KOKO

April 24, 2016 at 1:10 pm | Posted in Restaurants | Leave a comment
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Over the past year or so, there’s been a bit of a sushi explosion in Sheffield with no fewer than four new sushi restaurants opening across the city: KOKO, Let’s Sushi, Sakura House, and the Revolving Sushi and Noodle Bar.

Sadly, Sakura House on Eccy Road almost immediately relaunched as Yep Yep Hot Pot before closely down completely, so I never got the chance to find out whether it was any good. But last week I decided to branch out from Yama, Edo and Sakushi, and try one of Sheffield’s three new(ish) sushi restaurants.

KOKO is a compact but very smartly decorated restaurant on Ecclesall Road that has the sleek, modern feel of Sakushi – which is no surprise considering it’s owned by the same guy who launched Sakushi.

koko

I’ve got to admit that I decided to visit KOKO after spotting that they were offering a free shot of Japanese whisky to all diners on Twitter – everyone loves a freebie, right? However, after showing us to our table the first thing our waiter did was offer us a complimentary glass of prosecco. I leapt at the chance for a free glass of fizz, but my friend had their heart set on sampling some Japanese whisky so they asked whether they could have the shot of Nikka instead. At this point we were told this wasn’t an either-or offer, he was offering us free prosecco in addition to the complimentary whisky.

Apparently if you dine at KOKO before 6.30pm on any day of the week, then you get a free glass of prosecco, and if KOKO happen to be running another drinks-related freebie then you’re in luck, because you’re entitled to that too. The only catch is that on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday KOKO doesn’t open until 6pm, so if you’re dining on any of these days you’ll need to be quick off the mark in order to qualify for the free prosecco.  

After that nice surprise, it was time to take a look at the food menu. Compared to other Sheffield sushi restaurants like Yama and Sakushi, KOKO’s menu is pretty compact, but this is understandable considering KOKO is a much smaller venue. While KOKO do offer a few mixed sushi and sashimi platters, the focus is more on cooked mains such as noodles, Katsu curry and fish served in various Japanese sauces, rather than sushi and sashimi.

Since the menu is on the smaller side, it took me no time to decide that I wanted to order the Salmon Fillet in Black Pepper Sauce (£14.95), but just to complicate matters the person I was eating with wanted a starter. To avoid being left twiddling my thumbs while they enjoyed their first course, I decided to order a Miso Soup (£3.50) starter, which includes unlimited refills (score!)

However, when I gave the waiter my order he pointed out that all of KOKO’s ‘Bigger Dishes’ come with miso soup anyway. In fact, they come with miso soup, salad and a choice of rice or noodles. Since my friend was ordering a starter, the waiter kindly offered to bring me the miso soup from my main course at the same time. It’s thoughtful little touches like this that make for really happy customers!

A surprise glass of bubbly, helpful staff, and the promise of a complimentary shot of whisky at the end of the meal – I don’t think I’ve ever had a better first impression of a restaurant!

My miso soup was everything good miso soup should be: strong and salty, with lots of seaweed and big chunks of tasty tofu.

miso soup

I love that KOKO offer unlimited refills of their miso, because I could drink about a gallon of this stuff.

For their starter, my friend opted for KOKO Kimchi Rolls (£5.95).

Koko Kimchi Rolls

These rolls are a tasty blend of tangy kimchi and peppery pork, wrapped in a light and flaky pastry. These are perfect for snacking on before a main meal, and go really well with the accompanying sweet chilli dip.

Onto the mains, and my friend had gone for the special, which on this particular evening was steak and enokitake mushrooms with yakiniku sauce. Like all of KOKO’s main courses, the steak came with miso soup, salad, and a choice of rice or noodles, plus a tangy side of pickled cucumbers and carrots.

The whole thing is served on a tray, which makes for a pretty impressive-looking spread.

steak and enokitake mushrooms

The steak was juicy and tender, pretty much melting in the mouth, which contrasted nicely with the chewy enokitake mushrooms – plus, steak and mushrooms is just a winning combination, right?

