Sakushi Takeaway

March 17, 2015 at 5:22 pm | Posted in Takeaway | 1 Comment
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It’s safe to say I’m obsessed with sushi, to the point where I’m convinced I could eat it everyday and never get tired of it – although I’d probably go bankrupt in the process.

Sheffield has a couple of Japanese restaurants, but Sakushi is the one I eat at the most. I’ve already written about the dining-in experience at Sakushi’s Campo Lane restaurant, and I reviewed a truly epic Sakushi takeaway I had last year, courtesy of hungryhouse. But, whenever I order anything from Sakushi, it’s always so good that it seems a shame not to write about it. And, since my latest takeaway featured a few items I haven’t tried before, I thought a second review of Sakushi’s takeaway was in order.

I’ve ordered more Sakushi takeaways than I care to count, and the quality has always been every bit as good as the food they serve in their restaurant. Sakushi also put lots of added extras into their takeaway bags, including tonnes of pickled ginger, packets of soy sauce and chopsticks, which is a nice touch. The delivery is always prompt, even when I’ve ordered at peak times like Friday and Saturday nights.

My only complaint about Sakushi’s takeaway, is that occasionally they’ve got an item in my order wrong. This has happened on a couple of occasions (including this order – but more on that later!) and the strange thing is that I always place my takeaway orders online, so it’s not even like they could have misheard me down the phone!

On this particular night, me and a sushi-loving friend decided to order a few things to share. Sakushi’s delivery, as always, was speedy and the takeaway came with lots of added extras, including chopsticks that I can’t use – but it’s the thought that counts, right?

We kicked off our Japanese feast with a few different kinds of sushi that you can order separately from Sakushi’s menu. Our sushi ‘starter’ consisted of spicy tuna gunkan (2 pieces for £3.50) mixed nigiri (3 pieces, £4.00) and steak nigiri (2 pieces for £3.50), plus some surprise shitaki nigiri that neither of us had ordered (normally £2.50 for 2 pieces, according to the menu).

spicy tuna gunkan, steak nigiri, mixed nigir

After checking my email confirmation, it became clear that Sakushi had sent us this mushroom nigiri instead of the squid nigiri we’d ordered. This was annoying, as I’m not a big fan of vegetable-based sushi. To me, the best thing about sushi is the fish and the seafood, so although I do like mushrooms, this shitaki nigiri was never going to go down well.

The shitaki nigiri had a really strong, earthy flavour that I did enjoy, and the mushroom itself didn’t have that wet, slippery texture that cooked mushrooms sometimes have – but I’m still not sold on vegetable sushi. This just isn’t something I’d ever choose to order.

The steak nigiri got a big thumbs up from my friend. The pieces of steak were generous, tender and juicy – basically everything you want from a steak! The meat had also been seasoned well, and sprinkled with fresh spring onions that worked really well with the richness of the steak.

The mixed nigiri gives you the chance to taste three different kinds of nigiri: salmon, prawn and tuna. It’s perfect if you’re feeling indecisive, or if you enjoy trying a few different things.

Of the three, the tuna and salmon were my favourites. Not only were the pieces of fish far bigger and thicker than the prawn nigiri, but they’re also raw, so they have that really strong, distinctive sashimi taste that I love. Next to the raw salmon and tuna, the cooked prawn nigiri just seemed a bit bland and boring.

Still, I love the tuna and salmon nigiri, and I’m a big fan of getting to try a few different things – so for £4.00 I’d definitely order this again.

But, by far the best thing about our sushi ‘starter,’ was the spicy tuna gunkan. This gunkan is a seaweed roll packed with lots of diced raw tuna, and covered in a delicious and unique combination of spices. This is the kind of spice that catches in the back of your throat and makes you cough, but if you can take the heat then it makes for some seriously tasty sushi, and the spices work perfectly with the earthiness of the raw tuna.

I’ve had Sakushi’s spicy tuna gunkan a few times before and have always enjoyed it, so I’d decided to finally branch out and try the other kind of spicy gunkan on Sakushi’s menu – salmon gunkan.

