Steer clear of tofu

Sakura is a blend of ultra-modern design and classic oriental décor. Large sink-in sofas nestle next to simple modern tableware while serene Japanese music jingles soothingly in the background

Sakura is a blend of ultra-modern design and classic oriental décor. Large sink-in sofas nestle next to simple modern tableware while serene Japanese music jingles soothingly in the background. We were pathologically hungry on arrival, however, and had ploughed through a light salad, a vigorous vegetable, tofu and wakame soup and a lovely portion of tuna sushi before even registering our surroundings.

Slowing down the frenetic eating pace, we eased into some deep-fried baby crabs with dipping sauce, a slice of claw-topped heaven in a dish, and some golden tofu, a disappointingly bland choice. To be fair, we should know by now that only on the rarest of occasions is tofu anything but a flabby, bland hindrance to the rest of your dish. How this flavour-free pallid mulch ever got to share plate-space with the finest elements of Japanese cooking is a deep culinary mystery.

Anyway, we digress. Far better and less insipid than the dull-as-ditchwater tofu were an enormous portion of breaded chicken strips and some deep-fried sea bream with ginger sauce. The bream was top quality, but veered towards the sickly after the fourth piece.

Our plate of hammour in teriyaki sauce, however, was impeccable, done good service by a mammoth portion of shrimp, squid and vegetable rice. We downed a little tea and quit the restaurant, leaving only empty plates and a near-full portion of tofu wobbling sadly behind us.

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