IT’S not until I guide the food tray safely through the sea of students, up into a clear berth on the windowside counter and we both hop onto our stools that my chum Greggo reveals it. Yeah, man, I’m semi-vegan now, he says. Or full fat veggie, or skinny pescatarian, or double-decaff fruitarian fresh-airian, I forget exactly which.
Well, we are talking about a man who has just bought a VW microbus thing but doesn’t like to use it because it runs on diesel-man but it’s still shock News to me. Especially as I have just been swept on a tide of those lunchtime students through Yippon Sushi’s cold counters, hot counters and smiley serving people grabbing absolutely everything interesting I could, like a fat man on a conveyor belt.
Meaning that, just for starters, squeezed onto the slim counter between me and the window are two huge eight-piece racks of sushi, curious little saucey blobs splattered here and there, with crispy fried onions tumbling down their sides. Seafood, Greggo? I say pointing at them. Nah man. Chicken then (hey, you never know) looking now at the very big polysterene bowl holding crispy breaded and sliced chicken, green leaves melting gently atop it, some sort of Asian broth lapping gently at the noodles.
Uh-uh, that’s not a vegetable stir-fry is it, I ask looking at the tub I suddenly realise he has ordered for himself.
Uh-oh, I feel a deep groan coming on. It’s not that I am anti-vegeterianism or any of its shades. Actually, I would love to be a vegetarian. It’s just that living under a giant cloud, on the edge of a peat bog, where the sun never shines and the local vegetables are either at the robust end of the spectrum or only available during the short break at the end of the rainy season, well, it’s hard to be a Christian Soldier isn’t it?
Anyway, what does all this mean? It means I eat everything. Alone. At lunchtime. Wondering whether I can bribe any of these young thrusters around us to carry his chubbiness here back to the office on my sedan chair when it’s all over.
It’s not that I don’t try and hold back. A nibble here, a little taste there. Those crispy, plump chicken gyozo plucked one at a time from the waxed paper bag they are served in. All gone.
The 21st century sushi – and I still have absolutely no idea what’s in them – are a world away from the monastic dreariness of the usual types found in, say, Marks and Sparks being fully sauced and seasoned and literally crumbled with crispy onions. Every single slippery, crunchy, surprisingly tasty one of them goes, and it’s eight for a fiver in here.
Then it’s the chicken katsu curry at £6.50 which manages to be better than usual simply by having a fair old belt of flavour to the sauce. The next thing I know a serving lady is beside me asking me if I am ready for my pretty and sweet.
This is actually the soft-serve ice cream I only ordered earlier because of that crazy name and am now discovering comes in matcha flavour with mochi bites (no idea) condensed milk (why) and rose petals (uh) at £3.30.
I would love to say this is the taste sensation of the day. Frankly, I don’t have the cultural background to appreciate it and am swamped by bitter flavours. Next time I’ll try the coconut charcoal (maybe).
You may have noticed that I mentioned students earlier, and there are loads of them in here. A sure sign that it’s good value.
I’d like to tell you a bit more about Nippon Sushi, where the food comes from, where the restaurant originated, that it’s not a sinister culinary data-mining operation by Facebook for the Russians. But I couldn’t find any useful info. Not even on the web.
So let’s just say it’s good.
Menu: Left-field sushi, pan-Asian dishes, wacky soft-serve ice-creams – somehow manages to feel attractively different. 4/5
Atmosphere: Shiny modern minimalist pan Asian feel, but not in the usual-nowadays pastiche style. Kinda cool. 4/5
Service: It’s a fast-flowing self-serve with blink-and-you’ll miss them dishes – staff friendly even while busy 4/5
Price: Very good value and large portions. Chicken gyoza £2.10, stir-fry under a fiver, ice-cream just over £3. 5/5
Food: I liked the gyoza and those sushi were great. Even the katsu curry was worth a try. 7/10
Source : HeraldScotland