Shinsen Fish Market
This vast warehouse on Sukhumvit Soi 39 takes its cues from Taipei’s uber-cool Addiction Aquatic Development—a fish supermarket where diners can order up the finest ocean delicacies to eat on -site.
Here, though, some of the live seafood is a far cry from “fresh,” with tanks of sad geoducks and huge crabs in unclear water. It’s enough to put you off dinner as you wait around looking at it—which you will do, since no staff showed up to seat us on our last visit. It’s no surprise, then, that the glum mezzanine area is frequently empty.
The service shortfalls don’t end there, with staff incapable of providing you with the right cutlery or condiments. Want a spoon for your soup? You’ll have to ask. Want wasabi, soy and pickled ginger for your sushi? Again, not unless you ask.
There’s fun to be had walking around and looking at the images of mouthwatering dishes on polished menus, but with each different counter comes a completely different bill, which means you’ll spend as much time getting your wallet out as eating.
In the fusion Shinsen Kobore Sushi (B390) you undoubtedly get the freshness of raw minced tuna, but it comes with dry, tasteless, rubbery, napkin-like crabmeat. Comfort dishes like the greasy garlic and tobiko (fish roe) spaghetti (B220) are also best forgotten thanks to the quantity of grease and big, mushy prawn that sits on top of it.
They do traditional sushi, too—even omakase feasts at times, with a past partnership with the esteemed Ginza Kyubey from Tokyo—but who cares when the fundamental of any good sushi—the rice—is this soggy? Stroll a few hundred meters to mid-budget sushi places like Kaze Fresh, Sushi Hiro and Isao and you’ll find better sushi than this.
Admittedly, the prices seem good overall and most of the live ingredients are decent enough quality—we just wish it didn’t have to suffer what the kitchens do to it. Live scallops, for example, are delicately plump, but grilled in butter and soy sauce (B150/piece) they just leave a rancid buttery note.
We know that things at Shinsen Fish Market didn’t used to be this way. We know that, when it opened, Shinsen delivered on its tank-to-table promise of quality produce prepared with care. In the space of 18 months, a lot has changed. Corkage B500
This review took place in November 2017 and is based on a visit to the restaurant without the restaurant's knowledge. For more on BK's review policy, click here.