The rest of the platter is packed with different flavours – from the saltiness of the miso, to the tartness of the crunchy pickled veggies, and the light and fresh salad. The only exception were the plain noodles, which were completely unseasoned, but it was actually nice to have a break from all the other strong flavours on this platter.

My main course came with the same smorgasbord of sides, although I opted for rice rather than noodles.

Salmon Fillet in Black Pepper Sauce

The rice was perfectly cooked, so it was nice and sticky rather than gloopy. Like the noodles, the rice might have been plain on its own, but it worked really well alongside all the other strong flavours on this platter.

But onto the main star of the show: the grilled, sushi-grade salmon. This salmon was tender, juicy and practically fell apart the second my chopsticks touched it, and it was generously coated in a delicious, tangy pepper sauce that had a hint of teriyaki sweetness to it. Basically, this salmon was perfect and I loved everything about it!

Food dispatched, it was time for our second free drink of the evening. And what’s better than a free drink? Not having to awkwardly remind the staff that you’d like your free drink now, please. As the waiter cleaned away our plates, he asked whether we wanted our shot of whisky yet – he didn’t need to ask twice!

The Nikka was a satisfying, warming whisky with caramel notes that made it really easy-drinking, even for someone like me who usually takes their spirits with a healthy dose of Pepsi Max.

I can’t fault KOKO when it comes to providing value for money. Even without the complimentary prosecco and whisky, the amount of sides that come with each main course means you’re definitely getting your money’s worth. The food was delicious, especially the salmon which is some of the nicest fish I’ve ever eaten, and the staff went out of their way to make sure we enjoyed our meal.

KOKO serves great food, at a great price, with genuinely thoughtful customer service to boot. My advice? Keep an eye on KOKO’s Twitter page for whisky-related special offers, get there before 6.30pm for your free glass of prosecco, and enjoy!

5-stars

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Sakushi lunch

September 21, 2015 at 4:26 pm | Posted in Restaurants | Leave a comment
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I feel like maybe I should just go ahead and create a dedicated ‘Sushi’ section on this blog, considering how often I post about sushi in general, and Sakushi in particular.

Just in case it isn’t already blatantly obvious, Sakushi is one of my favourite places to eat in the whole of Sheffield. This Campo Lane restaurant serves fantastic sushi, sashimi and other Japanese treats, is conveniently located in the city center, and has a conveyer belt of sushi. All of these things make it the perfect place to grab a speedy lunch during the working week.

But when I visited Sakushi last week it wasn’t to grab a quick bite during my lunch break, it was for a long and lazy lunch with friends (i.e the good kind of lunch). We ended up ordering a mixture of different sushi, sashimi and cooked food and then just shared everything, so I got to try a few things I’d never ordered from Sakushi before.

I even tried a new drink!

jasmine tea

Sakushi’s jasmine tea is very light and refreshing, and is served in a very traditional-looking teapot with matching tea bowls. Sipping fragrant herbal tea out of a Japanese tea bowl just felt more fun and authentic, as opposed to the glass of vino or pint of cola I usually wash my sushi down with. I’ll definitely be taking my Sakushi sushi with a bowl of jasmine tea from now on!

Sakushi’s menu features the disclaimer that your food will come out as and when it’s ready, rather than as the defined starters, mains and sides you’d normally expect in a restaurant. Due to this policy, our dining experience was a bit random so I’m just going to run through the food as it came out of the kitchen. 

First up was the miso soup.

miso soup

Sakushi’s miso soup (£2.50) has a strong, salty, almost stock-like flavour and contains a decent amount of seaweed and spring onions, as well as a few teeny weeny cubes of tofu.

Although the bowl was a bit on the small side, Sakushi do offer unlimited refills so if you’re left craving more miso, all you need to do is ask for a refill. Considering this soup only costs £2.50, this is good value for money.

Although I did get to try lots of new things from Sakushi’s menu, a few old favourites did make an appearance, because I don’t think I can physically set foot in Sakushi anymore without ordering a Chirashi-Don (£13.45).

chirashi don

Sakushi’s chirashi-don is a big bowl of sushi rice topped with slices of sashimi and colourful fish roe. It’s my favourite thing to order from Sakushi, as I love sashimi but feel like slices of raw fish just isn’t a filling meal. I love how the chirashi-don combines sashimi with a massive portion of sticky, filling sushi rice.

