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Review: Ciscoe’s Sushi and Asian Restaurant “The dishes that did work made up for those that didn’t blow me away”

PUBLISHED: 15:23 28 August 2018 | UPDATED: 15:37 28 August 2018

The Full on Futomaki at Ciscoe's. Picture: Archant

The Full on Futomaki at Ciscoe's. Picture: Archant

Archant

Ciscoes is one of the few places in Norwich which residents will tell you: “You *have* to go to.”

The duck teriyaki and the shumi small dishes. Picture: ArchantThe duck teriyaki and the shumi small dishes. Picture: Archant

And following a trip this week I would be inclined to agree, however wouldn’t overly rely on the vehement recommendations.

Let’s start with the menu, which has a wide range of pan-Asian dishes, and a decent mixture of vegetable and meat or fish dishes.

We started with some of the small dishes, which were the highlight of the meal for us and kicked the evening off to a good start.

The teriyaki duck was exceptional. The meat was beautifully cooked, slightly crisped on the outside without the meat drying out. The sauce was also brilliant- it made you realise that this is how all teriyaki should taste, and was a far cry from the offerings on supermarket shelves.

The miso soup. Picture: ArchantThe miso soup. Picture: Archant

Similarly, the pork and prawn shumi lived up to its description of “plump and juicy”.

The prawns, sourced within Norfolk, were deliciously fresh and cooked to perfection.

Likewise, the pastry on the shumi was thin and crisp, the filling equally delicious.

I also opted for a miso soup, which wasn’t quite to my taste.

The Manilla Madness dish. Note: this picture only shows two pieces, there are four. Picture: ArchantThe Manilla Madness dish. Note: this picture only shows two pieces, there are four. Picture: Archant

I prefer my miso to be quite salty, whereas this had a strangely fishy taste.

I did however like the addition of mushrooms to the soup, and the tofu was fluffy and light.

Unsure of how much sushi the main dishes would bring, we also had a small dish of tempura prawns which were also lovely.

The batter was light and accompanied by the best sweet chilli jam I’ve ever had.

The Manilla Madness dish. Note: this picture only shows two pieces, there are four. Picture: ArchantThe Manilla Madness dish. Note: this picture only shows two pieces, there are four. Picture: Archant

This jam was another highlight for us, as it had a real kick of chilli and complimented the delicate taste of the fish.

The main dishes we chose are where we were a bit let down.

We chose the Manilla Madness and the Full on Futomaki. I would advise to ignore the pictures on the menu which make the plates look fairly delicate, because in reality the rolls themselves are huge.

Perhaps this is what contributed to the general overloaded-ness of the dishes.

The tempura prawns. Picture: ArchantThe tempura prawns. Picture: Archant

Of the two, we preferred the futomaki roll. However, because it had been fried in a very generous layer of tempura, you lost the flavour of the individual ingredients. We were left asking each other: “What fish am I eating?”

Likewise, I think I would have preferred a few of the rolls to be filled with tempura-fried fish instead of the whole piece being fried.

The Manilla Madness sushi pieces were equally as large. Adding mango sauce to the rolls of tuna, yellow tail tuna, salmon and prawn, was a stroke of genius.

However because all of these fish were put into one roll it resulted in a fairly rice-heavy dish which was a bit overwhelming.

The Full on Futomaki. Picture: ArchantThe Full on Futomaki. Picture: Archant

Would I go again? I’d be lying if I said I can’t wait to go back. If a friend was desperate to try it then I’d give it another shot, but I’d rather spend my money somewhere I know would impress me on every level.

Drink

A good selection of Asian beers including Chang and Tiger, as well as herbal teas and soft drinks.

It’s just a shame our waitress forgot them.

When the drinks did turn up (after we’d finished the starters) my drink had a straw ceremoniously stuck in the top. Call me a snob but when you’re paying £50 for a meal, I’d rather have a glass than be slurping away like I’m in a fast food restaurant.

Interior/atmosphere

I’m impressed by what they’ve done with a fairly standard building. It had a relaxed and cosy feel without being stuffy.

I particularly liked the fact that you could sit at the kitchen seats and watch the chefs whilst they worked, I think for food enthusiasts this element would bring a lot to the experience.

Service

This was where Ciscoe’s seriously let itself down, to the extent where I won’t bother going back.

Firstly, it’s near impossible to reserve a table over the phone. After the fourth call went unanswered I just went in myself.

Ironically when we arrived at the restaurant there were no waiters to be found, meaning I mistakenly accosted a customer trying to find my table.

And when we did get there, our drinks were forgotten about for at least 40 minutes.

Two of our small plates arrived, but the third came when we’d already finished the other two. As a result we ended up having a strange prawn amuse-bouche between courses.

And then came the wait.

Despite the chefs churning out orders for delivery, we and other diners were apologised to for the ‘long wait’.

Admittedly there were only two members of staff on the floor, but given the fact they had a maximum occupancy of about 20 I feel like it doesn’t excuse the mishaps.

The fact that one was milling around looking at his mobile whilst I was trying to ask for the bill was particularly irritating.

Checking my watch on the way out after a hasty payment, we’d been in there a little over two hours.

Loos

Pleasant enough, as you’d expect from the restaurant’s ambience as a whole.

Made for a nice change of scene during “the wait”.

Parking

Anywhere in central Norwich will be a short walk away. The car park on Rouen Road is probably closest- however you will have to contend with a hill on the way up.

Location

It felt nicely ‘secret’ for such a central location, tucked just behind John Lewis on Ber Street,

Price

I’m sorry to say I think for the combination of service we received and a couple of dishes that were a bit underwhelming, it grated to pay £50 for two of us.

The large sushi platters for £36 looked a better deal, so perhaps that would be the one to go for.

Highlight

It has to be the teriyaki duck.

In summary:

Fun to try if you’re looking for something knew.

Score:

Food: 4/5

Value: 3/5

Three things you must try:

1. The teriyaki duck

2. The pork and prawn shumi

3. The tempura prawns

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