Our second plate of sharing sushi was made up of the spicy sake gunkan (2 pieces, £3.50) that I couldn’t wait to try, plus another helping of spicy tuna gunkan (yep, I’m obsessed with this stuff) and crab gunkan with mayo (2 pieces, £3.50).

spicy tuna gunkan, spicy salmon gunkan, crab meat

The spicy salmon gunkan seemed to have exactly the same mixture of spices as the tuna gunkan. Whatever combination of spices Sakushi use, it’s really hot but also full of flavour. I’m hooked – I just want more of this stuff.

The diced salmon had a much lighter taste than the tuna gunkan. I can’t make up my mind which I prefer. Looks like I’ll just have to order both from now on!

The third and final gunkan was completely different. Sakushi’s crab gunkan has a nice amount of fresh crab meat, but it also has way too much mayo, to the point where it completely overwhelmed the crab. Sorry Sakushi, but this is one gunkan I won’t be ordering again!

Sushi dispatched, it was time for our mains. Since me and my friend are both obsessed with sashimi, we’d ordered two sashimi-based main courses to share.

First up, was a thing of beauty: a Fuji Sashimi platter.

Fuji sashimi platter

This is a whopping 21-piece platter of tuna, salmon, sea bass, ika (squid), tako (boiled octopus), hokkigai (surf clam) and fish roe (£23.85).

Everything on this platter is pretty special, but my personal favourites were the tuna and salmon. This isn’t just because I’m obsessed with the taste of raw salmon and tuna, but also because Sakushi are seriously generous when it comes to how much salmon and tuna they give you. Just look at those wedges!

Fuji sashimi platter 2

These are some seriously thick, juicy cuts of sashimi. I could have eaten 21 pieces of nothing but salmon and tuna sashimi and been perfectly happy.

The cuts of squid, surf clam and sea bass are on the thinner side, but they’re also really light and refreshing, which is a nice contrast to the stronger tastes of the tuna and salmon. My only gripe with this platter is that, next to so much delicious sashimi, the boiled octopus was a bit bland and boring – not unlike the cooked prawn in my mixed nigiri.

If you love sashimi, then Sakushi’s Fuji platter is food heaven. It’s big enough to share, or it makes a truly indulgent treat for one. If 21 pieces of sashimi sounds a bit insane, then it’s worth noting that Sakushi do offer a smaller version of this platter, which includes all the same fish and seafood, but in smaller quantities and without any fish roe (£16.95 for 15 pieces).

For our second main course, I’d ordered one of my all time favourite things from Sakushi: a Chirashi-Don (£13.45).

Chirashi-Don

Sakushi’s Chirashi-Don is a super-sized portion of sticky sushi rice topped with salmon, tuna and squid sashimi, plus lots of colourful fish roe.

The roe gives the Chirashi-Don a really intense, salty flavour and is particularly good mixed into the rice. You also get a good variety of sashimi, although the cuts are a bit on the thin side.

Sashimi on its own is delicious, but it’s not always particularly filling. This is why I love Sakushi’s Chirashi-Don so much – you get to sample some seriously tasty cuts of sashimi, but you also get to stuff your face with a super-sized portion of rice that’s guaranteed to fill you up. I also have a major soft spot for Sakushi’s rice, as it’s always lovely and sticky without being soggy, and it has a subtly vinegary flavour that I’m addicted to. Basically, Sakushi’s Chirashi-Don is pretty much my perfect meal.

While Sakushi’s Campo Lane restaurant is really nice and modern, and has a really fun conveyor belt of sushi, sometimes there’s nothing better than delicious food delivered direct to your door. I’ve always found Sakushi’s takeaway to be every bit as good as the food they serve in their restaurant, and this takeaway was no exception.

Apart from the crab gunkan and mushroom nigiri, everything was delicious and I wouldn’t hesitate to order it again. If you like sashimi, then you need to try the Fuji platter and Chirashi-Don. And, if you have a soft spot for spicy foods, then both the spicy salmon and spicy tuna gunkan should be right up your street.