I’ve eaten more chirashi-dons than I care to count and have never been disappointed, and this chirashi-don was no different. I particularly loved the raw salmon, which had a really buttery, melt-in-the-mouth consistency I hadn’t encountered with raw salmon before.

Another dish I’ve enjoyed many times before, is the Sakura Sashimi platter (£16.95 for 16 pieces). This is a platter of tuna, salmon, seabass, ika/squid, tako/octopus and hokkigai/surf clam sashimi.

sashimi platter

Since we were going all out, we ordered two sashimi platters to share. Both platters looked incredible.

sashimi platter 2

I love the thick wedges of salmon and tuna that come with this platter, although I’m not a massive fan of the tako, as I always find boiled octopus chewy and bland. But even with the boiled octopus, this makes a great sharing platter for a group of people, or a seriously indulgent meal for one.

Of course, no trip to Sakushi would be complete without sushi – lots and lots of sushi!

Sakushi serve their sushi as small plates containing two pieces of your chosen sushi, which range in price from £2.00 to £4.00. You can either order sushi from the menu, or if you like the look of something on the conveyor belt, you can just grab it as it sails past your table.

The first sushi plate of the afternoon was some Spicy Tuna Gunkan (£4.00).

spicy tuna gunkan

This gunkan consists of diced sashimi generously flavoured with shichimi. According to Google shichimi is a traditional Japanese spice mix made from 7 ingredients, which explains why the tuna gunkan has such a complex heat.

Shichimi is a hot spice, but it isn’t just hot for the sake of inflicting pain, it also adds a unique flavour and depth to the tuna gunkan (while also inflicting a little pain). The earthiness of the tuna and the deep, dark and satisfying heat of the shichimi is a winning combination.

Shichimi also makes an appearance in the Spicy Sake Gunkan (£3.00).

spicy salmon gunkan

This gunkan is made from raw salmon rather than tuna, and the lighter, brighter flavour of the raw salmon works with the shichimi spices in a completely different, but still very tasty way.

The third and final gunkan of the afternoon was Fresh Crab Gunkan (£3.00).

fresh crab gunkan

This gunkan is completely different to the shichimi-spiked salmon and tuna, as it’s made from light, fresh shredded crab meat and cooling mayo. While mayo may not be the most traditional sushi ingredient, it does add a creaminess that works really well with the fresh crab.

Also winging its way to our table was some Unagi Nigiri (£4.00).

unagi nigiri

This grilled eel sushi has a very distinctive flavour that you’ll either love or hate. Personally, I’m not a fan of this one!

Another plate, another kind of sushi. This time it was Sakushi’s own maki roll.

sakushi roll

This Sakushi Roll (£4.00) is less opinion-dividing than the eel sushi and much nicer to look at. Each roll is made from a combination of crunchy tempura prawn and melt-in-the-mouth avocado, wrapped in the obligatory rice and seaweed, and topped with a generous piece of raw salmon.

I love all the different flavours and textures that are going on in these rolls, and the sashimi topping gives the Sakushi Roll a burst of that intensely fishy flavour you can only get from sashimi. Plus, these rolls look fantastic.

Not quite so easy-on-the-eyes was the Ebi Tempura Inari (£4.00).

ebi tempura inari

Personally I find this one of the stranger types of sushi on Sakushi’s menu. When you order the Ebi Tempura Inari, you get two parcels of sweet, marinated tofu filled with rice and tempura prawns.

I’ve tried Sakushi’s Ebi Tempura Inari before and I’m simply not a fan (in my mind, tofu is savoury and the concept of sweet tofu is just plain wrong) so I knew to give this one a wide berth. However, a few people at the table did try some of the sweet tofu, and one of them enjoyed it so much they said they’d order it again.

Now, the main misconception surrounding Japanese restaurants like Sakushi, is that it’s all raw fish and seafood. True, Sakushi do serve fantastic sashimi, but they also offer a selection of cooked mains and meat dishes too. A few people at the table weren’t massive sushi fans, so they decided to order a couple of Sakushi’s cooked mains.

