If you have a fancy for Japanese cuisine then check out this week’s Midweek Munch, where Joy Hungwe visits Sushi and Roll in Bournemouth to find out if they live up to Japanese excellence.
Edited by Natalie Whitmore
Situated on the top of Westover Rd, overlooking the gardens and peeking at the sea through the trees is the small sushi bar, ‘Sushi and Roll’. This small spot caught my radar when looking for a Japanese restaurants. Having been a fan of Japanese cuisine since 2012, when I started my first job at a Japanese restaurant, I fell in love with sushi, teriyaki and udon, and actually can cook a few dishes myself. Since then, I regularly dine on Japanese cuisine.
Japanese cuisine traditionally, is formed of staples like rice or noodles (such as soba and udon) and miso soup (made from a miso paste with tofu, spring onion and nori aka seaweed strips) as well as other side dishes, such as fish that is usually grilled or raw, i.e. sushi and vegetables that are pickled or in a broth, and fried, in a tempura batter. And of course, soy sauce, a condiment that plays a role in every meal. Now since the modernisation of Japan in the latter of the 19th Century meat-dishes are now in a common form of katsu’s, but also the Japanese have adopted foreign food such as curries, fried dumplings called gyoza’s and ramen.
Japanese sushi consists of vinegar-cooked rice served with raw seafood, vegetable sand sometimes fruits. there are four main types of sushi. These are Sashimi, Nigiri, Maki and Temaki. Sashimi is just sliced raw sushi, this is served without rice and is fish at its purest form. It is eaten with chopsticks and with a wasabi-soy sauce. Nigirizushi aka nigiri is sliced fish on a mound of rice and can be strapped with a thin strip of seaweed with some toppings. Makizushi (maki) is rolled sushi, which is served in 6-8 pieces. Temaki is a cone-shaped and is eaten fast, to stop the seaweed getting moist.
When serving sushi, one is given soy sauce with a dipping dish, and beside the sushi is usually a blob of wasabi and some pickled ginger. Wasabi is Japanese horseradish that is can be used as flavouring with sushi. When added to soy sauce it makes it more spicy, which helps with adding flavour to the dishes. The pickled ginger, gari is used as a palate cleanser between bites, so you can savour each roll and piece to its full potential. Pretty neat, don’t you think?
Given that ‘Sushi and Roll’ is just a sushi bar, a lot of expectation for a good quality fish naturally arose in me when I entered the door. Sitting in front of the window view, I ordered a small selection of dishes from a very organised and detailed menu. I ordered the Prawn Tempura, Salmon Nigiri Sushi, California maki and Tuna Temaki. As a foodie you develop certain level of expectation when eating out, such as hoping that your meal taste similar to that of your favourite restaurant, even though you are hundreds of miles away from your favourite food place. The atmosphere was a relaxed one with some oriental music played softly in the background, and a few Art décor magazines delicately placed around. The view from the window seats of Westover Rd, and some greenery of the park with glimpses of the sea, do lull you into a chilled mood.
The food arrived quickly, and first up was the Tuna Temaki. Temaki is a cone-shaped roll of seaweed which is then stuffed with rice, fish and vegetables such as avocado, cucumber, peppers and leaves, such as lettuce. Temaki is eaten with the hands rather than chopsticks, not only for ease but it’s also a whole lot cleaner. This was gone in seconds. Aesthetically it was very pleasing, however the ratio of veg to fish was disappointing- but for only £2.90 I guess it suits the price. The Prawn (Ebi) Tempura arrived next. It was presented very well and there was good distribution of batter to prawn. The quality of prawns was very good, and the batter was both light and crispy.
Next I tried the California Maki, which consists of crabstick, avocado slice, cucumber and tobiko (fish roe). I was surprised at the portion size for the maki’s. Being used to only getting half a dozen for about £9 , I was happy to receive 9 good-sized pieces for the same price! Although a little heavy on the avocado, I enjoyed the cali maki. This dish’s minimalistic presentation almost made it too good to eat, but nothing gets in-between a girl and her sushi. In my case anyway. Served on a traditional plate, you could see every component of the maki, topped with a few sprigs of cress, taste wise, it was a fiesta in the mouth. You felt the popping of the tobiko followed by the cucumber, the crab, and the avocado; while the saltness of the soy sauce from the rice and the seaweed was in every bite.
Nigiri is sliced raw fish on a ball of rice, this type of sushi can be eaten by hand or chopsticks and should be only the fish dipped in the soy sauce to avoid the rice falling apart. The salmon slice was thin but had a good width nevertheless it was fresh and tasted good. If you are a sushi virgin, nigiri is a good place to start deciding on whether sushi is for you.
Overall the meal was definitely a delicious one. I’m glad I stumbled upon this small, quaint bar, with a good array of dishes and a relaxed atmosphere. It does make a good place for a quick-lunch or dinner, and they do takeaways! Not delivered though (fingers crossed!)
“Sushi and Roll” definitely one for the books.
My quest on my foodie adventure continues!