I‘d gone to visit Nick just before he flew back and on a whim I suggested renting a car to make a trip down to IKEA. I’d wanted to check out some furniture for the new place. We arrived before lunchtime and I was hungry. To our chagrin, Nando’s and all the other restaurants hadn’t opened yet and our only choice was the IKEA cafeteria. After spending £7 each for a highly unsatisfying lunch (remind me never to eat at IKEA again), we spent the better part of the day in the massive warehouse/showroom of IKEA.
For dinner, we were determined to eat something better and I thought of Ebi Sushi in Derby. I’d been there twice before, the first time was when I was still in Nottingham. I’d gone there with a couple of friends after reading great reviews about the place. Even the Daily Mail has written about it!
The bus there took 45 minutes. Thinking back, I guess we were just too free as students. I don’t think I want to spend 1.5h on a bus just to get there now. Fortunately though, the food did not disappointed. Although the prices were much higher than what we were comfortable with, you know you’re in a legit Japanese restaurant when the sushi chef is an old Japanese man with Japanese regular customers.
So on this occasion when we were thinking of where to go for dinner, Ebi Sushi sprang to mind again. Nick hadn’t tried it before but he didn’t need much convincing once he heard that it was authentic Japanese food. Did I mention we love Japanese food? (Read my review of Sakana Sushi in Algate East, London here.)
They give you a free starter which varies daily. Previously I’ve had maguro (tuna) stewed in a sweet sauce which was simply divine. On this occasion, however, we were served a humbler stewed nasu (eggplant).
Don’t be fooled by its uninspiring appearance though, because it tasted really good! Even the usually vegetable-averse Nick took to it after some initial reservations at it being a vegetable.
We ordered the cheapest sushi platter which was £25.
While it goes without saying that the raw fish is amazingly fresh, the most surprising part for me is their nori. We’ve all had sushi wrapped in nori before but somehow, their nori had an extra dimension to it. It’s hard to explain, but I could literally taste the sea in that nori and it was the most amazing bit of seaweed I have ever had.
But my favourite is still the ikura (salmon roe). Little unctuous balls that burst as you bite into it. I’m salivating already. Plus, it’s high in Omega 3! A close second is the otoro (tuna belly), just below the ikura in the picture below. It’s a little blur but you can just make out the beautiful marbling of the flesh which melts in your mouth.
And now for the cooked food. The tonkatsu was delicious and cost about £8 from memory. It was fried to perfection, crispy breeding on the outside and juicy pork on the inside. Adorn it with a squeeze of lemon and a basting of tonkatsu sauce and you’re in heaven.
And then the fried chicken. Juicy pieces of chicken thigh breaded and deep fried. I love how the juices of the meat seep out as you bite into it, just like a xiao long bao.
I preferred this to the tonkatsu, though Nick preferred the tonkatsu. But what’s new? We are always complete opposites!
The total bill came up to about £50, which is much more than what we usually spend eating out. But it we thought it was well worth it. I definitely recommend making reservations to avoid disappointment. They are a small outfit and can get pretty packed!