Monday, 25 April 2016

Local Eat Treats #32 A Japanese Experience at Kibou Sushi

Kibou Sushi has been on the scene a little while now in Cheltenham but I’ve never eaten there myself as I’m not a seafood fan. That’s an understatement actually, I don’t eat seafood at all, other than plain old white fish – usually battered and served with chips.

It was after reading Lucienne’s blog post here, that I came to realise Kibou Sushi offer much more than seafood based food; so I booked us in for a Friday evening to welcome in the weekend.

If you haven’t been there already, it’s a wee place on Regent Street, seating just a lucky few (it seems the others all order it in via Deliveroo – it was definitely a popular choice for a take-out the night we dined!).

What with the new light evenings, we made the most of the last hour or so of daylight by sitting right in the window and watched as people came and went. We took quite some time to choose what we wanted (as we haven’t done Japanese food or sushi properly before), so whilst we pored over the menu we ordered some drinks. I tried the Iced Plum Wine, which is like a dessert wine but even easier to drink, and Kingsley had a Kirin beer.

We really didn’t have a clue about what we should order, or even, what lots of the dishes were, but we kept asking questions and the serving staff were ever so helpful and friendly, and finally…we made up our minds.

I had Pork Gyozas to start which are pan-fried dumplings filled with pork (of course) and served with a dipping sauce. I have always loved dumplings so it was an easy choice for me; I loved that they tasted so light, and despite being pan-fried, not fatty in the least. Kingsley went all out with the seafood seeing as we never really have it at home and chose Takoyaki which are basically balls of battered octopus. The batter is something else, it is so soft, light and fluffy on the inside, crispy on the outside, and the balls come served with a yummy mayonnaise type sauce.

Our waiter highly recommended the Tempura Volcano Roll from the specials board. This is sushi (with salmon and avocado) which then gets tempura’d. Kingsley was in heaven! He loved the crispy tempura coating and the sticky sauce – he didn’t even describe it as ‘nice’ which is his usual helpful word for me when I’m writing my blog posts. He actually said it was one of the best tasting meals he’d ever had. I had a mouthful to test for myself – minus the salmon – and it was pretty good to be fair, to echo what Kingsley said, it was the sticky sauce that did it for me.

I ordered Japanese Katsu Chicken Curry which is served with rice. For those that haven’t come across katsu chicken before, it’s breaded and deep-fried and cut into strips. I’ve had this dish at another restaurant in the past but I was really underwhelmed by it. It just felt so boring and like there wasn’t enough variation of food (and colour) on the plate. Thankfully, this one blew the previous one out the water. First of all, it was enough for two! The chicken was tender and moist, and the curry sauce was just how I like it, it had substance (a thick and flavoursome sauce always gets my vote over a thin, runny one). And much to my delight it was served on a bed of salad (so they ticked the box for colour on the plate too). Even the sticky rice was bloody lovely, so even though it could have fed two – I just ate it all to myself, because weekends were made for over-indulgence. What that did mean however, is that we had absolutely no room for puds, even after waiting a good while for our food to go down!

We will definitely be returning to Kibou Sushi and now that I know they do lots of different types of sushi (lots without seafood too), I’m very tempted to give it a try. What I know for sure, is that my meal will be washed down with a glass of iced plum wine!

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