Saturday, 22 October 2016

Hana Matsuri, Meanwood

Meanwood, a suburb to the North of Leeds, has been undergoing something of a middle-classifying since Waitrose opened a branch here several years ago. The latest indication? A tiny little sushi restaurant, just seven covers strong, has popped up on the high street and it is ASTONISHINGLY good.

Never having been to Japan (although I've visited plenty of Yo! Sushis in my time) it is obviously hard for me to judge the level of authenticity myself. Fortunately, when we visited the other week we were seated next to a lovely Canadian lady who had lived in Japan for a number of years who informed us that it was spot on - and then blew our little socks off by praising the chef in Japanese.

We ordered a platter of sashimi and a platter of sushi so we could try a good range of items. The freshness and quality of the fish was amazing - sweet and cool and buttery textured. We asked, hopefully, whether it was sourced locally but sadly not (they get it from a specialist supplier in London).

The platters would have been more than enough but, fired with enthusiasm we, er, ordered more. Chicken wings - hot, sour, crispy, addictively good. I am a massive fan of the confit chicken wing recipe in David Chang's "Momofuku" book and these were very similar. Silence reigned as we inhaled these, wistfully sucking the bones when they were gone like the middle class cavemen we are. A soft shell crab roll was similarly well received.

All this incredible bounty came in at just over £60 - good value to my mind, considering the quality of the produce (and the fact that we were utterly bowled over). I know raw fish is not for everyone - my mother, for example, can't stomach the stuff - but for those who love it (and I think it is hard to be ambivalent) this is such an exciting addition to our little local scene. It doesn't have an alcohol licence currently but there's a great bar a couple of doors down for a pre or post sushi tipple and, quite frankly, when your mouth isn't full of food it will likely be occupied in rhapsody.

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