Birthday dinner at Ebi Sushi

I was treated to a lovely birthday dinner at Ebi Sushi in Derby over the weekend. Japanese food is one of my absolute favourites and being brought to probably the best Japanese restaurant in the East Midlands got my tastebuds all a-tingling on the days leading up to it. The story goes that the chef was brought over from Japan to cater to the Japanese staff working over at the nearby Toyota factory, so authenticity is guaranteed!

It’s an unassuming frontage that greets you and inside is again a modest affair with bamboo blinds over the windows and simple art on the walls, plain tables peppering the floor and the sushi bar tucked in the corner. But the food more than makes up for it.

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We started off with complimentary fried mackerel in a vinegar and onion sauce. This was light and fresh and whetted our appetite for what was coming up.

Sashimi platter

There was a choice of three, five or seven fish types for the sashimi platter and we opted for the middle one which came with sea bream, tuna, turbot, salmon and yellowtail. The pieces of fish were all incredibly fresh and sweet. The salmon, tuna and yellowtail especially ate like butter. My favourite was the yellowtail whilst G really enjoyed the tuna.

Pickles

The pickles were a lovely crunchy counterpart to the fish were were having and we thought they were daikon, and maybe umeboshi (salt plum) and aubergine. Maybe I should be a better blogger and ask for more details before eating the food.

Tuna belly roll

Next up was a tuna belly roll with spring onion. The nori sheets had been toasted before rolling up the sushi and gave it a lovely depth of flavour. We could have easily eaten another plate of these, they were so good.

Soft shell crab

After the cold dishes, the hot dishes came out in succession and first up was the eagerly awaited soft shell crab. We missed having this when we were recently down in Cornwall and were so happy to be able to order it this time – it was just as anticipated. Hot and crunchy with a light greaseless batter encasing the soft sweet crab.

Chicken yakitori and miso black cod

Trust G to order chicken skewers for a fancy meal out. His words, not mine! But boy, were these yakitori such a good choice. Pieces of chicken thighs were grilled and coated in a sticky sweet and salty yakitori sauce with lovely flavours of sake coming through. My only very slight criticism was that the meat could have been charred a little more, but the flavour of that sauce was an unexpected delight.

Black cod with miso was again incredibly fresh and this time had a great charry flavour to it courtesy of the grill. The unctous flakes of fish came slid down our throats very easily indeed.

Pork tonkatsu

Tonkatsu is a deep fried pork cutlet coated with panko and this was a superior version of it. That chef’s got a great hand with the fryer. We poured tonkatsu sauce over this liberally and savoured every single morsel. By now we were pretty full but there were still two more dishes to come.

Cold soba noodles

I think having cold soba noodles on a very wintry-like night was not the best idea, and even though I still enjoyed it, it was perhaps a better choice for warmer weather. Saying that, the buckwheat noodles were perfectly al dente and the dipping sauce was a light savoury accompaniment to the noodles. G had a much better choice of tempura prawns with soba in hot miso soup which was again delicious. We were struggling a little from over-ordering by now, but had dessert on one person’s insistence. Heh.

Japanese cheesecake

We shared a slice of Japanese cheesecake which was a baked cheesecake layer topped with a very generous amount of cream. This was off-menu, offered by our lovely waitress but I did wonder whether a green tea or black sesame ice-cream would have made a lighter finish to the meal.

Onigiri 1

Onigiri 2

After our bill was settled, our waitress presented us with two onigiri to take home. What a lovely touch to a wonderful meal. I ate mine for breakfast as suggested, the bit in bed was my idea. The packed rice was mixed with bonito flakes and had a tangy pickle centre to it and I thoroughly enjoyed the last of my amazing birthday meal.

I highly recommend Ebi Sushi to anyone looking for authentic Japanese food. The pricing of the menu would suggest special occasion meals but if you stick to the hot cooked portion of the menu that would keep the bill more reasonable. Parking is conveniently located directly across the street. We went on Bonfire Night so it was a bit quieter than usual but be sure to book a table in advance as it usually gets very busy.

Ebi Sushi
59 Abbey Street
Derby DE22 3SP
Tel: 01332 265656
Open: Tues-Sat 6-10pm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sea bream with samphire, potatoes and beurre blanc

I was shopping at my local Tesco’s and saw samphire in the vegetable aisle. Of course I had to get it. Then I had to think of what to actually cook with it. Fish would be the obvious choice and by chance I had a sea bream keeping in the freezer. I remembered watching Valentine Warner in ‘What to Eat Now’, cooking a fish with beurre blanc on a little makeshift stove by the river. A quick google search later, more shopping for potatoes, white wine and shallots and I was set. This is my version of his recipe. I added the potatoes because I can’t do without any carbs and they look really pretty on the plate! It might seem really complicated to read, and to be honest there are quite a few component parts to this recipe but with a little bit of organisation it’s actually a pretty simple dish to make. The smooth and unctuous but tangy sauce really ties everything together. Let me tell you, this is as close to a restaurant dish as I’ve ever cooked, presented and tasted.

Samphire is a sea vegetable that grows along the shoreline and in marshes. Not surprisingly, it’s pretty salty and has a lovely crunchy texture.

Sea bream with samphire and beurre blanc

Serves 2

For the potatoes

500g new potatoes, cut into 1cm cubes

Generously salted hot boiling water

3 tbsp sunflower oil

For the beurre blanc

100g of chilled butter, cubed

2 medium shallots, or half a small white onion, chopped roughly

1 garlic clove, sliced thinly

1 bay leaf

3 black peppercorns

150ml dry white wine

1 tbsp white wine vinegar

For the sea bream

2 fillets of sea bream (or any other white fish)

4 tbsp plain flour, seasoned with salt and ground black pepper

For the samphire

100g samphire

Hot boiling water, NO salt added

  1. Boil the cubed potatoes in the salted boiling water for 6-8 minutes, until they’re tender inside.
  2. Heat up the sunflower oil in a pan over medium high heat.
  3. Fry the potatoes in the pan until they are a golden brown colour. While the potatoes are frying, prepare the beurre blanc and fish. Stir them periodically while they fry.
  4. Prepare the beurre blanc. Heat up 1tbsp of sunflower oil and 1 tbsp of butter over medium heat (the oil prevents the butter from burning). Add the shallots, garlic, bay leaf and black peppercorns into the pan and fry for 2-3 minutes, until the shallots have softened but not browned.
  5. Add in the white wine and vinegar and boil until the liquid has reduced by two-thirds.
  6. Use a hand whisk to whisk in the cold butter cubes a few at a time until all the butter has been incorporated into the mixture and the sauce is thick and glossy. The mixture must not boil at this stage. If it gets too hot, just remove the pan from the heat while whisking the butter in.
  7. If you have used unsalted butter, taste and season with salt.
  8. Strain the sauce and keep in a warm place.
  9. Heat a saucepan over medium high heat. Dredge the sea bream fillets in the seasoned flour.
  10. Fry the fillets skin side down first for 2 minutes. The skin needs to be flat against the pan to crisp up, so use your spatula to press the fish down to prevent the fillets from arching up. Turn the sea bream over and fry for a further 1 minute.
  11. Boil the samphire in water for 1 minute, strain and pat dry with a kitchen towel.
  12. To serve, divide the samphire between two plates. Place the fish on top and scatter the potatoes over and around the fish. Spoon the beurre blanc over and around the fish.