I used to be a huge fan of Minato – Chef Papa San’s first Cape Town sushi restaurant. It was like this little hole in the wall, just off Long St, certainly no fine dining establishment with somewhat unpredictable service and tacky decor.
When they were fully booked, you would see the following hand written sign on the front door:
“Sorry. Fully Booked. You didn’t make a reservation. Ha Ha ha!”
Brilliant! And then inside, the walls were covered with A4 pieces of paper with the “House Rules” written on them in black koki pen. Stuff like:
For any complaints please refer directly to the owner!
(Who kicks you out and asks you to leave and never return)
So I know what you’re thinking… why the hell would I love such a place!?! Well… the sushi was bloody amazing of course! The menu had very creative sushi options, stuff you wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else in town, so you happily put up with all the rest of the stuff. It just didn’t seem to matter in the end. In fact, I think it all added to Minato’s charm.
Sadly Papa San sold Minato’s a couple of years back and sushi addicts were left with a little hole in their hearts…
I was therefore really excited to discover that he was back in business with his new baby, Takumi (3 Park Road, Gardens).
Upon entering the restaurant you discover that Takumi is a far departure from the old Minato. The decor is chic, modern and quite inviting:
Ooooh, so fancy...
And you have Papa San watching over you at all times:
That grin is infectious!
As you settle into your seat, you’re provided with your menu – but what’s on page one of the menu? Papa San’s house rules! Ah, it was good to see that something carried over from that little spot I loved so much…
Love the soy sauce stain for "authenticity"
The pic above only shows the first 3 rules. There’s an entire page! Sjoe, this chef sure means business.
I was with 3 of my girls and we decided to make the most of this sushi experience by ordering a bunch of options for the table – that way you get a little taste of everything. Genius!
First up was the Rocket Roll – salmon, rocket & wasabi mayo (R50):
It was sooooooo good. I love rocket, would never have thought to put it in a sushi roll though.
OK, this one we didn’t share – Shelll is a fan of Salmon roses (R55) – but the rest of us aren’t really – so she enjoyed these little babies all by herself:
They do look really yum. I was a little curious... Shell did rave about them.
Then we got a Sweet kiss roll – tuna, salmon, avocado, cucumber, sweet chilli mayo & tempura shrimp (R80):
Total decadence... very rich...
Then we were super excited to try the Super crunch roll – tempura prawn, avocado, cucumber, spring onion, tempura crumbs, caviar & special sauce (R75):
Sadly it was dry and lacked flavour...
I wouldn’t recommend that one… it just didn’t work. Lastly we had the Spider roll – soft shell crab, avocado, cucumber and mayo (R85):
This was really different & slightly strange, but I did enjoy it. Was a nice way to finish off our meal.
The dessert menu didn’t really excite me. If there’s no chocolate on there, don’t even bother! haha. But Nix was really intriuged by the Green Tea Tiramisu – so she gave that a bash:
It looked really weird... so I didn't have a taste. But Nix swears it was delicious. Um OK, if you say so...
Another bummer is that they don’t serve any coffee! I’m not the biggest coffee drinker, but in winter I do enjoy a good cuppa every now and again. So that was slightly disappointing. Instead they offer a variety of herbal teas… Shell opted for the Green Tea and Jasmine:
Not a fan of green tea personally, but did love the little bowl type cup they serve it in.
It was a good evening – but the two bottles of wine and great company could have had something to do with that. My biggest complaint is that most of the sushi pieces were MASSIVE, which makes it quite uncomfortable to eat. I would definitely not recommend this for a date night – especially not a first date…
My Miss K Kiss-o-Meter ratings for Takumi would be as follows:
I was left still really missing Minato, but Takumi will make do as a relatively good alternative sushi spot. My heart still belongs to Willoughby’s though!