If the foodies that read this remember, I took my roommates to a new Hotpot restaurant last month, and they enjoyed it well enough. However, one really wanted to try sushi, so we promised to try out its original restaurant this month. Tonight we finally got round to it, and hit up Oryza Sushi for raw fish.
First off, it turned out to be less of a restaurant and more of a sushi bar. It only had one table (good thing I reserved) and seats along the counter. However, unlike the previous restaurant, Orzya Sushi had been around for about 4 years, so the staff were on the ball and quick to provide the food. The guys had clearly heard every question in the book and were happy to fill in my sushi-virgin colleagues on the types and options available. Roommates in turn were fascinated by the methods used and spent most of the night watching the cooks work. Expecting to find a rice cooker and sushi ingredients in the kitchen in the next few weeks.
Although it’s a small establishment, there’s a lot of choice. Multiple types of sushi (nigiri, maki and inside out types), soups and other Japanese options as well as a variety of hot choices including rice burgers and stir fry. Most interesting were the party platters, where you could get a whole variety of different sushi’s to split. Was very interested in trying one of these, but everyone else wanted to just pick and choose, so decided to do the same. One member did eventually go for one of the platters though, just to have some choice.
As a whole, we ended up ordering 1 tofu stir fry, 1 portion of edame beans, king prawn nigiri, salmon nigiri, a full vegetable sushi platter, prawn tempura, 2 portions of vegetable gyoza, chicken and avocado maki, salmon maki, tuna maki, Japanese omelette and multiple soups. Nigiri is the original type of sushi – a small rectangle of rice with the fish placed on top, while maki is the more recognisable type – where fish is in the centre of a small tube of rice and wrapped in seaweed.
Had been warned online that Oryza Sushi did great sushi, but lousy hot food, and this was definitely the outcome this time around. Miso soup was bland, while the stir fry was good, but the noodles were still a little hard, and the gyoza pastry was stale. But all of the sushi was fresh and some of the best I’d had. The king prawn nigiri was especially nice, and even the fish-hating party member found plenty they could eat. The vegetarian of the group was enjoying things so much that when some chicken and avocado maki was up for grabs, he spent a few minutes happily poking the chicken out so he could enjoy what was left.
Though would argue the highlight of our night was the true sushi-virgin slathering her salmon maki in wasabi insisting she could handle it, then ten seconds later trying to drown her tongue in water when she finally realised why we’d all been warning her not too. Apparently she’s not used to it being that strong.
At the end of the meal, I also splashed out on a blooming flower tea, where you get hot water and a dried flower in a clear teapot. As the flower gets wet, it ‘blooms’ in the water and flavours the tea. And yes, that is as awesome to watch as it is to read. The whole table was fascinated by this thing opening in the tea pot. On top of which? The tea had a great flavour to it, so not just a novelty thing (now I just need to buy a clear teapot and I’m in business).
There were some interesting desserts on offer too, but by the end of the night my roommates were stuffed with rice and decided anything else would be pushing it. Grabbed menu’s for takeaway though – one apparently was determined to never buy M&S sushi again after tasting the proper stuff, so I consider them properly educated.
Don’t know if I’d eat inside again, but I’ll definitely consider Oryza again for takeaway food. Especially since it’s in walking distance to my flat – I’d avoid the hot food in future though. Not entirely sure where we’ll go next month – think Japanese 3 times in 3 months might be pushing it, so need to find somewhere else that’s interesting – I’m thinking possibly Spanish since there’s a few places I’d like to try. Main plan on the agenda though is a barbeque in a park as soon as the beautiful weather returns (rain was back on Wednesday, and supposed to stick around until Monday, boo).