First up was the Peppered Ika (£5.25).

peppered ika

This peppered squid was perfectly cooked, and covered in a light and crumbly, almost tempura-like batter that was seasoned with lots and lots of black pepper. Even though I love my sushi and sashimi, the peppered ika was so good that I might end up ordering it for myself at some point.

Next up, was Tori-karage (£5.25). Despite the exotic-sounding name, this is actually Sakushi’s take on breaded chicken.

Tori-karage

The chicken was very tender and expertly cooked, and came with a lemon wedge and accompanying mayo dip, both of which worked really well with the Tori-karage.

While I wouldn’t order this for myself, the chicken did get a big thumb’s up from my non-seafood-loving friend, so it’s worth bearing in mind if you’re eating out with someone who isn’t wild about fish and seafood.

Thus concluded our Sakushi sharing experience. I love Sakushi and have eaten there many times before, but recently I’ve fallen into the bad habit of ordering the same thing everytime, so it was nice to try lots of different things, including one or two dishes I wouldn’t normally order.

From the slices of fresh sashimi to the breaded chicken with mayo, everything was nicely cooked, fresh and tasty. Even if I wasn’t keen on a few things (like the sweet tofu parcels) other people at the table enjoyed them.

Sakushi is still one of my favourite places to eat in the whole of Sheffield, and based on my latest trip I can’t see this changing anytime soon!

four-stars

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

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

Cosmo

March 23, 2014 at 11:46 am | Posted in Restaurants | Leave a comment
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A few people had mentioned Cosmo to me since it opened in St. Paul’s Place a couple of weeks ago. If you’re not familiar with Cosmo, it’s a new “all you can eat” place where you get to cram your face with cuisine from around the world: Japan, China, India, Italy, Mexico, Korea, and more.

My experience of “all you can eat” buffets has previously been restricted to Chinese fodder, so I was intrigued by the variety that Cosmo offers. “All you can eat” may not be fine dining, but everyone enjoys being greedy once in a while, so I decided to give Cosmo’s “World Banquet Dining” a whirl.

How much you’ll pay for the pleasure of filling your face at Cosmo, depends on whether you visit on a weekend or a weekday, and whether you partake of their lunch, or their evening buffet. Lunchtimes and weekdays are cheaper, while evenings and weekends are more expensive. You can expect to pay anything from £7.99, to the top price of £14.99 (the Cosmo website has more information on pricing). I visited on a weekday evening, so paid £13.99.

The first thing you notice about Cosmo, is the sheer size of the place. Cosmo is easily one of the biggest restaurants I’ve ever visited. Somewhere that promotes itself as “World Banquet Dining” obviously needs a large buffet area, but Cosmo takes this a step further with separate buffet areas for each type of cuisine they serve – the buffet alone is the size of a regular restaurant! The dining area itself is equally super-sized, to the point where it’s more like a Meadowhall-style food court than a restaurant.

Before I could take a seat and commence feasting, our party was told that we needed to give a name to the front of house staff, and then wait to be shown to our table. Despite there being rows upon rows of empty tables just a few feet away, we had to wait almost 10 minutes before it was our turn to be shown to a table, and during that time more people kept arriving behind us. I can imagine Cosmo’s waiting area becoming unpleasantly crowded, and the wait become longer and longer during peak times. My advice? Get there as soon as the lunchtime or evening service starts.

Finally seated, it was time to set off on our culinary trip around the world. First stop; the Japanese and seafood section. I wasn’t expecting much from Cosmo’s fishy selection (good seafood tends to be pricey, after all), but I was pleasantly surprised. Cosmo had a decent selection of sushi, platters of mussels and king prawns on ice, a cucumber and smoked salmon salad that didn’t skimp on the salmon, and some other fishy bits and bobs.

Cosmo seafood

When you can eat as much as you want, there’s going to be compromises when it comes to the quality of the food. All you can eat sushi can’t compare to a sushi restaurant, where you may end up paying more for a single plate of sashimi, than you do for the entire Cosmo experience. Cosmo’s take on everyone’s favourite seafood-and-rice delicacy, involves going heavy on the rice, light on the fish and seafood, and opting for cheaper fillings such as cucumber sticks and processed meats.

