Sushi is finally in Calcutta.
Of course, there are a couple of restaurants that did serve sushi, outside the five star ambits. I’m told they sold a couple of sushi dishes among a larger menu of assorted South East Asian and Chinese dishes. So when we heard of The Sushi Oke, we got excited about having a real Japanese place in town.
We heard that the place had opened near the back gate of St. Xavier’s College, on Short Street. On our way back from Saturday Club, we tried to locate it. We even tried Google maps but to no avail. According to the map, it was inside a dilapidated old building opposite a well-known wedding hall.
It was my wife’s birthday. She had gone swimming and for myriad of reasons, we were both feeling blue. After swimming, we walked down the lane leading to Xaviers’ back gate.
Suddenly my wife located the place. A little subdued front stood shaded by a large tree. A clear glass door showed low seating with faux tatami mats and white chopsticks.
We walked in to the cool embrace of the air conditioning. The place was completely empty and we could choose our seats.
One section had a bar style seating though not facing a sushi making station but the wall.
Karan, the smiling owner and part time sushi chef came out and made us feel very welcome. We went through the menu and were relieved to see no sashimi. It would be tough to trust raw fish in this climate. And I am not willing to pay through my nose for frozen fish flown in from far away lands. Karan also told us that tuna wasn’t available, as he did not get good tuna.
Chalked up a mental point in his favour. We ordered one plate of prawn nigiri and one plate of fish tempura roll.
Prawns were plump and fresh. Rice was soft and vinegary. All in all, good. The fish tempura roll had a nice nori wrapping. But the fish was almost non-existent. Again, the crisp cucumber and the vinegary rice shone through.
Not that we sampled a great section of the menu, but by what we ate, we will definitely go back for a bigger meal. And I definitely want to extend a warm welcome to The Sushi Oke to the slightly tired food scene of Calcutta. May this be the breath of fresh miso that we so need.