Far from the formalities that come with fine dining, one of the newest Japanese foodie hotspots Oishi Sushi has become a firm favourite for high-quality casual dining in Bahrain. The Oriental-themed restaurant is located at ABC Mall in Juffair, along the famous food alley. FACT talks to Chef Kristoffer Albano about the venue, the menu and just what makes this eatery a hit…
Stepping off the road and through the door into Oishi Sushi – you’ll completely forget that you’re in Juffair on a fast-food-packed road. The décor of the restaurant screams authentic Japanese, with wooden flooring, deep maroons and browns on the wall, contemporary wall art and beautiful Japanese fans decorating each corner of the restaurant. On the ground floor there’s bar-style seating, perfect for a quick and casual bite to eat. Upstairs, you’ll be greeted with a cosy dining area, with tables and chairs, and even a tatami-style or zashiki-inspired traditional Japanese seating area, all decked out with plush cushions and tableware.
I consider Japanese food as an art gallery which you will always have to create to suit your own taste and picture.” Chef Kristoffer Albano
What we love is that all of the menu items at Oishi Sushi are prepared on-site by expert sushi and teppanyaki chefs. “There is no place like Oishi Sushi,” Chef Kristoffer says. “The unique ambiance and the friendly and happy atmosphere – we truly always offer and serve the best to our customers.” Oishis Sushi’s recipes are made with fresh, quality ingredients that are guaranteed this way through a comprehensive tracking system from their source. The fish is selected from a regulated list of non-threatened species like albacore tuna. “Our ingredients are mainly imported from Japan,” Chef Kristoffer tells us. “The secret of Oishi Sushi is always choosing the right and fresh ingredients.”
The menu at Oishi Sushi is vast and the variety amazing! Sushi, Sashimi, Salad, Temaki, Chirashi and Teppanyaki; this place really has it all. First out on the table for us was the Kani Salad and the Kyuri Salad. The first is made up of crab sticks, lettuce, cucumber, carrot, lollo rosso, avocado, mango, cherry tomato and tobiko. The latter is seaweeds, cucumber, green apple and dry wakame. Both salads are bursting with fresh flavours, and what we love the most is the combination of unusual ingredients that bring out the innovative side of Japanese cuisine – they both go down a treat.
Next, the chicken gyoza, tuna salmon tetake and popcorn shrimp arrive. The gyoza is a standout, light and delicious when dipped in soy sauce. The tetake is super fresh and the shrimp is as mouthwatering as you would expect – especially with a sprinkle of the restaurants secret Japanese chilli powder (we had to spill, it’s too good not to share!). Japanese dishes have a level of intricacy that seem tricky to get right. So, what drew Chef Kristoffer to the cuisine? “I chose Japanese cuisine because it’s different and difficult,” he says. “It looks good as it’s a piece of art and I like art. I consider Japanese food as an art gallery which you will always have to create to suit your own taste and picture.”
Next up, we try an amazing array of sushi and maki rolls including the Box B platter from the menu with Sesame California, Salmon Avocado, Volcano Maki, Salmon Philadelphia Cheese, Anakyuri, and Tuna Lover rolls, with wasabi and ginger. Alongside this came the assortment Chirashi bowl. The first thing we notice is just how colourful and beautifully-presented everything is. We also love the type of traditional plates and trays that the food is served on. One by one we begin to pick up the rolls, dip in soy sauce, and indulge in all the fresh goodness. It’s safe to say that our favourites were the Volcano Maki, Salmon Avocado and Tuna Lover rolls – just divine!
Presentation and taste are both important facts that satisfy our customers,” Chef Kristoffer says. “Having good presentation will give attraction and appetite to the customer and tempt them to eat. Then, once they love the taste, they will always come back to Oishi.” For dessert, try something completely unique – the mango tempura with ice cream. It’ll be unlike anything you’ve tasted before and if you’ve got a craving for something sweet, this should do the trick! Chef Kristoffer hopes that over the next year, Oishi Sushi can expand with more locations in Bahrain and potentially to other GCC countries. As of now, only we can do is hope for a branch in Seef, because that would be a great place for lunch sorted.
GO: Oishi Sushi is located at ABC Mall Juffair. Call 1755 4554 for reservations and more information.