The king prawns and mussels were plentiful, but on the chewy side, and the edamame beans weren’t seasoned, so they tasted like boring, boiled green beans. So far, Cosmo was exactly what I’d been expecting; decent enough grub to heap onto your plate, but nothing I’d be happy to be served in a restaurant.

Cosmo seafood

However, Cosmo does have a trick up its sleeve for seafood lovers, in the form of a live cooking station, where you can get delicious morsels of seafood cooked to order. If you’re willing to wait a few minutes, you can choose from squid, king prawns, scallops, or salmon, freshly sizzled on a “Teppanyaki” hotplate. You can only order two items at a time, and the portion sizes are small, but that doesn’t matter when you’re being served slivers of perfectly-cooked, perfectly-seasoned seafood. It’s touches like the Teppanyaki bar, that sets Cosmo apart from the “all you can eat” crowd.

Cosmo seafood

A mix of buffet seafood, with some freshly-cooked squid from the Teppanyaki bar.

Even if the idea of buffet sushi fills you with horror, one thing that’s worth grabbing from the Japanese section is the salad of shredded green beans in sesame oil. It’s a strong, slimy salad, but once you get over the initial strangeness, it’s deliciously different.

After the seafood, it was time to sample some Chinese and Indian grub. If you’ve ever been to a Chinese buffet before, you know the drill: fried rice, prawn toast, spring rolls, stir fried vegetables, noodles, and meat in sticky sauce. When it comes to Indian, Cosmo have a selection of curries, as well as everyone’s favourite Indian side dishes: poppadoms, dips, and bombay potatoes. It’s all standard buffet grub, although Cosmo go easy on the seasonings and spices for both cuisines, so if you regularly eat at Chinese and Indian restaurants, you’re going to find Cosmo’s offerings a bit on the bland side.

Cosmo chinese

Another plate, another country, and this time it was a trip to the Mexican taco stand. The taco shells were surprisingly crisp and crunchy, to say they’d been sat under a heat lamp, and there was a good variety of sauces and toppings on offer, so I piled my plate high with cheese, zingy salsa, and sharp, pickled jalapenos.

However, when it came to choosing a chilli filling for my taco, I hit a snag. The Mexican stand had a pair of bubbling pots of what I’d assumed to be meat and veggie chilli, but when I took a closer look, I couldn’t be sure. Both were a hearty-looking mix of beans and veggies in a fragrant tomato sauce, but it was difficult to tell what else they contained. In the end, I settled for an extra helping of salsa instead (and then nipped back to the Chinese section and grabbed some more stir fried veggies too, which is why my plate looks so random!)

Cosmo Mexican

The way Cosmo label their dishes, is my other major gripe. On the evening I visited, the Chinese meals were meticulously labelled, right down to the garlic and other herbs used in each dish, but elsewhere the labelling was hit-and-miss. If you have a long list of foods you don’t like, or any food allergies or intolerances, buffets are always going to be a minefield – but Cosmo should at least give you the gist of what each dish is!

When it comes to meat, if you’re a committed carnivore, then Cosmo will leave you spoilt for choice. The meat lovers in our group gave the quality of the meat a big thumbs up, piling their plates high with meaty pizzas, barbecue ribs, sausages, and Chinese-style beef.

Cosmo meat

I still had a list of foodstuffs I wanted to try, but I was starting to struggle, so it seemed time to wrap things up with a spot of dessert. With all the savoury fodder on offer, I wouldn’t have been surprised if Cosmo treated pudding as an after thought. They don’t.

The Cosmo buffet has an entire section dedicated to sweet treats, including hot desserts, cold desserts, cakes, bowls of sweets, and fruit – not to mention a chocolate fountain, with all sorts of goodies for dipping. It’s enough to give you one roller coaster of a sugar-rush!

Cosmo dessert

The best part of pudding, is the bite-sized cubes of cake. Whether it’s a mouthful of tiramisu, a square of double-chocolate brownie, cheesecake, carrot cake, or sponge, it’s the perfect portion of something sweet to finish off the meal. And the best bit is they’re so small, you can try a bit of everything!

