Mount Fuji, in Cardiff’s St David’s 2 Shopping Centre, is a family-run Japanese restaurant specialising in bento boxes, ramen (Japanese noodle soup), udon noodles, donburi (rice bowls), katsu, curry rice and a range of sides. The food is good and the vibe reminiscent of the many casual places like this we enjoy visiting in Japan.
The interior is plain and simple, very much like the many small and casual, family-owned places we love visiting in Japan. There are booths and regular tables; be warned that the booths are a pretty squeeze for larger folks.
Drinks wise, there are soft options (including ramune and calpis), teas, and a range of alcohol such as beer, sake and plum wine.
We like to order a range of the side dishes and enjoy as a shared meal.
Chicken Gyoza (£4.55), filled with minced chicken and vegetables, and fried until crisp, are served with a chilli soy dip. They are the perfect combination of crisp and soft, and so tasty that it’s always hard not to order a second portion!
Tempura Mix (£6.95) includes two tempura prawns, white fish and a selection of vegetables. The batter is light and crisp without being greasy, and the contents cooked well – neither over nor under.
Chicken Karaage (£5.25) is decent, though I would prefer the juiciness of thight meat to breast. I would also love some kewpie mayo for dipping. It’s good as it is though, and the coating is always crisp.
Fried Tofu (£4.95) aka agedashi tofu, is one of my happy places! Three hefty chunks of wobbly fresh tofu deep fried and served in a savoury dipping sauce, I could eat nothing but this every day for a week and not yet bored! Traditionally, tofu is dusted in potato starch rather than wheat flour before frying (and the texture suggests that is the case here) but do check if you are seeking gluten free dishes, as it’s not specified on the menu.
When ordering Tofu Salad (£5.85) we are offered a choice of dressings (sesame, yuzu or wasabi) and choose yuzu. The slippery fresh tofu is wonderful with the very simple mixed salad.
We choose a mixed Sushi Platter (£14.95), but ask to swap the prawn topped ngiri for extra egg topped ones. The sushi is decent, and not served too cold, which I really appreciate – it makes such a difference to the rice. The sushi menu isn’t extensive but you can order individually from a short list instead of a platter, if you prefer.
Service is always efficient, with a quiet friendliness that is very Japanese (rather than the exhuberance of American-style service, for example). The shopping centre setting may not be the most elegant, but it’s very much in keeping with the kind of restaurants we ate in so often in Japan.
Mount Fuji has a sister restaurant of the same name located in Birmingham’s Bullring Shopping Centre.