Sushi Express, Sheffield

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Well, well, well, Sheffield has a new Japanese/sushi restaurant; Sushi Express. That’s five Japanese/sushi restaurants in Sheffield now, if you count Yo Sushi that is.  Not bad going eh? Certainly not if Sushi Express is a sign of things to come. It’s located on the corner of Milton Street and Fitzwilliam Street, on the ground floor of a development of flats and it’s a welcome arrival to the city centre. Prior to Sushi Express moving in, the only other sushi place we had in the centre was Sakushi.

On entering we were greeted by about 2/3 smiley waitresses. One took us past the small area displaying various Japanese foodie goodies (which are for sale), past the open kitchens and through to the dining area. The décor is mainly dominated by the huge floor to ceiling windows that wrap around three of the four sides to the premises.  Everything is clean and tidy, as expected from a new restaurant. There’s black flooring, pristine white walls, smart black tables and bright white chairs. Sounds bland and it probably would be if it wasn’t for the windows which allow for some ever changing wall art.

It was quiet when we entered at about 1.30pm and there was just one other table occupied, but the music helped create some atmosphere and it was set at the right level – it didn’t intrude on our conversations. Tables were set up with chopsticks (and we were both glad to find that they were made of wood rather than plastic – easier to eat with), napkins, a bottle of soy sauce, some salt and a tub of some rather intriguing chilli powder (which contained sesame seeds and orange peel as well as chilli).

We first perused the wine list. Wow. There’s a lot of choice here, especially if you like Japanese drinks. Just wanting something straight forward I ordered a large house white (bargain at £3.65) and he, Gav, had an apple juice. We headed straight for the lunch section of the menu as they have a fantastic lunch time deal for £4.90. You can have char sui noodles, a selection of sushi, katsu curry (chicken or pork), house special cold noodle (an oddly unappealing sounding dish of chicken, ham, egg, cucumber and ‘sponge’ served with cold noodles garnished with Japanese ginger), salmon salad or assorted skewer don. Each comes with a choice of either miso soup or a side salad. 

We both go for pork katsu curry, with miso soup. We also order some sashimi; scallop and salmon. Because we didn’t specify an order in which we wanted everything, it all turned up at once. Not a problem. We started with the curry as the sashimi wasn’t going to go cold!

Every time I have katsu curry, it’s completely different to the last and this one was the hottest I have ever had. It was as hot as an Indian curry, which is no bad thing. It was still quite fruity and had the usual chunks of potato and carrots in there. The portion of pork wasn’t huge, but this is lunch at £4.90, so it was fine. The coating was crispy, but it wasn’t as light as I have had it in the past. Its appearance suggested that it had been re-heated, but I’m not sure as the meat was still moist and tasty. There was ample sticky rice served which was good as I find it very moreish.  

Pork Katsu
The miso soup was as good as any other I have had and there are no complaints to be had, bar the fact that it was served with a spoon. It was served in drinking cups, but with a spoon and I do wonder whether these were provided because we’re not Japanese. 

To be honest the curry and the miso soup were more than enough to fill our bellies and we didn’t really need to order the sashimi, but I had wanted to see if this place was gonna be any good as a sushi restaurant, not just for a cheap lunch. 

As is often the case, the sashimi was nicely presented. The scallops came with the nice addition of some roe which added to the prettiness of the presentation, if not so much to the taste (I think it was flying fish roe as each egg was tiny – I like my roe fat and juicy!). We did have to ask for wasabi though and the soy sauce was surprisingly watery which was bizarre, but the sashimi was good. Both scallops and salmon were fresh and clean tasting, an absolute must for sashimi. The salmon was good, with ample lines of fat running through each slice. I really do enjoy salmon sashimi and easily prefer to eat salmon this way, rather than having it cooked. The scallops were too bland for Gavin, but sashimi is about the texture as well as the taste and these scallops were soft and creamy so I happily finished them off. It was at this point that I wished I had specified an order for the food to come in; I think the spiciness of the curry had killed off a few of Gav’s taste buds!

As we ate the place got busier and busier. It seems that Sushi Express is no secret to us Sheffielders as it was quite busy when we left at about 2.30pm on a Wednesday afternoon. This is good to know and I hope the restaurant can keep it up.

The bill came in at about £25 which was as expected given that we had splashed out a bit on the sashimi. Overall I was very happy and I’m pretty sure we shall return for an evening meal as well as the odd bargainous lunch. The service was attentive and friendly, the place was spotless (including the toilets), the food was good, the prices were right and the place had atmosphere. It’s likely that Wasabisabi will remain number one for me, but it seems that, as this place is a 5 minute walk from my flat, I have found my local sushi joint.  Hurrah!

Have you been searching for a decent sushi place in town?  Have you tried this one yet?  See another approving review here on the Girl Who Ate the World blog.
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