I first wrote back in 2014 that ‘there seems to be a bit of noise around town about Sushi Central at the moment’, but updating this post now in 2018, this still pretty consistently seems to be the case and now with numerous awards under their belt, including the 2014 What’s On Abu Dhabi award I first mentioned of Favourite Restaurant in the city under Dhs400, it’s still a good quality and reasonably priced choice. With Mr. Arabian Notes a big fan of sushi, we first went along to their branch at Mina in 2014 to find out what all the fuss was about.
The inside of the branch (opened in Dec 2014) has a definite Japanese feel from the bamboo decor, and there’s a simplicity about the restaurant that I think we’ve learned to expect from restaurants at this level in the market. It’s fresh looking, comfortable and convenient, and you have a nice view of the kitchen so you can see the chefs at work behind a glass window which I find always provides both interest and a feeling of confidence.
It’s an easy sort of place to drop into for a quick bite or for a longer meal. If it’s Japanese food you’re after, you’ve definitely come to the right place, however much time you have to spare. But enough of that – it’s really all about the food!
I tried a fresh apple juice to start off, and although that doesn’t sound particularly exciting or necessarily normally warrant a photo, on this occasion it does. You see, I’m tired of being fobbed off in cafés and restaurants with so-called ‘fresh apple juice’ that has been so processed and pasteurised it barely resembles even the barest form of the apple it came from by the time it reaches my table – but not at Sushi Central. I was very pleased to see that the promised fresh apple did not come from a bottle, but it was indeed, a true, freshly juiced green apple juice. Unmistakable in taste and in appearance as you can see how the fibres of the real fruit mix and settle when left unstirred. Joy at last – and pleasure number one from Sushi Central – a real, truly fresh apple juice!
So it sort of felt a bit wrong to visit a Japanese restaurant and not try the miso soup, and since it is known for its health benefits along with being one of the world’s healthiest foods, we decided we couldn’t go wrong. And I have to say I’m glad we did – I do love a bit of miso soup I have to say, and this was one of the most flavoursome bowls of the stuff I have had in a very long time. Even the seaweed within the soup was perfect, and notably soft and palatable – no hint of chewiness or that tart taste as can sometimes be the case.
Next up were the starters – vegetable tempura and chicken gyoza. These are probably two of my all time favourites on any Japanese menu. I just can’t go past the gyoza – amazing little dumplings of flavoursome yumminess and these didn’t disappoint. I found the sauce they came with a little on the spicy side for me, although that’s more down to my taste buds at the moment with being pregnant as it was certainly nothing short of authentic.
I’ve never been a fan of the raw sushis and I certainly am not in a position now to start trying them until after Baby Arabian Notes has made an entrance into the world, but Mr. Arabian Notes is a big fan. He happily dug into the Salmon Avocado Hosomaki and found them to be very fresh and tasty with good quality salmon used. He also made comment of the fact that they were evidently freshly made to order as the rice was sticky and moist and the seaweed was tender and they all held together perfectly.
We also ordered the Ocean Black Tiger special to share between us which was done with tempura prawns, lettuce, and another of my Japanese favourites – Teriyaki sauce. These were definitely my favourite of the evening and my mouth is watering again just thinking about them as I write this… Hmmm, maybe we can get some in for dinner tonight?! 🙂
The final dish we shared was the house special Ortaggio – vegetarian sushi with grilled asparagus, eggplant, baby corn and tapenade. There’s not too much to say here either except YUM. Sometimes vegetarian sushi can be a bit boring and bland – all too often restaurants only use cucumber or avocado… not especially imaginative – so it was great to find a different combination of tasty vegetables here.
All in all, we had a great evening with super fresh food that was all prepared to order and I would absolutely go back. After having got used to eating in reasonably priced Japanese sushi train style restaurants on a fairly regular basis when we lived in Australia, it’s great to see that there is a good value and tasty option here in Abu Dhabi that doesn’t cost the earth. It’s also good to see that they cater to tastes for those that like me, aren’t necessarily great fans of raw sushi – there’s a good range of vegetarian options on the menu and a wide range of cooked foods all alongside all the traditional sushi and sashimi options you’d expect.
Also excitingly, they deliver! And, not just to limited locations either – for once, there’s a place that offers delivery just about all over Abu Dhabi island and way beyond! As a near end of island dweller I’m tired of places that won’t deliver past mid island so this is really exciting for me! Perhaps I will get some of those Ocean Black Tiger special rolls for dinner tonight after all! 🙂
Sushi Central now has two eat in branches in Abu Dhabi – Khalidiyah, Mina with a third for delivery only in Khalifa City. For delivery call 600-52-0007 and to find out more visit their website by clicking here.