Noodle Bar, Bournemouth

Prepare for this site’s first foray into proper sushi, courtesy of this little backstreet joint…

Six years nearly, this blog has been running. A lot of people recently have told me that the restaurant review content is becoming stale, given most of it revolves around Bournemouth (hence the concert review we did last issue). While this has been taken under advisement and we will soon be undergoing some rebranding and a new programme of content is in the plan, we will continue to review Bournemouth restaurants as and when they come up…

Sushi is something we have only recently taken an interest in. With a new liking for Asian food and culture, even a contemplation to teach English in Japan for a while, I suppose I had less and less excuse not to try it.

With frequent co-diners Fahim Ali and James Boxall, I was taken to a place of their recommendation in Bournemouth, simply called Noodle Bar.

As the name implies, the main dishes they serve are noodle-based. James’ dish, for example, was pulled pork with noodles. However, this all being said, they have a rather extensive selection of sushi.

Top row: Salmon Tartare in Tempura with Katsuobushi
Middle row: Salmon, Philadelphia & Caviar Nigiri
Bottom row: Uramaki of Prawns in Tempura with Salmon and Mango

I wasn’t sure if I was going to like this, so I made my first stab at sushi with things I was familiar with. Salmon and prawns, though I was tempted by a dish of Unagi (even if I can’t even type that word without thinking of Friends). Eventually I settled on a pair of dishes: a Nigiri dish of Salmon, Philadelphia cheese and Caviar; and an Uramaki dish of Prawns in Tempura, with Salmon and Mango.

This is a traditional Asian joint so the only cutlery you have at first is chopsticks, which, it turns out I am no better at using than my past attempts (like in Suki of London’s Chinatown and Kinų Rožė in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius). I made quite a mess of the first Uramaki, which consisted of salmon, crispy Tempura prawn and mango pieces wrapped in rice. I learned the hard way that these are actually quite easy to pick up. And really tasty to eat. Six pieces are enough for a lunch, but they are very moreish so be careful if you make them at home.

The Nigiri, on the other hand, I was less enthralled by. And don’t be too quick to blame the Caviar, which is notoriously an acquired taste. I love it personally. I detected a funny flavour from the Philadelphia cheese – maybe it didn’t agree with the fish-based juices. Just as well there were only three of them, in my opinion.

Pricing is reasonable. When you first look at the menu, you think it’s quite steep, but all that rice is surprisingly filling. Go for whatever you fancy on the menu – you will get your money’s worth.