Well, it was the fifth, and final (of this seasons) Bimbling Foodies. And we’re all feeling very multi-cultural. Well, I am.
This month saw us heading off for Chanias choice: A tiny Japanese restaurant nestled in the centre of Tunbridge Wells, between car parks and houses, a hidden gem, secreted, oyster-like, in plain sight. I have personally never had sushi, I had only ever encountered rice balls, as I’m not a big fish eater. But I was pleasantly surprised: Sushi is no longer just tiny bits of raw fish wrapped in seaweed and drizzled with the edible equivalent of nitroglycerin, it has thrown off its cloak of subtlety and revealed its adaptability, pleasantry and rich palette of flavours for uncultured swine, such as myself!
Cara eats sushi quite a lot, and knows my horrible reactions to spice (it bounces the minute it hits my stomach) she kindly pointed out ‘safe’ food for me. The only complaint I would have is that despite me doing my best to learn about other cultures and foods, sushi has always kind of passed me by, I guess it’s the fish, so the menu was a little confusing for me. But I must admit to mine-sweeping the rest of the teams’ plates to have a try of everything. And I’m so glad I did!
We had the traditional small, but incredibly filling, dishes, of as wide a range as possible. Everything from tempura (lightly battered and deep-fried seafood, I learned today!), rice, sushi rolls (of all kinds), miso, noodle dishes and everything in between. I had tiny parcels of vegetables with little touches of chicken, I was so impressed by them, I had two servings!
Our waiter for the evening was polite, kind, seemed happy in his work and very patient with us and our indecision. He also didn’t wince at my terrible pronunciation of everything either, so points for that! Our food arrived promptly, but without haste, beautifully served on the traditional sushi dishes of small, elegant, tasteful bowls and plates, with forks easy to hand for those not too comfortable with chopsticks. Thankfully, I was able to do a little showing off as my Aunt, of Mandarin descent, taught me how to use chopsticks efficiently and impressively!
Finally coming to the end of our meal, we were still surprised that despite how tiny the plates are, in comparison to our massive western dishes, we were happily full, and a little sad that we couldn’t finish what little we had left. When it came to working out the bill I was expecting some huge bill of gargantuan proportions, as all oriental restaurants tend to have. Again, happily surprised with a bill of less than £105 for the five of us, eating at least three dishes each, with drinks and with a corkage fee. Sadly, or happily, this place doesn’t sell alcohol, so you are allowed to take your own booze with you, but they charge you £2 corkage fee. Which, I felt, is quite acceptable, considering they could just say “no booze”.
So, all round success for this place, but will it be our winner? Stay hooked (ha, hooked, like fish! Ahem) for the next episode of Bimbling Foodies, which will show our decided all-out winner, and reveal the lucky restaurants name!