We thought we would go somewhere a bit “different” this Mother’s Day — no pub grub or traditional local food for us this year. No, it was going to be raw fish.
While my mother and I have had Japanese food elsewhere before, we hadn’t yet sampled from the growing number of Belfast restaurants serving the delights on offer from the country famous for sushi.
I had a look at the options in the city and decided Sakura on Belfast’s Botanic Avenue sounded relaxed, not too big and therefore what we were after.
After arriving we were shown to our table on the ground floor as we were also having main meals, but for those who only want sushi there is the choice of sitting at the sushi train, with its conveyer belt of colourful dishes snaking past diners.
The restaurant, split over two floors, is a real taste of Japan with its lanterns and soft music playing in the background.
Our table was adorned with the usual Japanese eating essentials: chopsticks, soy sauce, and some Japanese pepper and chilli.
After ordering drinks we had a long, hard look at the menu. There was an extensive choice of starters, as well as sushi, sashimi (slithers of raw seafood) and meat and seafood noodle and rice dishes to select from.
Before our main courses my mother and I chose our sushi.
While we have sampled the famous Japanese delicacy before, the thought of eating raw fish was a little too much for my father and he decided to opt out of this choice.
We picked the yellow tail (a type of oily fish) and crab roe (crab eggs) sushi. Both tasted really fresh, with clear, vibrant flavours.
For the main courses, my mother went for the Japanese-style roasted pork with curry udon noodles, while my father chose the braised beef brisket with noodles. I decided to pick the Japanese style beef with fresh ginger and boiled rice.
All the dishes were well presented, the food really fresh and tasty, and the portions substantial.
Everyone was satisfied with their meals, although having had a sample of each other’s dishes, the beef with ginger was the favourite.
Sakura provided a relaxing dining experience with friendly and attentive service.
And I’m happy to say that despite deviating somewhat from our usual eating experience, my mother was more than happy with her special day out.