Image from Ebisu Restaurant’s Facebook page
We don’t often make it over to Weston-super-Mare. But on a blazing hot Saturday, the sun shining and the city feeling stiflingly hot, we decided a bit of beach time was needed.
I know Weston has a bit of a mixed reputation, but we love the place. The huge beach, the traditional donkey rides, the thrills of the amusement arcade on the pier…it’s everything that a British seaside visit is supposed to be.
But luckily that doesn’t wholly apply to the town’s food. Sure, there are plenty of chain pubs and restaurants, fast food places and seafront venues selling chips, coffees and doughnuts. But head further away from the beach and into the town, and you’ll find some hidden gems.
One of those – which had been recommended to me just a few days before – is Ebisu Restaurant: a Japanese venue on Regent Street that opened in April 2019. It’s a relaxed, canteen-style setup with a diverse Japanese menu. Everything is prepared and cooked fresh daily, and can be ordered either to eat in or take away.
By the entrance, a chiller cabinet is packed with drinks, fresh sushi boxes, bento boxes and more – and at the back of the restaurant, you’ll find the open-plan kitchen area, where a single chef was busy making sushi, wok-frying noodles and grilling meats while we sat at the table next to him and watched.
We could have sat at the counter on high stools and had a clearer view – but not with the highchair! Orders are taken at the counter, so after grabbing a couple of menus, we sat down to have a look through Ebisu’s offering to decide.
It’s a very diverse menu. As well as the sushi (maki, nigiri, sashimi and California rolls – generally priced between 50p and £1.50 per piece), there are rice dishes, noodles, katsu curries, teppanyaki grilled dishes, bento boxes, donburi rice dishes…we were spoilt for choice. And with most of the main courses around the £10 to £15 mark, they seemed pretty good value for money, too.
The place is licensed, so you’ll find Japanese beers (Asahi and Kirin) on the menu, along with Japanese whisky, gin, vodka and sake – as well as a short selection of wines, beers and ciders from elsewhere in the world, plus hot and soft drinks. We placed our order at the counter and headed back to the table, which was adorned with all the cutlery, chopsticks, napkins, soy sauce and chilli oil we might need.
Looking for speedy Japanese food in Bristol? Try Yakinori on Park Street!
In the end, we both went for the same choice: Ebisu’s Tōgarashi chicken donburi (£10.25). Donburi is essentially a bowl of rice topped with a variety of ingredients – and at Ebisu Restaurant, mixed salad, boiled egg, ginger and pickles come as standard, and you choose which additional meat/fish/vegetarian topping from the menu you’d like.
The Tōgarashi chicken option promised sautéed chicken, mixed veg and chillies in a spicy red sauce. What is Tōgarashi, you ask? It’s a Japanese spice blend that’s commonly used for all sorts of dishes: a bright red mixture generally including chilli, Japanese pepper, sesame, orange peel, seaweed and more – pretty fragrant, and pretty spicy!
It was an attractive – and huge – dish of food, packed with vibrant colours and, from first glance, the promise of plenty of texture and flavour. The chicken certainly had a kick to it, but plenty of aromatic flavour too, while the gently stir-fried peppers, carrots and other veg gave the meal a nice amount of crunch. We weren’t so impressed with the half a boiled egg, its grey-tinged yolk and its texture both making it clear that it had been overboiled, but we loved the juicy pickled ginger and the amount of sauce that soaked through to the rice and imparted it with a ton of flavour.
Neither of us managed to finish the entire bowl – a shame, as I was keen to sample some of the Ebisu dessert menu, which includes ice cream-filled mochi dumplings, green tea cheesecake, chocolate gyoza, and ice cream in flavours that include green tea and black sesame.
I guess it just means we’ll need to head back – no great hardship. It’s by no means the only Japanese restaurant in Weston-super-Mare, but its casual style, competitive pricing and speedy service set it apart from competitors like Yo-Ji and Sakura – not to mention the fact that they offer delivery, too. Open seven days a week, from 10am (12pm on Sundays) through to the evening, we definitely recommend paying them a visit if you’re in the area. Visit the Ebisu Facebook page to find out more!
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