 4×4 rolls with creamy rock shrimp, each bite of sushi is well made and full of fresh flavour.
Besides the wide selection of sushi and platters, there are a number of cold and hot Japanese dishes from which to choose. The options include satisfying grilled crispy rice topped with hot and spicy salmon or chopped prawn; rich salmon grenades (salmon roses filled with spicy chopped salmon and mayo, and topped with tempura and spring onion); grilled yakitori chicken; and crispy yet tender soft-shell crab with ponzu sauce.
If you can fit in anything else, the desserts include classics like mille-feuille, crème brûlée and malva pudding. Feeling stuffed to the gills, we opt for a kick of whiskey Dom Pedro to round off the meal.
The reasonably priced wine list boasts some good local options with nearly all available by the glass. If you’re lucky, you’ll be offered a wine taster in the queue or at your table by an on-site wine farm rep.
Willoughby & Co. is known for not accepting reservations, but the wait is rarely long. (You can also enjoy a glass of wine while you wait.) Food is served speedily to turn over tables, and the staff are knowledgeable but appear a little rushed.
With the majority of the tables located in the thoroughfare of the shopping centre, the ambience leaves a little to be desired. If you’d prefer, there is seating inside at the counters.
There is a wine store and fish counter inside with some great take-home options.
Eat Out critics dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Read our editorial policy here.