I’m open minded when it comes to trying new things – and sushi had been on my list for a while. I sampled a few bits when I went to Sapporo with a friend, but neither of us actually had raw fish (sashimi). I ventured to Yo! Sushi when I visited Harvey Nichols in Edinburgh. I tried a few bits and did like them, but eventually I found myself sitting with a ball of rice topped with a slice of raw salmon – one of my favourite kinds of fish – and instantly felt uneasy. I tried it and just wasn’t comfortable eating it, and I found the taste to be a bit bland. My friend is a sushi/Japanese food enthusiast (she has actually been to Japan!) and had raved about Nanakusa, so I decided I needed to try it again.
The restaurant is so cute. From the outside it looks very much like a casual bar, and although the contemporary style is carried on indoors, the classic Glasgow building has the high ceiling and Victorian mouldings. It feels like you’re in a dining room when you look to the ceiling, and as you look down it becomes more modern and oriental with the wooden panels, benches, tables and then the colours light panels on the wall that change colour. A female staff member was in full traditional Japanese dress which was gorgeous.
To start off or to accompany your main meal (as is the case with most oriental food as they serve it when it’s ready unless you specify otherwise) I opted for something familiar: Ebi Katsu. Simply put, these are prawns in panko breadcrumbs served with a sweet chilli dip. Lovely.
People at my table ordered various items – many I’d tried before at Wagamamas – but I opted for something brand new: a bento box. The Japanese are very clever. Bento boxes are a genius idea!
They are usually sold in boxes (so I’m told) but mine was like a cafeteria tray like I used to get in primary school. Each section housed a sample of food so I effectively had a little buffet!
As part of this, but separate from the tray, is a bowl of miso soup. I always say I love miso soup, but I’ve only ever tried my own or one served as part of a bowl of noodles. This one wasn’t to my taste – it contained spring onions and tofu – so I’m not sure if I’m used to other flavours (meat) taking over. I did eat it and it wasn’t bad, but its not to my taste and I wouldn’t order plain miso soup again.
This was absolutely beautiful – my mixed tempura. I had prawn, aubergine, sweet potato and the last piece I’m not actually sure about – I would hazard a guess by saying parsnip. The vegetables were lovely and soft and coated in the crispy golden batter. I really enjoyed dipping them in the chilli sauce, teriyaki sauce and I tried out some wasabi.
Sashimi topped sushi – tuna, salmon and I’m not sure of the white fish. I’m sad to report that I couldn’t muster up the courage to try them. I’ve tried a salmon one before and I’m going to just admit that they’re not for me!
Pictured is a chef’s selection of nigiri sushi topped with fish roe. I believe they are called California rolls – crab, avocado and cucumber. These were really nice, although my common fault with sushi is that I find it a bit bland. I did like these and if I hadn’t filled myself with everything else I’d have finished them!
This was the best part, so I saved it for last. Teriyaki chicken. Oh my. It was delightful – tender strips of chicken in a sweet and sticky glaze, topped with sesame seeds. Absolutely gorgeous. Next time I’m going to order the full portion of this!
After reading this you might be confused – do I recommend Nanakusa or not? I definitely do. I ordered the Bento box to let myself sample a few different items to experiment with dishes I haven’t tried, some I liked and some I didn’t. I had a taste of my friends food (octopus balls) (snigger) and it was amazing, and many of the other dishes looked amazing too.
The service in here is top notch – very friendly and attentive staff. The Bento boxes took a little longer than the rest to organise and the waiter was pacing waiting on it and reassured us it was on the way – they really care about their service. The food is very reasonably priced and the quality isn’t compromised. I’m definitely going to go back! Udon noodles are calling me!
Nanakusa Japanese Grill Restaurant,
441 Sauchiehall Street,
(0141) 332 6303