My advice is to ignore the larger “pudding cup” style desserts, as they’re mostly cream, with just a tiny bit of cake buried in the bottom. And who wants to fill up on spoonfuls of cream when Cosmo has so much more on offer?

Cosmo dessert

It’s easy to pick fault with individual items on the Cosmo buffet, but you can’t really compare “all you can eat” grub to dishes that are cooked to order in a restaurant. I went to Cosmo expecting a simple case of quantity over quality – but this wasn’t completely the case. In terms of quality, Cosmo is a cut above what you’d expect from an “all you can eat” establishment, and the variety and quantity of food is second to none. I even discovered a few dishes that I’d have been happy to be served in a restaurant, which was unexpected!

Cosmo serves up massive amounts of grub, the occasional star dish, and generally delivers great value for money. Most of the time, eating out is about the quality of the ingredients, and how much care has been put into preparing your meal – but sometimes, you just want to stuff your face until you can’t move.

When you’re in the mood for the latter, Cosmo is perfect.

Three and a half 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.

Edo Sushi

May 27, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Posted in Takeaway | 1 Comment
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Tucked out of sight on High Court Chambers (just next to Pizza Hut on Sheffield High Street) Edo Sushi specializes in sushi, sashimi and assorted cooked Japanese dishes to take away. Although off the main road, it draws a devoted lunchtime crowd. If you’re planning to pick up their lunchtime special ‘Edo Sushi Box,’ make sure you’re there at the start of the lunch hour. The staff make up some boxes in advance, but they always sell out fast. Thankfully, if you’re slow off the mark the helpful staff are more than happy to put together your box as you wait – you can’t get any fresher than that! Usually priced at £5.50, nab one of these boxes during your lunch break and the staff not only knock £1 off, but they throw in either a miso soup or a green tea, to boot.

As you’ve probably already guessed, it was Edo Sushi Boxes that had us shooting out of the office at 12 noon on the dot this week. Getting there early meant we plucked our boxes straight off the shelf.

For a takeout meal, Edo Sushi Boxes are smartly presented and come with pickled ginger and soy sauce on the side. The specials change on a monthly basis, but there are some familiar faces that keep cropping up. Expect to see plenty of shinko maki, a veggie sushi roll made from tangy pickled radish, and kappa maki, the cucumber-filled equivalent. Creamy avocado and salmon-filled california rolls are also a staple. The Edo Sushi Box is finished off with one larger item, usually either inari zushi, or if you’re lucky one of their mouth-watering salmon nigiris.

The staff at Edo Sushi are friendly and efficient; even if they have to knock up your lunchtime sushi fix from scratch you’ll rarely be waiting longer than ten minutes. The takeaway itself is pokey; you’ll find yourself awkwardly squeezing around other customers during the lunchtime rush, but this is all part of Edo Sushi’s charm. There’s plenty of personal touches that’ll have you warming to the place in no time, including greeting cards hand-drawn by the staff and a cheerful note telling you to put your money in their lucky cat moneybox if you want to buy a card. The eagle-eyed will also notice a painting by Sheffield’s own Wildago hanging on the wall.

But ultimately, it’s all about the sushi! Our Edo Sushi Boxes were made up of shinko maki, kappa maki, california rolls and a wedge of inari zushi. Edo Sushi do have a tendency to skimp on the fish (5 pieces of our sushi were just cucumber and pickled radish rolls) but at £4.50, this is understandable.

The inari zushi will divide opinions. Personally, the combination of sweet tofu and savoury rice wasn’t to my liking, and I ended up peeling off the batter and just eating the plain rice. But other members of the Sheffield Eats team raved about it, and the tofu was certainly perfectly cooked, forming a light skin around the rice.

While you’ll either love or hate the inari zushi, sushi lovers are guaranteed to wolf down the california rolls. Our boxes contained six helpings of california rolls, which were crammed with melt-in-the-mouth avocado and fresh, raw salmon. It’s worth shelling out on the box just for these six mouthfuls of sharp sashimi and smooth avocado alone! Delicious, and surely some of the freshest sashimi you’ll ever pluck off a shelf during your lunch break.

