I wiped the sweat from my brow with my hand towel, even the short bike from Meieki to Fushimi, in this heat, was causing me to sweat buckets. I don’t deal too well with the humid weather and along with that, the rumbling of my empty belly, was making me feel a little weak.
From the outside Furari Sushi seemed like your regular Japanese restaurant: a sliding door, a brightly colored display menu in a language that I couldn’t understand. But I was hungry, and not willing to scour Trip Advisor or the like, I decided that it was as good a choice as any.
I allowed myself to be shown to a table on the second floor and basked in the air-con, gulping back a refreshingly icy cup of green tea. Suitably revived I noticed that the air and drinks weren’t the only cool things about Furari, but the décor was quite out of the ordinary. The walls were lined with prize winning bottles of sake and shochu, as well as being decorated with startling murals of modernist representations of classic Japanese design, and cool jazz music tinkled overhead, all giving a slightly incongruous yet welcoming vibe.
My waiter, Jouji, brought over the menu, thankfully in English, but still feeling pretty exhausted, and not being an expert of Japanese cuisine, I asked him to bring out a mixture of his personal recommendations. I was damned happy that I did.
The first dish was a simmered buridaikon (yellowtail fish and radish) soup. I have to admit that I am not overly enamoured with Japanese soups, but this was a cut above anything I have had. Firstly, as I picked through the fish, expecting to encounter bone upon bone, I was happy to find nothing but layer upon layer of juicy meat. But if that was a pleasant surprise, what really made this dish was the infusion of lemon peel, giving it a delicate zest that I had never previously experienced in similar dishes.
The next course that followed was the sushi, a bright array of five beautifully presented nigiri delicacies. As a big fan of wasabi, the tuna with kuki (stem) wasabi was an instant favourite, but one after another – the perch with oroshi ponzu, salmon with ikura and mayo – I was staggered by the freshness and delicateness of the flavour. Then there was the prawn and hibiscus sushi that had to take the biscuit for appearance, but best of all was the shima aji (barjack) with pickled ume, the plum coming on quietly at first, but exploding into a rich fruity flavour.
I wasn’t quite sure whether, or indeed how, Jouji could top that, but the final dish was like something from another planet. Not just in flavour, but in aesthetics, you see, as the crabmeat was served in its own half-shell. On top of that it had been baked with miso, the dark green and pink mixture was as strange looking as it was delicious. And it looked really strange.
When I was finished, picking crabmeat from my teeth, energy restored, out of curiosity I perused the menu further and found it a rather excellent selection. While it is a touch pricier than a sushi train restaurant, it seemed of vastly superior quality and it seemed the ideal place to take a date or partner and sit in one of the cosy table alcoves. Outside of the alcoves there are larger spaces in which you can take advantage of their ¥4800 course menu that includes a whole raft of sushi and sashimi, tofu salad, tempura and tuna jaw as well as two hours of nomihoudai. However, if you feel like having a bit of solitude, you can always sit at the counter and watch the sushi chefs in action. And do you know something? Over the coming weeks I intend on doing all three. If only for the crabmeat. Damn strange looking, but absolutely sublime!
Furari Sushi is right next to the Electricity Museum in Fushimi. You can find it easily by getting off the subway at Fushimi and heading two blocks east from exit four.
Furari Sushi Fushimi
Kiso Bldg. 2-2-8 Sakae, Naka-ku, Nagoya
Open: 11:00 to 23:00 Mon~Sat
11:00~ 22:30 Sun
Tel: (052) 218-6331