While funding an internship, I spent several months working at a sushi restaurant in London.
The plus side of this was that I got a lot of free sushi; the downside was it gave me a taste for high quality sushi that is often difficult to source (the stuff you get in supermarkets has not been palatable to me since.)
However, a recent trip to Sakura Bar & Teppanyaki Japanese Restaurant, in Northampton, has shown me that you don’t need to travel to the capital to taste top notch Japanese fare, although you will have to pay for the pleasure.
My trip visit started off with something else I got a taste for while waitressing...Plum Wine (Japanese Umeshu).
I can’t recommend this delicious tipple (£3.20 a glass) enough, which is both sweet and tangy and not quite comparable to any Western liqueur. We decided against starters and three of us decided to share sushi and tempura, while the other one – who doesn’t like fish – opted for the Teriyaki Chicken (£12) with steamed rice (£2).
Although he really enjoyed this dish, he ate on his own with three sets of hungry eyes staring at him, as for some reason this dish came well in advance of the other order and he had finished before our dishes came.
Perhaps the staff assumed he was sharing the sushi?
When our food did arrive it was delicious.
The vegetable tempura (£4.50) was perfectly cooked and not at all greasy, there was also a diverse selection of vegetables.
Between three, we opted for two Sushi Selections (£15 each) and the Sushi Chef Special (£20). You can ask to personalise the order or let the chef choose for you.
We opted for a couple of our own selections, including four flying fish roe and four eel in the Sushi Selection plate and four spicy tuna maki rolls and octopus in the Chef Special. I couldn’t fault the quality of the sushi, the eel in particular was incredible, and I am a big fan of flying fish roe. There was also a good selection of different types of fish.
The sea bass was another particularly fresh and tasty piece of fish.
You get eight sushis (two pieces per item) in the Sushi selection and a selection of four sushi, five sashimi and any makimono or temaki in the Chef Special.
So although the quality and flavour of this sushi was outstanding, with the amount you get, I felt the prices were pretty steep and not really different from those you would expect in London.
Two of us finished off the meal with a small flask of Sake (£4.80), a drink I can never quite make-up my mind about, it is certainly something different anyway.
Another thing that Sakura is famed for is its Teppanyaki, the unique culinary art of Japanese Cuisine, which means meals are prepared and cooked on a heated steel plate in front of diners.
Unfortunately, because none of us had ordered this, we were seated in a different part of the restaurant and didn’t get the chance to witness this.
So I will definitely visit again to try this, as I’ve heard it’s quite the spectacle.
RATINGS AT A GLANCE
SERVICE: Good (apart from the delay) DISABLED ACCESS: Yes
PARKING: Own car park
COST OF OUR MEAL
FINAL TOTAL: £123.70 for four (but included several pre-dinner drinks and bottle of wine)
Nicole’s star rating: 8/10