Since moving away from London, one of very few downsides of the move has been the lack of good quality Japanese food near where we live. So whenever we get the chance of going further afield, Japanese food is high on the priority list. On a recent Sunday trip to Bristol, we visited Noa Sushi Restaurant, located in bustling Clifton Village.
With a super wide frontage along Waterloo Street, the restaurant space inside is a few steps lower than street level, so the large windows are far above table height. It feels rather cosy and is quite casual and simply decorated.
As I was celebrating my birthday, I ordered the sake taster set. My lunch companions stuck to more traditional tea.
Between three of us we ordered an excess of small plates from the main menu to start (I regret nothing!) followed by mains from the Noa’s competitively priced lunch menu.
The portion of Wakame Salad (£4.30) was surprisingly generous, and absolutely delicious with the marvellous silky soft-crunchy texture of the seaweed lifted by a refreshing sushi-vinegar dressing.
Yuzu Nasu Miso (£5.50) was a great example of nasu dengaku – aubergine grilled with a miso sauce over it – but I didn’t pick up the yuzu. We loved it anyway.
I can never resist Agedashi Tofu (£4.40) so this was a must-order. The fried cubes of tofu had an extra crunch from what I would guess were either drops of tempura batter or crumbs of panko adhered to the top before dropping into the hot oil. Fabulous!
Prawn Tempura (£6.10) consisted of four large prawns in a superbly light tempura batter with lots of gnarly bumps and ridges, for added crunch.
Chicken Gyoza (£5.50) were steamed and fried in the pan, with the crunch on the bottom coming from that contact with the hot pan. The chicken and chives filling was moist and well flavoured.
When it came to mains, Pete gave a huge thumbs up to his Chicken Katsu Curry (£10.50 from the lunch menu), garnished came with our favourite Japanese pickles. The chicken was moist inside with a crunchy coating and just the right ratio of katsu to rice to curry sauce.
Matt and I ordered Chirashi Don (£11.80 from the lunch menu) and were delighted with the generosity of mixed sashimi over rice. All of it was superb in flavour and texture, but can I draw special attention to that sashimi scallop with a few sesame seeds sprinkled over? Just perfect!
For a lunch time visit, we could certainly have ordered far less and still been satisfied, but our feast was wonderful, and we felt the meal was great value at £33 each, including drinks.
It would be hard to resist ordering virtually of these dishes again, but there’s also plenty more on Noa’s menus that I want to try, so a return visit is on the cards soon!