Review- Sushi Express

Sushi Express has recently teamed up with some of Sheffield's finest artists and designers to create some fabulous artwork for display in their newly refurbished restaurant. 
 
Keen to help the local art community, the restaurant welcomes other artists to display their work and they hope to change the display every three months. As a thank you to the current artists, Sushi Express threw a bit of a party last weekend…. and I was lucky enough to receive an invite.  It was sold as a night of art, sushi and Japanese cocktails; a combination that is always going to impress. 
 
The four pieces of art were displayed along one side of the restaurant.  Each were very different, but each had a clear Japanese theme.  Ruth Hawke is a young artist from Sheffield trying to forge a place for herself in the art community, and thus she was glad of the opportunity to display her work in the restaurant, especially over the busy Christmas period. 
 

Her unfussy drawing of a pretty geisha will look great in this modern restaurant.
 
Next in line was a piece by We Are Tado.  Having done work for McDonald's and Nike (amongst many others), you'll probably have seen these guys around before.
 

 
For Sushi Express, they focused more on the food side of things with a noodle bar sitting on top of a sushi bar, all governed by a chef with enough hands (tentacles) to prepare food for everyone.  Their work is colourful and fun; have a nosey round here for more examples.
 
Lucy Spencer of Don't Feed the Bears had also created a piece.  She normally works on much larger canvases and said that she struggled to keep the piece to the required size, but she pulled it off. 
 

 
The use of oil paint and glitter gave the work some real depth and I love the cheeky wink!
 
Last but not least was Cindy Cheung who had given the infamous Missie Cindz a Japanese make-over. 
 

 
Missie Cindz doesn't half get around as Cindy takes her whenever she's out visiting food producers or eating out in Sheffield.  She looks quite comfortable in her Japanese dress here!
 
Getting a preview of the art and having the chance to meet some of the artists was great, but let's face it, I was here primarily for the food and I was glad to notice that the kitchen was at work.  Not  long after arrival, the platters of food started to roll out.
 
It's quite fitting that sushi and art should be linked so closely as the preparation of sushi really is an art-form in itself.  First to appear was a stunning boat of sushi and sashimi.
 

 
I quickly spotted the salmon sashimi and swooped in for a slice.  It was good and fresh; deliciously creamy with a good level of fat running through it.
 
There was gyoza and deep fried fish along with edamame, noodles and rice dishes.  Cocktails were free flowing too and I managed to try a Shu-cumber which was shochu mixed with fresh cucumber.  Described as a 'refreshing and dry cocktail' it reminded me a little of a gin martini with cucumber- only a bit stronger!
 
 
My favourite was the Baby Don which was Calpis mixed with sake and lime.  I like calpis as a soft drink anyway and the addition of sake and lime made for a very refreshing cocktail.  Speaking with owners Clare and Savio I was glad to learn that cocktails are going to be a permanent fixture for Sushi Express, and I'll certainly be looking forward to more of these!
 
As if we hadn't eaten enough, the evening rounded off with a selection of desserts.  I chickened out of the green tea cheesecake (I can't bear the stuff) and went for the innocent looking white version.  I enjoyed the creaminess of the topping but I couldn't work out the flavouring.  Later I was amazed to find out that it was made from tofu, which is something that normally passes me by.
 

 
Just before leaving I managed to have a quick chat with Clara and Savio about their plans for the restaurant.  Along with the new art installations, there is work on a new menu which will be unleashed in December.  We can expect the cheesecakes to make appearances, but that's about as much as I know, as Clara and Savio are keen to keep some of the dishes under wraps at the moment.  That way there will be a few surprises for us in December.
 
Along with plans for the restaurant, they are keen to develop the takeaway side of things and they're working closely with Tai Sun who are due to open another supermarket in Sheffield city centre very shortly.  Although they already sell some takeaway sushi packs in the Tai Sun on Matilda Street, they are working on having a section in the new store where they'll be able to sell a variety of Japanese dishes to takeaway; not just sushi.
 
Needless to say that as soon as the menu is out I'll be keen to try it, so they'll be more on Sushi Express to come.
 
 
In the meantime, do use the comments box to tell me what you think of the new art pieces.  Will you be taking a trip to the restaurant to see them in the flesh?  If you do, which favourite Japanese dish will you order?
 
 
Words by Clare




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