The Best Ways to Celebrate International Sushi Day in Newcastle
Saturday 18th June marks International Sushi Day – yep, there really is a ‘day’ for everything – but this is one to fully embrace! Newcastle is blessed with an excellent range of sushi experts, from independent restaurants to famous brands, so you can enjoy this one in style!
Before we dig in, here are some interesting facts for you… Did you know, that sushi isn’t about fish – it’s actually the vinegar that’s used in the sushi rice. This is why sashimi, which is essentially thinly sliced raw meat (usually tuna or salmon) isn’t sushi. The best way to serve sushi rice is at room temperature, to let the flavour reach its optimal potential. Nigiri (the ones with rice, a layer of wasabi and a seafood topping) are meant to be eaten face-down, so the fish is on your tongue first. And, here’s one for those of us who struggle with chopsticks – the good news is that sushi isn’t meant to be eaten with them at all, but instead with your hands!
So, now you know the basics, let’s dig in to some of the best places to eat sushi in Newcastle!
Umai Mi, Eldon Square
Traditional and modern cooking go hand in hand at this Eldon Square favourite. Umai Mi is a Pan-Asian restaurant which has an excellent range of sushi on its menu, including futomaki rolls, maki rolls and sushi sets. They even have futomaki for kids on their children’s menu, meaning it’s perfect for the whole family, and if you’re looking for something different there’s a range of small eats, dumplings and poke bowls (Hawaiian dishes featuring raw fish, sticky rice and pickles). They also proudly cater for a variety of dietary requirements, from vegan to gluten free diets. FYI, ‘umai mi’ translates as the ‘fifth taste’, a combination of ‘umai’ meaning delicious and ‘mi’ meaning taste, and is traditionally used as a way to talk about savoury flavours.
The perfect place to try authentic Japanese cuisine, Dojo on Stowell Street always makes for an atmospheric dining experience. Their huge range of nigiri sushi, maki rolls and tamaki rolls cover all the bases, while the chef special maki rolls include delights like soft shell crab tempura with mango salad, unagi and shrimp and ebi cereal roll.
Mega-brand Yo! Sushi is a reliable and fun outlet for your sushi needs. Their iconic conveyor-belt delivery system has undergone a bit of a change since you may have last visited – instead of perusing the dishes on offer and grabbing what you want, you can now order from their digital menu and your freshly prepared dishes will be delivered via the conveyor belt directly to you using a fun traffic light system – when the green light’s displayed, grab your food and enjoy! Yo! Sushi favourites include the likes of aburi salmon dragon roll, crunchy California rolls, and mixed maki rolls, along with a range of other lip-smacking delights!
Sushi Me Rollin’, Grey Street
Great local success story Sushi Me Rollin’ combine modern flavours with traditional methods to craft contemporary sushi at their intimate Grey Street restaurant. Their fun dining concept features dishes like the Spice Up Your Life – spicy salmon, cream cheese, house pickles and rocket – or The Attenborough – seaweed, house pickles, sweet tofu, radish, avocado and vegan sweet and sour mayo. They’ve got an excellent vegan selection and are coeliac-friendly too.
St Sushi, Westgate Road
A comfortable and popular restaurant on Westgate Road, St Sushi is one of the city’s most iconic Japanese restaurants. With an extensive menu, their sushi is highly thought of, and their clientele are kept coming back for more! Their menu features all the sushi styles you’d expect, from nigiri, gunkan, ISO (meaning inside out) and maki rolls, with signature dishes including chung wa eel maki, spicy salmon tempura maki and pork katsu ISO – give their fun St Sushi flower dish a try! Their bento boxes and noodle soup also come highly recommended.
Proud to give their dishes an innovative and modern twist, this Japanese restaurant, sushi and grill bar provides opulent surroundings to enjoy a menu of Asian delicacies. Placing an emphasis on flavour and style, their sushi bar uses only the freshest fish for their nigiri and maki rolls, and their made-to-order dishes include the likes of ebi katsu – panko rolled prawn, tobiko, beetroot, cream cheese and cucumber – and tempura kakugiri featuring spicy tuna. The fun doesn’t need to end after your meal either, stay up late with a cocktail and enjoy live DJs playing lounge, house and popular music until the early hours.
If you’re looking for something a bit different for International Sushi Day, give The Muddler’s interesting fusion dishes a try. The gorgeous Pan-Asian restaurant on Grey Street serve up delicious food and unique cocktails in a friendly, relaxed atmosphere. Highly recommended bites include uramaki rolls, the Diamond Jubilee which contains crab, avocado, cucumber and tamago topped with salmon, and chef’s recommendation The Sleeping Volcano featuring spicy salmon, spring onion, sesame seeds and chilli sauce served tempura style. Vegetarian and chef’s choice sushi platters provide a great way to try lots of dishes at once.
Hanahana, Bath Lane
Hanahana specialise in teppanyaki-style dishes cooked on a hot plate, but their sushi menu is just as inspiring and enjoyable. Give the Roy’s Special Menu a try, with selections including golden dragon roll containing deep fried tempura prawns finished with crab roe and Japanese mayonnaise, or the dynamite roll with lobster meat coated with golden breadcrumbs and lightly fried. Their ‘work of art’ sashimi selection is also highly recommended.
If you’d like to give the art of sushi making a go at home, there are several specialists in the city that can help you become an expert in no time. Sushi Me Rollin’ offer Saturday morning masterclasses where you’ll learn the basics and get to eat what you’ve prepared at the end (booking is essential). Once you’ve mastered the art, head to these outlets to buy your tools and ingredients...
Waitrose, Eldon Square
Grab some essential Clearspring nori sheets and a specialist bamboo sushi mat to roll your creations on from Waitrose in Eldon Square. The store is also a great place to pick up fresh fish, sushi rice and even pre-made sushi if you’re in a hurry.
John Lewis, Eldon Square
Dine in style with John Lewis’ Tokyo Design Studio Sushi Gift set; porcelain dishes feature waves and geometric patterns based on traditional Japanese design. The set contains two sushi plates, two dip bowls and two sets of chopsticks.
Nudo, Low Friar Street
As well as being a superb noodle restaurant which serves an array of traditional, healthy and nutritional meals, including a range of freshly prepared futomaki and nigiri boxes, Nudo have introduced an innovative way to get the freshest and most delicious sushi exactly when you want it with their Nudo Sushi Box brand. Fresh sushi is made to order for collection in the store 24 hours later, and their DIY sushi kits mean you can make prawn tempura, chicken katsu and salmon futomaki rolls at home to impress your friends or for that special occasion!
Being the cosmopolitan city that it is, it’s no surprise that Newcastle is stuffed with excellent sushi and Asian restaurants to try out, and given the choice on offer we think it’s worth celebrating International Sushi Day at least a few times this year!