In fact, the only truly disappointing thing was that Sakushi got one item of my order wrong. If I hadn’t ended up with that mushroom nigiri, this would have been the perfect takeaway.

3 and a half

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Sakushi Takeaway

May 8, 2014 at 2:57 pm | Posted in Takeaway | 3 Comments
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Ok, confession time: I’m addicted to takeaway. Whether it’s a Friday night curry, or a cheeky lunchtime delivery when I’m feeling under the weather; whether it’s the celebratory takeaway, or the commiseratory takeaway, or even a social takeaway when I’m entertaining and don’t fancy cooking – any excuse to order in. So, I consider myself lucky that Sheffield is not only a fantastic place for dining out, but it’s also great for getting delicious food, delivered direct to your door.

Despite having a drawer full of takeaway menus in my kitchen, I can’t remember the last time I actually used them. Over the past couple of years, the way I indulge in my takeout habit has moved online. Gone are the days of running around the house, hunting for the right change to pay for my vindaloo. Now, I just boot up my laptop, hop online, order my takeway, and pay using my trusty credit card.

So, when hungryhouse got in touch and asked if I’d be interested in penning a few words about one of the many Sheffield takeaways that made it onto their ‘Top Takeaways’ list, I didn’t need to think twice. Stuff my face with yummy food, write some words of praise about a local restaurant, and I wouldn’t even have to leave my house? I was in, and I was in big.

hungryhouse base their top takeaways list on the number of people who ordered from each establishment, plus the average customer rating. A quick look at the list revealed what I already knew to be true: Sheffield is a great place to live if you love takeaway. Not only does Sheffield put in a good show when it comes to the sheer number of establishments who’ve made the cut, but also when it comes to the range of food on offer. All the takeout classics are present and accounted for (pizza, Chinese, burgers and Indian), but you’ll also find some more unusual takeout on this list, including one of my favourite Japanese restaurants, Sakushi.

If you’ve never visited Sakushi before, it’s a Campo Lane establishment with a revolving conveyor belt of sushi that makes it perfect for grabbing some quick, healthy food during the working week. I’ve eaten at Sakushi a couple of times before, and have even treated myself to the occasional sushi takeaway, so this review is definitely long overdue!

When you place an order through hungryhouse, you enter your postcode, and the website brings up a list of all the takeaways willing to deliver to your location (and usually a few places that are nearby, but are collection only). If you’ve got a particular craving, you can instantly narrow down these results, by selecting a type of cuisine from the side menu.

hungryhouse’s list of nearby takeaways also displays each establishment’s vital statistics, including the type of cuisine on offer, delivery charges, and the minimum you need to spend in order to qualify for delivery – ideal for quickly zeroing in on a restaurant. Once you find a place you like the look of, just click it to see their full menu. This is all good stuff, but I already had my heart set on Japanese food, so I cut to the chase and brought up Sakushi’s menu.

The great thing about Sakushi, is that their takeaway menu is exactly the same as their eat-in menu. This may not sound like a big deal, but Sakushi’s is a large, varied menu covering everything from sushi and sashimi, to curries, noodles, soups, and a wide range of hot and cold Japanese tapas. So, when you sit down to order a takeaway from Sakushi, you really are spoilt for choice. The size of their takeout menu also means that you shouldn’t discount Sakushi just because you’re squeamish about raw fish (or fish in general), as there’s a long list of other foodstuffs to choose from, including lots of cooked meat and vegetarian dishes.

Even though we were only ordering for two, Sakushi’s menu was far too tempting, and we ended up placing a super-sized order. A few minutes later, I received an email confirming an estimated delivery time. However, around 10 minutes after that, I received a follow-up email, informing us that our meal would be later than originally estimated. Presumably, 10 minutes was the time it took for the Sakushi staff to take a look at our massive order, and realise they’d never be able to prepare and ship so much food, in so little time.