The meal was topped off with a complimentary miso soup. Although it may look like a murky cup-a-soup in a polystyrene cup, it’s not to be missed.

This lip-smackingly salty soup has hidden layers of seaweed and crispy spring onion, and is the perfect accompaniment to sushi.

The next time you’re craving a lunchtime sushi fix, do yourself a favour and track down this takeout sushi haven. It’s cheaper, fresher and far, far tastier than any of the prepackaged stuff you’ll find in the big stores in town.

Yama Sushi

May 13, 2012 at 7:21 pm | Posted in Restaurants | 3 Comments
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Sushi is definitely in our list of Top 10 Favourite Foodstuffs at Sheffield Eats HQ. But, pick up a box of ready-made sushi on your lunch break and you’d better have some notes in your wallet: it doesn’t come cheap! So, when we heard rumours of a sushi restaurant located on London Road that was – shock – reasonably priced, we had to find out if the legends were true.

Yama Sushi doesn’t look much from the outside, or to be fair, from the inside, either. The handful of tables are squashed together, so there’s a very real danger of bumping elbows with the person at the table next to you. Our party were shown to a table at the back of the room and we squeezed into our seats. Not a great first impression, but all that changed when we were handed the menu. Wow! This place has the most exhaustive and exotic sushi menu I’ve ever seen, and all the rumours about the prices are true.

The only thing the Yama Sushi menu lacks is a mixed sushi platter, you can only order a type of sushi by the plate full, which typically means 6 pieces. It’s worth pulling up the menu online and doing a little research before visiting, so you don’t end up ordering a big plate of something you don’t like. As there were a few members in our party, we decided to treat ourselves to a long list of different dishes, and then share the bounty between us. This works out as an inexpensive option if you’re dining in a large group, and means you get to sample types of sushi you wouldn’t normally order.

We started our meal with a selection of sashimi: salmon (£2.30) prawn (£2.50) tuna (£3.20) and scallop (£3.00) to be precise. These are served in pairs and are the perfect way for sushi lovers to take the next step and try some sashimi. The portions are extremely generous, especially the tuna sashimi, which turned out to be a thick wedge of dark tuna atop a formidable chunk of rice. Also on order were Yama Dragon Rolls (£7.90) an unusually crunchy take on sushi thanks to some delicious tempura batter.

On a roll now, we ordered some Sake and Avocado Maki (£6.00) which was layered with creamy avocado and succulent fresh salmon – quite simply the tastiest sushi I’ve ever had! This geneous eight-piece portion was polished off in no time, and we couldn’t resist ordering another plate of the stuff.

Although it’s not the first thing to jump off the menu at a sushi restaurant, Yama Sushi’s edamame beans are well worth a whirl. The bowl of steamed soy bean pods, perfectly seasoned with salt, was a surprise hit at our table.

If you’re not a sushi fanatic, Yama Sushi offers a range of cooked meals, too. The Tofu and Vegetable Udon (£6.50) is a fragrant blend of crunchy bamboo shoots, mushrooms, carrots, spring onions, tangy seaweed, miso soup noodles and some of the best tofu I’ve ever tasted. Of course, it can’t stand up to the restaurant’s sushi.

When eating out, it’s often the drinks that bump up your bill, but at Yama Sushi the staff bring you a teapot of green tea as soon as you take your seat, and are only too happy to keep topping it up with fresh leaves and hot water throughout your meal, all at absolutely no charge. They even provide traditional Hohin cups, a nice touch that really makes the meal feel authentic. If you fancy something stronger, Yama Sushi has a limited drinks menu, but they do serve red, white and rose wine at a reasonable price, I ordered a glass of rose for £3.

Yama Sushi has some stiff competition from its London Road neighbour WasabiSabi but, despite the more polished surroundings of the larger WasabiSabi, Yama Sushi’s bargain prices and the sheer freshness and tastiness of its generously-sized sushi portions, means it really is the best place to get sushi in Sheffield. If you like sushi, you really need to visit this place – go on, you deserve it!

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