Say Kon’nichiwa to Fish Tank Sushi
Sushi wouldn’t be the first thing you think of when you visit the pretty little town of Oakham but it was the reason I recently visited. I’ve been wanting to eat at Fish Tank Sushi for some time and as the restaurant edges closer to its first birthday, I decided it was a good time to pay them a visit and see if it could satisfy my sushi cravings.
Hidden away from the main hub, the restaurant is tucked away on Bakers Yard, a little side street just off Church Street. It’s a lovely and quiet little nook away from the hustle and bustle of the high street.
It’s pretty hard to miss the chef’s station plonked slap, bang in the middle of the restaurant. It’s a brilliant idea and it’s fascinating to watch Sam, chef and owner prep and ‘decorate’ the dishes. A former music industry chef, Sam spent his hey day touring around the world with the likes of Take That, Elton John and Depeche Mode.
Pretty cool stuff if you ask me, but after 20 odd years, he decided to settle down in beautiful Rutland with his wife. Together they decided to dabble with the idea of opening up their own restaurant. They saw a gap in the local market and decided to bring something fresh and fun to the area, by way of Asian and Japanese food.
Inside the relaxed resto, the decor is quite simple but clever; random artwork by Japanese designers have been scattered above industrial tables with a wood chip surface, finished off with a mini fish tank.
The menus are already laid out on the table so you can start thinking about your order almost immediately. This causal approach reinforces the informal nature of the restaurant encouraging both sushi experts and novices to dine here.
When it comes to food Sam has as a seriously creative palette to boot – he’s worked all over the world and spent nearly two years in Thailand travelling, exploring and learning all about food and ingredients so my expectations were already high.
As far as the menu is concerned, it’s pretty extensive – there’s everything from the familiar to the more adventurous. Despite the name it’s not all raw fish, instead expect of playful ‘Pan-Asian soul food’. There’s inventive-sounding dishes like spiced crispy red tuna sushi burrito, lobster tacos and the specials can include dishes like tiger prawn and butternut Laksa curry with noodles to the curious-sounding tobiko caviar battleship nigri with wasabi mayo. There’s also a good selection for veggies (tick) and those on a gluten-free or vegan diet (tick, tick).
The dishes come out as soon as they’re ready. First up was the burnt aubergine and roast red pepper warm salad.
Followed by the crispy tofu and kimchi rolls.
For lunch, these two dishes were enough for me but if I had gone for dinner, I probably would have ordered one more dish. The ginger that came with my sushi was the freshest I’ve ever tasted and the generous blob of wasabi, hit the spot. If you were to ask me which dish I preferred, I wouldn’t be able to tell you but what I can tell you, is that I didn’t want the experience to end.
The desserts consisted of Japanese pancakes filled with familiar ingredients including strawberries and cream to the more exotic ones like apply gyoza and matcha green tea and custard. At such purse-friendly prices it’ll be hard to keep away for too long.
Yes for sure. The kids menu is packed with “fresh quality ingredients which promises to broaden their horizons” and they also encourage kids to play with their food #loveit!
So say Sayonara to chicken nuggets and fish fingers and Kon’nichiwa to dishes like crispy chicken ton-katsu with sticky rice and Teriyaki chicken skewers with shredded vegetable salad and sesame dipping sauce. If your kids are willing to be slightly adventurous, they’ll really enjoy it here too.
OUT & ABOUT
It goes without saying that spending a day in Oakham would be an absolute pleasure, it’s a slower pace of life but really worth it. Take it nice and easy though. Highlights include a visit to Oakham Castle, a walk around the gorgeous Grammar School. Just a stone’s throw you’ll find Mill Street brimming with independent shops, my personal favourite include Lucy Flint Jewellery, luxury interior furniture and fabric store, Elizabeth Stanhope and if you’re lucky you may be able to pick up a designer Chanel pre-loved handbag from Cowgirl In Couture.
THE MUDDY VERDICT:
Good for: Family-friendly lunches and dinners, large get-togethers, sushi and seafood fans as well as those wanting to try something different.
Not for: Anyone looking for pub or traditional food or those who like lots of outside space – the courtyard seating area is limited with no real views.
The damage: Really reasonable. Pretty much everything is priced under a tenner with just one main got dish for £12 (soft shell crab). Hot dishes start from £7, sushi from £5 for three pieces and desserts £4. The kids menu is probably a bit more than you’d pay at your local at £8 and includes a main, dessert and a drink.