Fresh, filling sushi at Hokkaido

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At night, Norwood in Johannesburg transforms from a quiet, unassuming neighbourhood to one that’s pumping with trendy eateries that you’ll pay an arm and a leg to eat at. Nestled at the top of Grant Avenue, Hokkaido is definitely not one of these places. Don’t be put off by the cheap-looking sign or the management who can barely speak English. Let me tell you why I say this.

One of Hokkaido’s claims to fame is their all-you-can-eat special: for R140 – or thereabouts – you can have all the sushi you want plus a limited number of pieces of sashimi. The huge plus side is that when you order they will make your desired selection fresh – there is no picking off from a conveyer belt where food poisoning is almost guaranteed.

My husband and I always go for variations on salmon sushi, e.g. california rolls, fashion sandwiches and maki. I’ve recently taken to ordering the crispy salmon skin done in fashion sandwiches – for me the crispness of the salmon skin is offset perfectly by the softness of the rice. And it probably sounds silly, but I adore taking a bite out of the piece of sandwich imaging that I am eating one of their cucumber brethren!

Hokkaido has recently started making dumplings – when we went there last we tried a portion of their chicken as well as a potato concoction of sorts. I must admit: for me dumplings have to be light and fluffy – and these didn’t cut it as the potato ones were stodgy while the chicken one was crispy rather than soft.

If you are a lover of fine wine, I would suggest that you bring your own – Hokkaido doesn’t have a very good selection. They are very happy for you to bring your own and the corkage comes in at R30 per bottle.

In terms of desserts, the famous Chinese delicacy – the bowtie – always is delcious as is the jasmine tea. If you feel like a cup of coffee to end off your meal, rather go for a filter coffee or an espresso – the cappuccinos are not great.

For five people you’re looking at shelling out about R900 – and that’s if you eat your fill.

Hokkaido also has a branch in Greenside, Johannesburg, but it doesn’t have the character of the Norwood shop. Don’t be fooled if the restaurant is empty – that’s just because people don’t know about it yet…