This update was appreciated, as there’s nothing worse than sitting there twiddling your thumbs and jumping up everytime you hear a car approaching, until you eventually lose patience and call the restaurant, only to discover that, actually, your order is going to be a while yet. Email updates on your takeaway – it’s the future, people!

When our order did arrive, first impressions were good, as it came with lots of added extras, including packets of soya sauce, ginger, and wasabi, and lots of chopsticks. Clearly, Sakushi assumed we’d ordered enough food for a party, rather than dinner for two seriously hungry people. It’s okay, Sakushi, I don’t feel judged.

Sakushi Sheffield takeaway

We popped the cold food in the fridge, and kicked off our Japanese dining experience with the hot part of our order. First up was the Vegetable Tempura Udon (£9.95), which consisted of a big container of soup and noodles, and a box of tempura-coated veggies. While I suspect you’re supposed to add the fried veggies to the noodle soup, we both prefer our tempura on the side, so I was glad that Sakushi kept the two separate.

Despite being billed as a main meal for one, we cracked open the container of delicious-smelling soup, and divided it between two bowls.

Sakushi udon noodles

The plentiful udon noodles were perfectly cooked, and thick enough to make this a really filling soup, even when shared between two people. The broth reminded me of miso soup, as it was thin and dark, but had a really strong, salty flavour. Even better, when ordering the udon soup, you have the option to make your stock extra spicy. As a lover of hot foods, I’d leapt at the chance to crank up the heat, but when I saw all the chilli powder floating amongst the stock, I wondered whether I’d made a mistake. I love the taste of spicy food – what I don’t like is when restaurants dump a load of chilli powder into a dish, just because they can. One slurp of the soup, and I realised this wasn’t the case. Despite the lashings of chilli, the stock had the sort of heat that’s rich and tasty, rather than painful and tasteless.

The next time I’m suffering with a cold, I’m ordering a bucketload of this stuff! Sakushi’s udon is one of those meals that feels like it’s doing you good – kind of like chicken noodle soup with a Japanese twist.

As mentioned before, the soup came with a helping of vegetable tempura that I decided to eat on the side, rather than add to my soup.

Sakushi veg tempura

I usually find fried foods a bit bland and boring, but Sakushi’s generous wedges of courgette, pepper, red onion, and other assorted veggies, were lightly battered, so I could still taste the vegetables inside. I wish more restaurants took Sakushi’s light approach to batter!

We then moved onto the first of our warm Japanese tapas, and tucked into a portion of “Harumaki” spring rolls, which came with a sweet chilli dipping sauce. I’ve eaten Chinese spring rolls before, but this was the first time I’d sampled Harumaki, and it was not what I was expecting.

Sakushi spring rolls

Rather than a crunchy coating, our three Harumaki spring rolls (£3.45) had a doughy exterior, and a creamy, blended filling. After I’d wrapped my brain around the concept of a soft spring roll, I really enjoyed my Harumaki. It’s richer, heavier, and far tastier than the crunchy spring rolls I’ve had previously.

A side order of Harumaki may only consist of three spring rolls but be warned, their dense, chewy texture makes them extremely filling. Personally, I’d order this as a side dish to share.

Next up, was a portion of Takoyaki (£4.95) which is five octopus dough balls covered in lashings of thick takoyaki sauce and mayonnaise.

Sakushi Takoyaki

These dough balls have a similar consistency to the spring rolls, and contain a generous portion of octopus, to boot. The big pieces of octopus meant that the stodgy dough didn’t completely overwhelm the taste of octopus, which was what I’d been expecting.

The mayo and the takoyaki sauce were rich additions to an already belly-busting dish, so once again I was glad we’d ordered these tapas to share. I would avoid ordering the takoyaki for yourself, in addition to a main meal – unless you have a seriously raging hunger.

