YOU TAKE A WALK ON BLEAK STREET
TONIGHT COULD BE THE NIGHT YOU CRASH
The night loomed ahead like an unfilled tax return. All I had to keep me company was a copy of the Money Observer with this year’s ISA Best-Buys (which is about as interesting reading as The Observer itself i.e. not very). The fridge yielded up HS’s vast supply of Actimel and several bottles of the weird aguardimente I am so fond of. So dining out it was…at the appropiately, though rather weirdly, named Dinings.
There's a lot in common between the Japanese and the Spanish – the obsessive love of fresh fish, deep-fried food and a fondness for a smoke, a drink and a sing-song - so when I looked at the menu of this newly opened restauant and saw a selection of cold and hot tapas on the specials list it sort of made sense.
The place is pretty small with a sushi bar upstairs and a not much larger bunker-like dining room in the basement. Deciding that watching the Sushi chef would be preferable to staring at a concrete wall or the numerous visiting gaijinn (that'll be me then) I took a seat at the bar.
A warning for those of a nervous disposition. When you enter all the staff will look at you and shout. They did it to everyone else too but you may be tempted to run away. Which would be a shame because the food is rather good. The chef is from Nobu and the Sushi bar has an appropriately serious bloke with a razor sharp knife dishing up the Sushi, rolls, salads etc. From the former I got some Beef Tataki made with Wagyu. Small pieces of buttery, rich, beef with a perky little spring onion salad and a dip. Pigeon had been roasted rare and left to rest so that all the bloody juices made a little sauce. A deep-fried seafood hamaki (a sort of superior spring roll stuffed with crab and shiso) showed the deep-frying skills of the kitchen. Teriyaki Chicken and Quail dishes which I saw going out also looked pretty good.
From the man with the very sharp knife (who I shall now call sir) a sashimi plate of Otoro, Unagi (Eel) and Snow Crab, a salad of sabre-fish (a new one on me) which looks quite vicious in it’s whole state but tastes quite delicious when cut up into little cubes and topped with scallions. So good in fact I had it again with some more sashimi of Otoro (again) and razor clams. There was also a salad of octopus which took me back to a DH visit to Northern Spain. The octopus, very tender and creamy matched well with a fresh tasting cress salad. In fact everything was so fresh and clean tasting it made me feel positively healthy although the two flasks of hot Uragasumi Junmai may have balanced things up a tad.
I don’t think I’ve ever had pudding in a Japanese restaurant before so I was more than happy with my Black Sesame Crème Caramel especially as I discovered a blob of ice-cream under it’s tan surface.
I rarely go for a Japanese without friends or at least HS to hold my hand and guide me through the meal, but this time I managed all by myself. There’s life in the old dog yet. Woof.