Sushi is fast becoming my favourite food right now, but it wasn’t until I visited a real sushi restaurant on Friday that I learn’t just how unfamiliar I was with this Japanese cuisine.
Yes, I have enjoyed many a supermarket sushi box, but for many, that’s not considered ‘real sushi’. That’s why when I booked a table at Sushi Nara in Guildford, I decided I would act like a complete beginner again. I relied on our waitress to point me in the right direction, which she was more than happy to do. Between her, my partner and myself, who didn’t know the difference between sashimi and nigiri before now, we managed to come to a pretty good decision.
Nara Bento Box
This box is a perfect starting point for any sushi rookie. It came with a selection of items from the menu so you could try a bit of everything and work out what you liked and what you didn’t. It was very filling for two and was easily split. It includes three pieces of sashimi (slices of raw salmon and tuna), six nigiri (raw seafood served on rice), six ura-maki (both tuna and salmon served with avocado), a selection of tempura, salad and your favourite sushi extras: wasabi, ginger and soy sauce. There was also a miso soup to begin but we weren’t really fans on this.
The box was really exciting, with each type divided up into sections that you could pick and choose from. Even the salad and tempura were a delight and I was a particular fan of the nigiri. The sashimi was very new to me and it did feel strange to take a bite out of a chunk of plain raw fish but the biggest surprise to me was that I didn’t retch at the tuna (my least favourite food in the world). Sushi tuna is not the same as canned or steak, both of which do not go down well with me. It’s still not my favourite, but at least now there is a form of tuna I can stomach…raw tuna.
My face lit up when I read the word ‘magma’ on the menu. Have I found a spicy sushi treat?
We ordered it as an extra with the bento box and we got four salmon rolls. These were served with a special Japanese spicy mayonnaise-like sauce, flying fish roe, spring onion and avocado. Absolutely amazing. They have a bit of kick to them but they were unlike anything I have tried before and I could easily have polished off several more. If you like sushi and spice, this is the dish to try.
I was full after these dishes but my partner wanted one last one to finish, so we asked the waitress to suggest one. She recommend the Nara roll as it included the sauce from the magma roll, which we had mentioned we liked.
This was salmon and avocado on top of a spicy tempura crumb roll, with the sauce served on the side. It was a fantastic choice with so many different flavours and textures. The crunchiness of the tempura, the smoothness of the avocado and salmon, and the tang of the spicy sauce. The perfect way to end.
If you’re worried sushi won’t fill you up, this certainly did. Like all sushi, it is pricey meal out but something that would definitely make a special occasion all the more special.