Hot side food dispatched, it was time to move onto the cold stuff, and really, no Japanese dining experience would be complete without sushi.

assorted sushi

Even if the thought of raw fish turns your stomach, that’s no reason to deprive yourself of the magic of sushi. What makes sushi, well, sushi, is the vinegared rice. You can top this rice with anything you want, from raw fish and seafood (known as sashimi), right through to cooked meats, tofu and veggies. Our portion of steak nigiri (£3.50) proves there doesn’t need to be anything fishy about sushi.

Steak Nigiri

The meat nigiri was my takeout buddy’s idea, and once they’d taken a bite, they were only too happy to scoff the lot. The steak was thinly-sliced and cooked a crowd-pleasing medium. Sakushi also put their own twist on steak, by adding sesame seeds and a sprinkling of green onion, both of which were very welcome additions. Our advice? Take this Japanese twist a step further and slap some wasabi on those juicy morsels of steak; you won’t regret it! This is sushi for people who think they don’t like sushi.

If you’re a fish fan, then prepare to be spoilt for choice. Sakushi offers a full range of fish and seafood (salmon, prawn, tuna, sea bass, eel, octopus, squid, surf clam, and crab) arranged on sushi rice, with lots of extras thrown into the mix, including tempura, seaweed, veggies, mayo, and even philadelphia cheese.

Our sushi feast continued with two Soft Shell Crab Uramaki Rolls, priced at £4.00 for the pair. This sushi consists of crab meat, cooked in light tempura batter, and bundled up in sushi rice. Sakushi spoil you by cramming lots of extras into each uramaki roll, including spring onion, avocado, cucumber, and flying fish roe.

Sakushi uranyaki roll

Fish roe tends to be unpleasantly salty on its own, but when used sparingly it can add a strong, salty edge to a dish, which was the case with our uramaki rolls.

Paying £4.00 for two pieces of sushi may sound excessive, but these are large rolls, jam-packed with quality ingredients. The presence of tempura batter also means that they’re more filling than your average sushi roll, so I didn’t feel short-changed.

Now, onto the raw stuff! We’d ordered four pieces of Tekka Maki (priced at £3.50), which is raw tuna, wrapped in sticky sushi rice.

Sakushi tekka maki

Maki is one of my favourite kinds of sushi, as it’s a perfect, bite-sized piece, and raw tuna is my favourite sashimi, because it has such a distinctive, earthy flavour, so I was really looking forward to this one. Sakushi didn’t disappoint, serving up big chunks of tasty tuna, bundled up in tangy sushi rice. A great dish for those who love strong flavours!

Since I’m such a fan of tuna sashimi, and love spicy food, I was excited to spot something called Spicy Tuna Gunkan on Sakushi’s menu. For £3.50, we got two portions of gunkan, which is diced raw tuna, heavily spiced, and wrapped in yummy nori seaweed.

Sakushi tuna gunkan

Sakushi sprinkled the gunkan with some refreshing spring onion, which nicely offset the earthy tuna and strong spices. It’s little touches like this, that makes Sakushi such a great place for foodies, regardless of whether you visit the restaurant, or order takeaway.

As someone who loves their spice, I can’t wait to order the spicy gunkan again. Highly recommended for hot food enthusiasts!

The final morsel of sushi, was Hokkigai Nigiri: two big pieces of colourful surf clam, served on blocks of sushi rice (£3.50).

hokkigai nigiri

After the strong flavours of the tuna gunkan and maki, the hokkigai nigiri tasted very light and refreshing. It may not have been the tastiest sushi, but it had that clean, simple flavour you crave midway through a heavy meal. The hokkigai nigiri definitely helped revive me for the final part of our epic Japanese feast; the Chirashi Don (£11.45).

Sakushi’s Chirashi Don is simple, but effective: a big bowl of sticky, vinegary sushi rice, topped with choice cuts of sashimi. Basically, if you love your starch and your carbs, love your fish, and are partial to strong flavours, then this is your dream meal. Sakushi’s Chirashi Don is pretty much responsible for getting me hooked on sashimi – it really is that good.

The thinly-sliced sashimi not only tastes fantastic, but it looks beautiful, too. In fact, it looks so good that it deserves its own close up.

