Sushi is one of my favourite foods in the world ever. I think some people have such an aversion to it, probably because they’ve tried the crappy meal deal versions you get from the shop, that are processed and packaged before sitting out in a shop front fridge all morning. The best type of sushi is without a doubt, freshly made, from a pro sushi chef and served straight up with no messing about. That is 100% what you get from Osaka, Newcastle.
Located on Grey Street just down from Harry’s, and diagonally opposite from the Theatre Royal, it is in a great spot in the centre of Newcastle. Before trying it for the first time about three years ago I had heard only good things, and after persuading Kieran there would definitely be something on the menu he would like too we went along one Saturday night. We’ve literally never looked back since.
Kieran converted into a sushi lover from that night when he tried what I ordered, and preferred it over his noodle dish (he said that was good too by the way). It’s now our go to sushi restaurant in Newcastle, with next to no competition. By that I don’t mean there aren’t other sushi options available in town, but none I’m prepared to sacrifice a visit to Osaka over. I’d just hate to be disappointed in comparison. That may be presumptuous of me but I don’t care.
They do have a full Japanese menu, with rice dishes, noodle dishes, tempura etc, but I am all about the sushi. We recently went with my parents for my dads birthday, as they wanted to try it but weren’t really sure what to order for themselves. After so many visits I’ve fine tuned our order to cover all bases. I get that if you’re a sushi virgin the different types can be quite intimidating, so we were fully prepared to help them out with some of our favourites.
70. California – cucumber, egg, crabstick, avocado, mayo, flying fish roe
Probably the most common sushi roll, the California is a safe bet to start off with and is found in most sushi trays from the shop too. The California from Osaka is fresh and easy to eat.
73. Perfect Match – salmon, avocado, mayo, flying fish roe
One of my favourites, and really similar to the California but swapping out the crabstick with salmon, which is why I prefer it. If you don’t like raw salmon this is probably one to avoid, but if you do this is definitely a winner.
74. Spider – soft shell crab, avocado, mayo, black and orange flying fish roe
Quite similar to the California as well but the crab is fresh crab rather than crabstick, and the black and orange flying fish roe make it a lot more tangy and striking.
75. Active Volcano – tuna, sesame, onion, chilli sauce, tempura style
This one was a huge hit with Nige and Viv when we took them, and is also Kierans favourite. It’s the only one that we always get that is served warm due to the tempura shell around it. I do really like it as well, I just prefer sushi really cold. This one is quite filling. I’d definitely recommend for a first time visit as it is more cooked through than raw.
78. Forever Love – salmon, crab meat, mayo, flying fish roe
Pretty similar again to Spider and California but a combination of them both with salmon and crab mixed together. If you like seafood (and if you don’t what are you even doing in a sushi restaurant?) then this is a very nice one.
80. Ocean Dragon – fried prawn, cucumber, avocado, spicy mayo, black and orange flying fish roe.
This one is also a firm favourite, and one we always order more than one of. It’s a large fried prawn that stretches through all three bits of sushi, wrapped in the sushi rice and other ingredients with the tail sticking out the top. The spicy mayo is a great addition, and the whole thing just looks and tastes delicious.
All of the above are full sushi rolls of various combinations, with sticky rice on the outside and the ingredients packed in the middle. I think they all come as three pieces. Other types of sushi that you can order are sashimi, which is basically the slices of raw fish, and the list is huge on the Osaka menu.
Then there’s temaki, which are the cone shaped sushi rolls wrapped in seaweed with the fish and rice inside, and maki, which are three pieces with the seaweed as the outside layer wrapped around the rice rather than the other way on. My mum and dad had no clue about any of this, and when you’re faced with it all for the first time it is daunting, I used to google all the different types to make sure I wasn’t ordering wrong.
Obviously the Osaka menu is extensive, and full of plenty of other dishes as well as sushi. The tempura prawns are massive, and very nice, and of course the edamame. The reason we love going for sushi is that you don’t leave feeling so stuffed you need to roll home. It’s light, but surprisingly filling and it means you can have it before a night out in town without it weighing you down.
I also have to mention the cost, for the quality of the food, alcoholic drinks (we always get a bottle of wine, if not two), and the popularity of the restaurant it is incredible value for money. It is by far the cheapest meal Kieran and I have out together, but without a doubt one of the best. When you compare prices that we have paid at the likes of Yo Sushi, you really can’t beat the more authentic, freshly prepared to order, and environment that Osaka gives. And it’s in the perfect spot to head out afterwards.
Has anyone tried both Osaka and St Sushi? I’d be really interested to hear what you thought of the two in comparison? I’m also a big fan of the sushi at Aveika, it’s chunky and also really great quality, but if I’m going there I’m getting more than just sushi! For sushi only, Osaka is where it’s at.
For takeaway sushi, I would go for NUDO, theres a couple in town both near Monument and Haymarket, and one in Jesmond too just off Osborne Road.