She doesn’t just sell sushi!

One of the regular stalls at the St Nicks market in Bristol on Friday is SheSellsSushi and it is one of my favourite, even if I have never actually had the sushi from there…. yet!

My usual lunch order with the stall is the bento box containing a choice of two dishes from the menu. I usually go for the Donburi, which is slow cooked beef rib in a teriyaki sauce combined with some octopus (or duck) balls (takoyaki).

Donburi Beef

However Lisa, on the stall has been recently selling steamed Hirata bun, so in my bento box this time, I once more had the Donburi, but this time I went with the Hirata bun.

This was a charcoal bun (not what I initially thought was a squid ink bun) with delicious tender pork belly, sorting onions and tasty sauce.

This was a charcoal bun (not what I initially thought was a squid ink bun) with delicious tender pork belly, spring onions and tasty sauce.

The bun was light and fluffy, the pork tender, all in all great flavour. I really wanted another one. I do like the takoyaki I usually go for, but now, I will always go with the Hirata bun.

The Donburi beef was as usual delicious, the flavour is perfect, you can sometimes overdo the teriyaki, but this was well balanced and so tasty. Served with rice and spring onions.

I have spoken to others who really recommend the sushi, so I think I will have to try that next time (with a Hirata bun).

Eat beautiful?

itsu Oxford

I hadn’t heard or seen an itsu restaurant or shop before, but I was out in Oxford and found their branch on Cornmarket Street. They have been in London for a while, since 1999 according to the website.

The blurb says

The early pioneers of Pret are the creative force behind itsu.

Years of listening and reacting to customers encouraged us to build a new type of food place dedicated to skinny but delicious food; sixty two dishes- light, green and good for you.

Apparently the secret to Pink Floyd’s breathtaking music is as much about what they left out as what they put in; a bit like itsu, less fat, more bounce.

There was a lot of choice and within the different types of food on offer lots of variation. It was quite difficult to decide on what to choose.

The salads looked great, well presented, as did the sushi. The food looked fresh and inviting. The shelves were well stocked and there was a lot of choice.

itsu salad boxes in Oxford

I was tempted by a box of sushi, but as the weather outside was cold and wet, I went with the chicken and rice “potsu”. It is described as chargrilled chicken, ithai sauce, kombu relish, brown + wild rice & seven veg.

itsu Chargrilled Chicken Potsu

It was rather nice, filling and tasty. The chargrilled chicken was full of flavour, and the vegetables were fresh and had a nice crunch. The sauce was very spicy and in some ways I could see how some people might find it overpowering, but I did like it. It was nice to eat something very different for lunch, something that wasn’t a sandwich or the ubiquitous panini.

It was an interesting environment in which to eat, there were raised communal tables with high stools. It certainly is a good place to go if you are in a group, and I am sure in a place like Oxford with lots of students they are trying to attract that market. The decor and colours are best described as bright and colourful, very different from the dark and wood you find in coffee shops.

I enjoyed the food, quite liked the environment and was inspired by the menu. I will certainly go again.

Yo! more takeaway

Salmon and Tuna Box

I do like sushi and if possible I prefer to eat at Yo! Sushi, but sometimes needs must and I get a takeaway. Yes you can buy sushi from Marks and Spencers or Tesco, but this isn’t the same. For one they use smoked or cooked fish over raw fish, secondly the sushi from Yo! Sushi is much fresher and as a result much tastier.

I bought three boxes (for the two of us) and it came to £20. Obviously this is more expensive than buying takeaway from a fish and chips shop, but about the same if I was going to a Chinese takeaway.

The Mixed Box contains 3 sashimi: salmon, tuna, coriander seared tuna.3 nigiri: salmon, prawn, tamago. 2 iso: crunchy prawn & avocado, YO! roll. 2 cucumber maki

This is a nice selection and if I was eating on my own, say I wanted sushi for lunch then I probably would go for a mixed box. I enjoyed the sashimi.

The Maki box 3 salmon maki, 3 cucumber maki, 3 tuna maki,
3 avocado maki, 3 prawn & chive maki. This is simple sushi in many respects, but the simplicity is what makes it really nice.