Sakushi chirashi don

This particular Chirashi Don was layered with lots of tangy salmon sashimi, raw tuna, and sea bass sashimi. Sea bass isn’t something I’d normally order, but it has a fresh flavour that perfectly complements the stronger-tasting salmon and tuna.

The Chirashi Don was finished off with some flying fish roe. Personally, I’d avoid eating the roe with the slices of sashimi, as the combination of fish roe and raw fish is far too salty, but the roe does taste great mixed into the sushi rice.

All in all, the Chirashi Don is a dream combination of delicious sashimi, and filling rice. Cuts of sashimi are frequently served on their own, without any rice, which never really fills me up. Sashimi is usually the most expensive thing on a Japanese menu, so when you come away from the meal still hungry, you do tend to feel hard done by. Sakushi’s Chirashi Don strikes a happy medium between satisfying those hunger pangs, and treating you to the finest cuts of raw fish.

So, what’s my verdict on hungryhouse and Sakushi? Well, on the one hand I’m going to continue stuffing leaflets into my dedicated “takeaway menu drawer,” but on the other hand, I have absolutely no idea why. The sheer convenience of online ordering, means that my hoard of takeaway menus will continue to go unused.

As for sushi takeout, it may sound weird, but it works, and you don’t feel quite as guilty as you do after stuffing your face with Indian, Chinese, and most other forms of takeout. Sakushi’s takeaway food is also every bit as good as the stuff served in their restaurant, so you can expect first class nosh regardless of whether you’re eating in, or ordering online.

On a final note, it’s well worth checking out some of the other Sheffield takeaways that have made hungyhouse’s top takeaways list. Besides Sakushi, I can highly recommend Butlers Balti House for some of the best curries in the city, and Chan’s on Abbeydale Road for yummy Chinese grub.

5-stars

Sakushi

June 30, 2012 at 8:32 pm | Posted in Restaurants, Takeaway | 4 Comments
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There’s no denying it: sushi is THE lunchtime treat for when you’re having a tough day at the office. If you’re keeping an eye on the pennies, then the value-for-money Edo Sushi takeaway is the perfect place to grab a box of fishy goodness on the go. But, if you’re hankering after an hour away from the office, then Sakushi is worth a visit for those with a few notes in their back pocket.

Located conveniently on Campo Lane (slap bang across the road from The Wig and Pen, incidentally) Sakushi puts a trendy gloss on the traditional Japanese restaurant. The interior is all sleek, spotless monochrome, white leather booths and super-efficient staff. Sakushi even modernizes the old cliche of the sushi conveyor belt, with pods of sushi sweeping around a stylish steel ornament and past a reassuringly open kitchen. Even though you can grab your meal straight off a conveyor belt, there’s nothing tacky about Sakushi.

The menu is so exhaustive that newcomers to Japanese cuisine are advised to study it online in advance. Not only does Sakushi offer a wide choice of sushi and sashimi, but there’s an equally impressive range of cooked mains and Japanese tapas too. Our party decided to put every section of the menu to the test – sushi, tapas and cooked mains – to bring you the most comprehensive review possible. We’re selfless, like that.

We began our epic feast with sushi. At Sakushi, you have a choice: you can either reach across and yank whatever takes your fancy off the conveyor belt (the colour-coded plates are then stacked up on your table and the staff tot up the total at the end of the meal) or you can order plates of sushi from the menu. Since we’re an impatient lot, we got stuck in with the conveyor belt.

The sushi portion of our feast consisted of a couple of plates of the Mixed Nigiri (£3.80) which featured all our favourites: salmon, prawn and tuna sashimi. Also cherry-picked from the conveyor belt were Tuna Nigiri (£3.30) and Sake Nigiri (£2.30) both of which boasted a generous slab of raw fish, and the Hamachi Nigiri (£3.30.) Made with “yellow tail” the Hamachi Nigiri was a new one on us, but the tanginess of the pale fish won us over – a newfound favourite! The Tako Nigiri (£2.80) divided opinion; the chewy, raw octopus wasn’t to everyone’s palate – personally, I found the taste a little overpowering.

