Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Sushi at Kyoto Garden

For this week's date night, we went in search of sushi. The craving had spoken and we were determined not to fall into our old comfortable routine of reliably delicious sushi at the Waterfront's Willoughby's or hole-in-the-wall Minatos and to try something new. It was a challenge to think of somewhere that was a dress-up, date-night venue, but that didn't have the price tag of Nobu or the dusty reputation of Tank. Kyoto Gardens in Tamboerskloof (around the corner from Rafiki's and opposite Miller's Thumb) is somewhere we'd wanted to try for a while.

I'd read in comments on JP Roussouw's site, that the service was slow and indifferent, but, thankfully, that's not what we experienced. The waiter was efficient and the food came quickly (we'll overlook that the restaurant was quite quiet!). The cocktails were delicious, fresh and well balanced – a must! The main courses were exotic (and expensive), but we were there for the sushi. To start, we ordered the paper-thin "Tempura Light", which had been recommended. We went for the prawn and scallop tempura (only one of each so not ideal for sharing!), with melt-in-your-mouth aubergine, broccoli and sweet potato tempura, and the mushroom and seaweed salad with a perfect, fresh wasabi-soy sauce accompaniment.

Following more recommendations, we ordered the red salmon sashimi, which was little more textured than Norwegian, and yellow-fin tuna (they were all out of the big-eye tuna we were after and we certainly weren't ordering the blue fin – tsk tsk!) sashimi, Alaskan crab sushi and eel sushi. The waiter grated real wasabi root, which was sharp and hot and far more tasty than the horse-radish-like lurid green wasabi on offer. The soy sauce itself was delicious – obviously different to the watery, salty liquid at some sushi restaurants – and the waiter explained that it was full-flavour, high-soy content Kikkoman Soy Sauce. Good to know!

The strange owner, mentioned in most reviews and comments, was around, but only in the background, delivering packets of what looked like wine and produce from his double-parked car. This disorganisation may explain why two of the white wines we ordered weren't available, but we were graciously given two glasses of decidedly-average white wine on the house for the inconvenience.

Desserts sounded delicate and light, but our meal was concluded with warm saki, though we overheard a couple next to us raving about the green tea ice cream.

With expertly-presented quality ingredients, expect an adventurous, exotic menu and prices to match your carbon footprint ~ Kyoto Garden Sushi, Tamboerskloof, 021 422 2001

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