Sashimi is everything a great Japanese restaurant should be. Dave Lee welcomes it – and its conveyor belt – to Hull’s thriving foodie scene.
There has been no shortage of restaurants opening in and around Hull over the past couple of years. The need to feed those visiting for the City of Culture malarkey led to something of an explosion in culinary options and many cuisines that had never been seen in the city – or were simply underrepresented – suddenly appeared.
Throughout, though, I kept my fingers crossed that a decent sushi bar would appear. There is already a sushi takeaway and a couple of long-standing restaurants that have insubstantial sushi offerings, but Ogino in Beverley serves the only really good sushi in the East Riding. Excellent as Ogino is, though, it’s a posh restaurant, not a pop-in-for-lunch-to-assuage-your-cravings affair.
Now, though, Sashimi has arrived and it’s the closest you can get to a proper sushi bar without a trip beyond the Wolds. It has a full range of sashimi, nigiri, maki, uramaki and various rolls as well as udon and ramen dishes and a handful of stir fries and curries. Plenty to keep strict sushi (and more westernised sushi) fans happy for yonks. And, best of all, they have one of those conveyor belts with dishes going round so you can help yourself. I love those, even if they do result in my bill being three times more than I intend.
Sashimi, it has to be said, doesn’t present itself to the public particularly well. The website is little more than a Just Eat-type page and, even when you arrive, the outside (in the student area on Cottingham Road) looks a little like a large takeaway.
Once you’re inside, though, the surroundings are perfectly pleasant and the staff even more so. There are tables should you want to order off the menu, a bar with stools if you want to select dishes off the conveyor or booths if you want to do a bit of both.
Owners are husband and wife Sammi and Ken Su and, while they have been involved in a couple of takeaway operations in Hull, this is their first stab at running their own restaurant. Sammi runs front of house while Ken is chef and it is he you can see beavering away in the open kitchen, occasionally dropping a little dish of fresh made sushi on the conveyor belt. Depending on the colour of the dish, you’ll pay between £1.70 and £2.50 and you get a couple of pieces of sushi or a mound of edamame beans or whatever specials Ken decides to send along the belt.
There are the usual tuna, salmon and prawn alternatives among the various options but, for those a little squeamish about raw fish, there are also plenty of chicken, veg and even cheese options. In fact, my particular favourites amongst those I tried were fish-free; uramaki crispy chicken contains chicken, cucumber, avocado, spicy mayo and unagi sauce and comes topped with a little heap of crispy fried onion. Wakame roll has all the same ingredients (minus the chicken) and comes covered in genuine Japanese seaweed.
A more financially attractive way to eat the sushi is to order a six-piece roll for five or six quid. The same price will get you a plate of gyoza, either chicken or pork or prawn, and they’re as good a dumpling as I’ve ever had.
Elsewhere on the menu, a pork ramen shoyu soup will cost you £7.60 for a portion that would probably be enough to constitute an entire meal for some, the chicken Katsu curry (£7.90) is fairly standard fare but perfectly good and the teriyaki spare ribs (£5.20) are an excellent way of ensuring you’re not just eating healthy stuff.
Should you not have been completely sated by everything whizzing round the conveyor, there are a handful of desserts available but they primarily consist of various ice creams. Quite frankly, for a sweet treat at the end of your meal, you’d be better off investing in some of the excellent plum wine on offer.
Aside from the uninspiring way Sashimi present themselves online, the only other criticism I have is that the menu and ordering system can be a little confusing. One menu is for writing your order on while with the other, a member of staff takes your order. I ended up ordering something I thought was something else and not ordering something else I thought I had. I still don’t know if I got it wrong or they did. There are also duplications between the two menus and it takes some head-scratching to navigate it all, but this is Sammi and Ken’s first foray into restauranteering and theses are issues that they will soon iron out, I’m sure. It might even be the way it’s done in Japan and it’s me that needs proper training.
I’ve been to Sashimi twice now and I’m becoming a little addicted. They may not have satisfied my desire for lunchtime sushi (they don’t open til 4.30pm) but I finally have my cracking little Hull sushi bar.
I just need them to extend the conveyor belt all the way to my house and all will be well with the world.
Sashimi, 14-16 Cottingham Road, Hull HU6 7RA. 01482 445030. Open daily, 4.30pm to 10pm. hullsashimi.com