The big hits at our table were the Sakushi Roll (£3.80) which was laced with crunchy tempura batter, the creamy Salmon and Avocado Roll (£2.80), the Spicy Tuna Roll (£3.30) and the Fresh Crab Roll (£3.80) which was jam-packed with shredded crab.

Sushi fanatics, beware: it’s easy to lose track of what you’re spending, especially when you’re sat next to a revolving door of delicious-looking sushi. It’s a good idea to set a limit on how many plates you’re going to have in advance. Needless to say, we didn’t set a strict limit and got carried away…..

But, we’d solemnly sworn to sample the cooked mains and Japanese tapas as well as the sushi. So, loosening our belts we ordered a portion of the Shiitake No Kani (£4.95), shiitake mushrooms and crab in breadcrumbs served with a sprinkling of side salad.

Generously filled with shredded crab, these little balls of goodness had our reviewer raving. Who would have thought shiitake mushrooms and crab meat would be a match made in heaven? Rich and creamy, and highly recommended.

Also arriving at our groaning table, was a big plate of Seafood Yaki (£9.65.) This belly-buster can be ordered with a choice of sauces – traditional Yaki sauce or sweet Teriyaki sauce – and either soba or udon noodles. Our reviewer settled on traditional sauce and udon noodles. In addition to noodles and sauce, the dish contains tiger prawns, crab sticks, calamari, butter fish, mussels and seasonal greens.

The tangy sauce went down well, but we were disappointed by the amount of seafood and felt the £9.65 price tag was a little on the high side for what was essentially a posh stir fry.

Not content with the upteen plates of sushi and sashimi I’d already done away with, I ordered the Chirashi – Don (£11.14) from the main menu; slices of mixed sashimi on a large helping of sushi rice. When it arrived, my mouth dropped open – it looked absolutely amazing.

The sushi rice was sticky and morish, but the sashimi was the real star of the show. The bowl included generous chunks of my favourite sashimi, tuna and salmon, and new-favourite yellow fish, alongside love-it-or-hate-it slices of octopus, a curl of meaty eel and a prawn. All of the sashimi tasted just-pulled-out-of-the-sea fresh, and the dollop of fish roe gave the dish extra bite (although as a massive roe fan I’d have liked an extra few scoops!) The strips of fried tofu skin perfectly complimented the dish, delivering a welcome hit of sweetness whenever the saltiness of the sashimi became overpowering. For a side order, I plumped for a portion of edamame beans (£2.55), which were served lightly steamed and juicy.

The drinks menu was on the pricey side, so we ordered cokes that came in at £2 a pop. For a small glass bottle of the fizzy stuff (not even a full pint!) we still felt this was cheeky – although going out for sushi and sashimi is rarely a cheap experience!

If you’ve got the time to venture out of town, then Yama Sushi is a cheaper alternative and, if it’s just sushi you’re after, then Yama can’t be beaten for the freshness and sheer tastiness of their sushi. However, if it’s a quick, city centre lunchtime treat you’re after, then Sakushi is the place to go – just keep a mental running total of the bill, because Sakushi can quickly turn into a bank-busting lunchbreak.

The Wig and Pen

June 24, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Posted in Restaurants | 3 Comments
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Drinking in the afternoon is one of life’s greatest pleasures, so when we spied a ‘brunch and all you can drink prosecco’ voucher (£15.95) for The Wig and Pen, we wasted no time printing it out before the owners came to their senses and took the offer down. Needless to say, we were excited about this one, especially since we’d had such a fantastic meal at affiliated eatery The Milestone the previous week.

From the outside, The Wig and Pen looks nothing special: it’s a stumpy huddle of buildings in the heart of Estate Agent District (aka Campo Lane.) Inside, it’s far nicer than expected: the interior is all light wood, big windows and ‘swanky wine bar’ atmosphere.

