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Takumi Sushi

Takumi Sushi
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Cost
R90 avg main meal
Ambience
Comfy & casual
Food
Health food, Japanese, Modern, Sushi
Payment
Mastercard, Visa
500

Critic's review

Linda Scarborough

Takumi is not for sushi snobs. Here the clear broths and delicate slivers you might associate with authentic Japanese cuisine make way for crowd-pleasing spicy mayo, deep-fried titbits, sweet sauces and – happily – massive portions. And just as well, because there are crowds to be pleased.

Food
You could start with some edamame, miso brinjal or seaweed salad, or just climb right into the star of the show – the sushi. The list of rolls (tuna, vegetable, prawn, salmon, tempura, inside out, maki) seems to go on and on; any variation or combination you can imagine, they’ll have it.

Unless you’ve been here before, you’ll really have your work cut out for you trying to decide. The best strategy is to go with a group, order the first couple of things to catch your eye (because there will be many) and share them when the plates arrive. Then come back and do it all over again.

The chilli-popper California roll is a fun take on the popular avo, cheese and chilli theme in Mexican food, somehow making perfect sense rolled up in seaweed and sushi rice. Togaroshi spice, lime yuzu mayo and special eel sauce keep things interesting, and quirky names like ‘fighting roll’, ‘kamikaze’ and ‘dynamite’ are apt allusions to the mouth explosions you can expect.

If you like things a little simpler, chirashizushi (scattered sushi) is a bowl of sleek chunks of fresh sashimi on a bed of sushi rice that will fill you right up. Another of the specialities, The Boat, arrives piled high with nigiri (salmon, line fish, tuna, prawn), sashimi and a dozen rolls. As with all of Takumi’s dishes, the servings are generous and cuts super chunky, so open wide.

End the meal with scoops of the ice cream of the day – earl grey and honey-rooibos, if you’re lucky.

Drinks
They have all the usual tipple, but why not sip one of the dozen teas on offer, or warm sake.

Service
The house rules at the beginning of the menu makes things clear from the outset: no wise guys; plates will arrive when they’re ready, so sharing is encouraged; and a 10% service fee will be added to your bill, so notify management if you feel service is not up to scratch. Expect a warm welcome at the door and no-fuss, professional service.

Ambience
Everything has a touch of good humour to it, and the atmosphere is electric despite the slightly dim lighting. It’s slick and smart, with face brick, pale wood panelling and simple black and red touches.

And…
We don’t notice even a hint of the notorious take-no-prisoners attitude of Papa San, and are kind of disappointed at not being chased out for ordering too many rounds of food or holding our chopsticks wrong. Ah well, there’s always next time...

(June 2015)

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  • Katharine Jacobs

    Food 
    Devotees of Papa San followed this sushi master from Minato for his signature thick-cut sushi served in innovative ways. You might find your sushi deep-fried (like the ‘super crunch’, with tempura prawns, avo, spring onion and lots of extra tempura crumbs) or the rice conspicuously absent (as in the original special, which is composed purely of fish and avocado in a tempura batter). There are also some unusual additions: the coriander roll with seared salmon, avo, cucumber, and a coriander and yuzu lime mayo is delicious if you’re a fan of the herb.

    The uninitiated should be warned: this is by no means a classic rendition of sushi. The rolls are saucy and flamboyant, rather than neat and punctilious. Portions are generous and plated with the ends of the roll on the plate too, as if punctuating the start and end of the portion. The original special – without its rice layer – is great for sashimi lovers, but has a sort of mushy texture. It is best eaten while the tempura is still piping hot.

    For dessert, try the ice cream or sorbets of the day. The coconut sorbet and green tea ice cream go down a treat, but we’re more sceptical of the umeboshi ice cream, which is made with Japanese salt plums. It is simultaneously salty and sweet – a little disconcerting for an ice cream.

    Drinks 
    The wine list is succinct and slightly pricy, but bears some powerhouse names. Finish the meal off right with a carafe of hot sake.

    Service
    Professional and relatively speedy. Ask for the waiter’s recommendations if you’re having trouble choosing. Papa San is known for his eccentric nature, so roll with it if you’re unceremoniously ejected from the restaurant when he wants to leave, or disciplined for ordering twice.

    Ambience 
    Stylish and trendy. Red walls and a fireplace keep things cosy in the winter time, while a graphic rendering of Papa San’s laughing face lends a modern, hip touch. There’s a partially covered outside area at the back for warmer days.

    And… 
    With dishes ranging from R80 to R120, it’s easy to spend rather a lot per head here. But thanks to the large portions, you definitely won’t leave hungry.

    (July 2014)

  • Their non-commercial approach is what’s unique. They have some strict rules about ordering, but the soft shell crab roll, wasabi bomb, fresh tempura, bento box and Takumi tuna
    roll are worth it.
  • Food
    If you like your sushi filling, deep-fried and/or laden with sauce, you've found your sushi heaven. Orthodox sashimi snobs should look elsewhere. Non-sushi options are limited, but the nasu miso and cucumber seaweed salad are fab.

    Wine
    Not extensive, but there are reasonably priced options that pair nicely with sushi. Two palatable sake options and the Japanese whiskey are nice touches.

    Service
    Friendly and knowledgeable, but can be so efficient that you get the sense they want your table.

    Ambience
    An old Victorian place redone with soft lighting and nice use of wood make for a stylish interior, pop art prints of Papa San's mug notwithstanding. The main dining room is loud, but the second room’s warmth makes for an intimate space.

    And...
    The same Draconian rules have been transferred from Minato’s, so be prepared to order everything at once. (LM, October 2012)
  • Stefania Johnson

    In this age of ubiquitous sushi, Papa San's no-fuss Japanese diner brings a rare touch of authenticity to the dining experience. Pared down interiors, great (really great) sushi, and the best selection of Japanese sushi rolls this side of Tokyo. Recommended for super sushi in a no-fuss Japanese diner. Order the crying rolls and sweet kiss.

User reviews

  • Great sushi! I ordered the sweet kiss which comes served on a little boat. The ambience is also great. Will definitely be back soon
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  • Papa San's sushi is not as neat and perfect as Willoughby's and I wasn't crazy about two of the dishes we ordered. That said, the other two were fantastic, and I'd far rather sit inside the cosy, hip red interior at Takumi than a mall. Can we have some of Willoughby's finesse with Papa San's flair, please?
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  • Hadn't been to Takumi in a while, and my sushi was delicious! Salmon roses were possibly the best I've ever had; loved the slither of cucumber for a (surprise) fresh tasting crunch!! Takumi is back on my radar; will be back again soon!
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  • I'm compelled to leave a review because I'm usually very critical of Takumi... I don't like the vibe and attitude and I don't like the way the fish is cut.
    Last night we had a takeout (couldn't get a babysitter!) so I got a chance to enjoy the fish outside of the restaurant. It was very very good. Fresh yellowtail sashi, 2 different cuts of tuna - lean and medium-fatty, and the fish wasn't cut to the normal Papa-San jumbo proportions. Very good fish and we'll be back for more.

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  • Had a great time. Friendly service and delicious sushi that was served swiftly after our order. The highlight of the food was my starter. Aubergine blocks with a very nice sauce.. can't remember its name but ask for it!

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Facilities

  • Accepts credit cards
  • Booking required
  • Child friendly
  • Dinner
  • Fireplace
  • Food
  • Functions
  • Licensed
  • Lunch
  • Parking
  • Serves food
  • Takeaways

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