|Full of flavour: Rainbow Maki is a perfect choice at Sushi Kei. — VNS Photos Thanh Ha
Sometimes your son's sudden cravings can lead you to a tasty discovery. Thanh Ha recounts her colourful, fish-filled meals at Sushi Kei, a new restaurant in Vincom Centre.
"Mom, I want sushi, I love sushi, all are for meeeee," my eight-year-old son yelled when we reached the fourth floor of Vincom centre and saw a large board of photos of sushi.
I had no choice but to enter the restaurant and check their menu.
A young girl in a yukata, the Japanese traditional attire, welcomed us and gave us a lowdown about Sushi Kei, which is a new franchised eatery opened in Ha Noi.
Even as I was about to turn around and leave (the high prices being the main reason), the girl handed out a discount voucher of VND100,000 (US$9) to me.
By now, my little boy, Duy Anh, was already inside the restaurant, happily ignoring his mother's every attempt to entice him out of that place.
Though small, the restaurant's interior is tastefully done, with paintings and photographs depicting Japanese symbols and culture adorning its walls.
|On a roll: A chef prepares sushi at Sushi Kei, which offers not only cuisine but also an image of Japan in Ha Noi.
Sushi Kei Restaurant
Add: Fourth floor, Vincom Centre, 191 Ba Trieu St, Ha Noi.
Tel: (04) 7303 8886
Price: Starting from VND22,000
Comment: A little expensive but great food, helpful staff and Japanese ambience.
At seven in the evening on Saturday, it was not very crowded, and that was fine by me as I'm the kind that prefers a peaceful ambience for dining.
The staff bowed and greeted us in chorus in Japanese and we were ushered to our seats. It was the first thing that made me interested in the restaurant, which has a few tables.
We chose the sushi bar, which seats about 10 people at most.
My son was now really excited as from his seat he could see how Japanese executive chef Toida Masato and Viet Nam Iron Chef Nguyen Minh Hai were preparing the dishes.
Watching them was rather mesmerising. A single sushi requires their creative touch. It seems that these men put meticulous care and artistry into each bite of sushi they make.
The staff were really great. A waitress helped us understand the menu and make selections.
The boy spent no more than a minute to order Sake Sushi (with salmon), Ebi Sushi (with shrimp), Ikageso Sushi (with squid arm), Gyuniku Tataki (with beef), Tobiko (rolls with flying fish roes) and Ikura (rolls with salmon roes). Each dish comes with two pieces, with prices ranging from VND35,000-79,000.
While our order was being prepared, the waitress got us two small plates of appetiser. I have been at Sushi Kei thrice and the appetiser tasted different each time. It can be a salad or tofu or half-dried squid, which comes in a one-bite size.
My son loved the roe preparation. After finishing the tobiko and ikura, he asked me for another round, but I advised him to try other dishes that maybe even more delicious.
We then ordered the Rainbow Maki, a plate of inside-out rolls topped with thinly sliced tuna, Japanese amberjack, shrimp, salmon and avocado.
The rolls were arranged on a long plate and were served with a kind of sauce, which I think was made from peanut and sesame. It was a wonderful combination.
We finished all eight colourful rolls in no time and wished we had more space in our bellies for another round. I think VND120,000 for this dish was reasonable. Do give it a try!
The second time I went to Sushi Kei was about two weeks later, when I saw an advertisement that said they were offering a Nigiri Sushi Set free for every table of two persons and on any order.
My little son and I arrived at the restaurant and this time chose a corner table from where we could watch all gourmets.
The set was a mix of 10 sushis and rolls, served with a bowl of miso soup and a bowl of Japanese egg custard. The sushi was so fresh and the portion pretty insane.
Looking through the menu, my son decided to have Sake Ikura Temaki, which was hand-rolled sushi stuffed with salmon roes and assorted vegetables. In his words, "it looked like an ice-cream cone".
However, our waitress misunderstood and brought us Sake Ikura Don Set, which was much more expensive (VND186,000) but really yummy!
It was a bowl of rice, salmon, foes and veggies, served with miso soup and egg custard.
As a salmon lover, my boy did not refuse anything that had his favourite item, although a double of miso and egg custard was too much at a same time.
The bowl was so large for my son that he had to work hard to finish it, but when asked if he would order that the next time we go there, he said, "Yes, because it is awesome."
On my third visit, I discovered the hot pot and it was fabulous. It's a must-try item.
The Piri Kara Miso Jitate hot pot looks incredible with chicken, shrimps, squid, three kinds of fish, kamaboko, a type of treated Japanese processed seafood product, and scallops. There were also different vegetables, tofu, and three kinds of mushrooms. A plate of udon and a pot of boiling miso soup were enough to make a dinner for three.
It is a must-try item because it is reasonably priced at VND368,000 compared to the other dishes for three.
It is a must-try item also because of its amazing aroma and fabulous ingredients that are mostly imported from Japan.
Frankly, everything here is worth trying, although I have yet to try all items on their menu, especially their grill. I'm glad that I have found a sushi spot that I can hit once a week. — VNS