A friendly waitress escorted our party to a table, where we promptly pulled out our voucher and she sped off to fetch the first (of many) rounds of bubbly. Fully expecting to be brought a bottle, we were disappointed when she returned with a tray of glasses. We couldn’t help grumbling, convinced that we’d struggle to attract the staff’s attention when it was time for glass number two (and three, and four) and the ‘all you can drink’ boast was just a conspiracy. If something is too good to be true, then it probably is. It turns out we were just being cynical – despite our waitress also ferrying plates of bulging Sunday lunch to a large party directly behind us, she always found the time to top our glasses up. Far from making us feel self-conscious about burning through the bottles, she was very friendly, and jokingly gave us a running total of how much we’d drank. The Wig and Pen’s staff really are second to none – polite, attentive and friendly. Even better, the prosecco they’ve earmarked for this offer is perfect for afternoon drinking, morish without being too sweet.

Eventually we got around to ordering some brunch dishes to mop up all that fizz. The menu is in the same vein as The Milestone’s, so if you’re partial to the grub at one of the venues, then you’re guaranteed to like the other. Picky eaters beware, The Wig and Pen’s menu is far from extensive, but each dish has been concocted with a keen eye for detail, with a heavy focus on unusual combos. That said, the brunch menu is particularly restrictive. There’s a posh cooked breakfast but beyond that, if you don’t like poached eggs and hollandaise sauce then you’re going to go hungry. Poached egg fans can choose from double eggs benedict, double eggs royal or double eggs florentine, all priced at a reasonable £5.95.

Thankfully, we’re all fans of the humble egg at Sheffield Eats, so we had no issues with the narrow menu. I plumped for Double Eggs Royal, which consisted of two stodgy English muffins layered with wilted spinach and slabs of the strongest, saltiest and most mouth-watering smoked salmon I’ve had the pleasure of crossing paths with. Topped off with two perfectly-cooked eggs and lashings of creamy hollandaise sauce, the portion size may have looked mean, but I’d learned my lesson about the richness of The Milestone/The Wig and Pen’s food, and took it slowly this time.

The eggs were perfectly cooked, with a little runny yolk still in the centre; the spinach was wilted but not falling apart, and the smoked salmon was so thick, it was more like a fillet. The Wig and Pen’s Double Eggs Royal is one of the richest meals I’ve ever eaten and, combined with the sheer strength of the smoked salmon, it was impossible for me to finish. I’d recommend treating this brunch dish as your lunch – it would take a stronger stomach than mine to polish off this plate of loud flavours and calorific sauce before noon.

Also arriving at the table, were a couple of portions of Double Eggs Benedict, which basically replaced the wedge of smoked salmon with a chunk of bacon. The bacon had more in common with gammon than the usual fatty supermarket stuff, and everyone at the table agreed The Wig and Pen’s bacon is in a league of its own.

The food may have been impossible to fault, but we did have an issue with the live acoustic jazz performer who is apparently a regular fixture on Sundays. For the first fifteen minutes or so, the speakers were turned up far too high. With the large party behind us all shouting to make themselves heard above the blaring music, it wasn’t the quiet, relaxed brunch we’d envisioned. Thankfully, The Wig and Pen twigged there was something wrong and had turned the volume down by the time the performer returned for his second set, and we could hear ourselves think again.

To round off the afternoon, we took our final glasses of prosecco outside and made the most of a sudden burst of sunshine in The Wig and Pen’s cobbled outdoor area. Set in a courtyard with no traffic and few passers-by, it’s an unexpectedly quiet haven in the centre of town, and the ideal place to escape the crowds and while away a sunny afternoon (if this rain ever stops….)

Full enough to pop and well into our third bottle of prosecco thanks to the attentive waitress, we raised our glasses to one of the best (certainly, the most tipsy!) brunches we’d had in Sheffield. The food, service and venue itself are flawless and, after they’d toned down the music, we could properly relax and enjoy our boozy brunch. Obviously cut from the same cloth as The Milestone, The Wig and Pen has all the same great qualities, and with a more convenient, city centre location to boot.

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