Rye and sushi… it’s that sort of perfect union which I have been waiting for. The importance of fish in the history of Rye has been mentioned a few times recently. Now, just opened without fanfare, a new restaurant called Rye Sushi has arrived. Just look for the corner door opposite the Waterworks. Green facade. Go inside and be welcomed by the lovely Adam. He and his partner, Mee Yun, decided to move here from Eastbourne.
The restaurant was recommended to us by Rye Fine Wines, just a few doors down. “Just stop in there and have a look. But really, they only just opened.” Adam was so welcoming and we found ourselves more than just having a look. We sat down, and these wonderfully crisp prawn crackers arrived with Adam to apologise for the basic menus and the “still sorting things out” phase. I didn’t mind at all. I have longed for warm, authentic sake. Fish that isn’t just “salmon or tuna” you get from the supermarket sushi counter.
Their knowledge of Japanese cuisine is deep and they seek only the highest quality products each day, (luckily just across town at the quay). It’s that sort of synergy that the likes of Rick Stein mention when he explains why he started in Padstow. I so hope Rye nurtures this.
Before delving into the menu, Adam gave me a little explanation of what “sushi” actually means. “With rice”. Not at all the “raw fish” that I always thought. It is the culture of Japanese food – and life perhaps? Separate, fresh, quality ingredients to emphasise their specific taste and feel. Served with rice.
What all this means in Rye Sushi is an extensive menu which will change and be adapted each day, depending on what ingredients are available and, most importantly, what each customer would like to eat. We left the decisions for our platter of sushi fish up to Adam. The result was a beautifully presented mix of salmon, tuna, seabass, octopus and mackerel. The diligence Mee Yun puts into inspecting each fish for quality means it is all fresh, firm and delicious. As an alternative, we tried the cuttlefish tempura (starter size), and the little chicken skewers (tori). Both tender and great flavours. Food you want to linger over and enjoy.
If you are vegetarian or perhaps don’t want to each raw fish, Adam will immediately design an alternative menu for you: “I would suggest a platter of vegetable nigiri; one of our salads; seasonal vegetable tempura.” Mee Yun then explained: “We can easily create a ramen (hot broth noodle dish) without fish sauce and with the freshest vegetables depending on your tastes.”
I love dessert. I also love matcha. The matcha sponge cake with cream didn’t disappoint – light and fluffy and perfect, accompanied with their jasmine tea. Mee Yun had just made her own rice pudding though. And with a plum jam picked up in Rye market this week, equally delicious.
This is food cooked with love, care and decades of training and knowledge. Food to be savoured. Given this care and quality, I found the prices were reasonable. Adam and Mee Yun have all sorts of ideas for the future, including perhaps Korean barbecue. For now, they are focused on getting online with the restaurant, sorting menus, working out take-out options and getting settled as a family in Rye.
I will confess, at this point the effects of my warmed sake was kicking in. My husband claims I insisted the entire kitchen – Adam’s family including their son – was introduced to me, and I really don’t think I remember trying to hug them all. I do remember trying to convince complete strangers on our walk home to go eat at Rye Sushi though…it is that good.
Image Credits: Abigail Cooper-Hansen .