Cape Town: Takumi

By Julia Rowand

The Japanese diner serves arguably the best sushi in town.

Physical Address: 3 Park Road, Gardens, Cape Town.

Open Wednesday to Friday for lunch from 12 to 2pm and Monday to Saturday for dinner from 6pm. Call 021-424-8879.

THE PLACE

Takumi opened in early 2011 in a revamped Victorian building just off Kloof Street in Cape Town. The minimalist restaurant features neat tabling, wooden shutter panelling, hanging ball lights and exposed brick walls. There is a smaller second room for quieter dining and an attractive garden area out the back. Enjoy chilled to pop-style Japanese background music.

THE MENU

The sushi and sashimi on offer include fresh salmon, tuna, linefish, prawn, crabstick and eel (there are also great vegetarian options). Simpler sushi choices, such as the salmon and avocado hand roll (R42) or salmon roses (R55 for four pieces), are sublime, as are the deep-fried salmon skin sushi roll with avocado, cucumber and spicy mayo (R50 for eight pieces). Try the Super Crunch (R75 for eight pieces of tempura prawn sushi with tempura crumbs, caviar and ‘special’ sauce) or Sweet Kiss (R80 for eight salmon, tuna and tempura shrimp sushi rolls with sweet chilli mayo). Other dishes include Miso soup and Japanese noodles with soft shell crab or tofu. For dessert try pumpkin ice cream, green tea tiramisu or a raspberry and banana California roll.

THE CHEF

Hatsushiro Muraoka, better known as Chef Papa San, is a true sushi master. He first came to South Africa from Tokyo in 1989 and worked as a chef before opening Minato’s restaurant in Cape Town in 1996. “He then sold Minato’s and retired to Japan with his wife, but he missed the Cape and his customers and so he came back,” says manageress Janine Venter, who worked with Chef Papa San at Minato’s for five years.

X-FACTORS

Expect great value for money with generous portion sizes and top quality food. Papa San’s secret? There are two very special ingredients in the sauce made for cooking his sushi rice, which he says “no one is ever to know”.

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