The Meaty Box doesn’t contain fish, but has 2 crispy duck futomaki. 2 spicy chicken katsu iso. 2 seared beef nigiri. 1 spicy chicken salad. I actually was quite looking forward to it, but was a little disappointed. The spicy chicken salad was good, but in a takeaway box though there was a fair bit of chicken, but lacked enough salad for me. I thought the seared beef nigiri would be tasty, but the beef lacked flavour and was a lot tougher than I thought it was going to be. The futomaki and iso were nice, but the duck and the chicken was a little dry. Overall this box was a disappointment and I don’t think I will get it again. Maybe I should read my own blog now and again, I actually thought this was the first time I had a Meaty Box, but according to my own blog I had one in March 2012 and back then I said:

I don’t usually have meat when I have sushi, favouring the fish, so this was a first for me. I though the seared beef nigiri was interesting, but lacked the depth of flavour I was expecting. Whereas the spicy chicken katsu iso was a wonderful combination of tastes and textures. There was also a lot of flavour in the crispy duck futomaki. Though I enjoyed the spicy chicken salad I do think we needed more of it.

A very similar experience…

I want a quick lunch

When shopping in Bath recently, my wife said to me, so where are we going to go for lunch and I am hungry now! So I did decide that we would go to the French place where we had our first lunch date when we were courting… love that word so Edwardian. However she did then add she was really hungry, so when I saw the sign for Yo! Sushi I detoured, as I knew she would then be able to lift a dish straight from the conveyor belt.

So once we were sat down, she lifted a Spicy Chicken salad off the belt and we shared it and started to eat. This is a nice simple dish of cold spicy chicken on a bed of leaves and dressed with a ginger and garlic dressing.

I also ordered three more hot dishes, partly as I like them, mainly as it was cold and having some hot food is better than just cold food.

We went with one of our regular dishes, the Spicy Pepper Squid. This was cooked well, crunchy outside and soft tender squid on the inside. The chilli was hot and spicy, maybe a little too hot!

Spicy Pepper Squid

Our server recommended one of the specials, Beef & Garlic Teriyaki. This is crispy coated slices of premium beef glazed in a garlic teriyaki sauce. This was a nice dish, full of flavour. As it is one of their “yellow dish” specials it was the most expensive dish at £6. Not sure if it was value for money, but still a very nice dish.

I had, had the Chicken Firecracker Rice before, this time though I went for the Vegetable Firecracker Rice, it is cheaper and I don’t think the chicken adds anything to the dish. It is described as spicy sushi rice with Asian vegetables.

We did consider having another dish, but in the end didn’t see anything we felt like eating, which probably meant we had eaten enough.

The only complaint I had was with paying the bill, as they charged me for a water that I hadn’t had. Now, what I don’t understand, is why Yo! Sushi charge for water in the first place? Why? They say it is filtered spring water, but it comes out of a tap on the table! Anyhow they did refund me the cost of the water.

So four dishes and two drinks for £19.70 which I didn’t think was too bad.

I just like Mondays

Every Monday at Yo! Sushi is Blue Plate Monday. What this offer does, is they take fifty of their dishes, put them on blue plates and charge just £2.40 per plate. As a result you can have a nice meal and not spend too much money. There is a really wide and good choice of dishes, including traditional sushi, sashimi as well as salads and hot dishes.

My only criticism is that the conveyor belt appears to be full of sweet dishes and fruit. There was quite a limited choice of cold sushi dishes. So rather than take dishes from the conveyor belt, I decided to order some hot dishes. You can of course order cold dishes too.

I went with one of my favourite dishes the Spicy Pepper Squid. Hot coils of spicy pepper squid topped with red chilli.

Spicy Pepper Squid

I would warn you that the chilli was quite hot and if you aren’t use to that kind of heat avoid it. I do like this dish, the crunch of the coating, the softness and smoothness of the squid, combined with the heat of pepper and chilli. I did very nearly another dish of the squid.

I also had Chicken Katsu this is chicken breast covered in Japanese breadcrumbs and served with a spicy fruity katsu curry sauce.

Chicken Katsu

Sometimes I should read my own blog as I previously wrote.

The best way I can describe it is as a breaded chicken burger, fried, sliced, placed on rice and then covered in curry gravy! It wasn’t a horrible dish, but certainly wasn’t one I would order again or would recommend.

I will say this time I was in the mood for some crunchy spicy chicken, so that’s why I ordered it!

The third dish was Hairy Prawns. You get two prawns wrapped in kadaifi pastry with wasabi mayonnaise.

Hairy Prawns

This was something I hadn’t seen or tried before, also these were really quite messy to eat There was an incredible crunchy sensation as bit into the prawns, finished off with the soft prawn itself. The prawns tasted of prawns (which is not always the case) and the wasabi mayonnaise complemented the dish perfectly.

My final and fourth dish was Chicken Firecracker Rice.

Chicken Firecracker Rice

This was a nice dish of stir fried chicken and sushi rice, sticky, savoury, slightly spicy and delicious.

To drink I went with the Green Tea, which is hot and refreshing. You can also have unlimited refills.

Overall for £11.10 I thought this was very good value for money.