One of our favourite restaurants Cantina is known for its Eurocentric cuisine so we were intrigued and delighted when proprietor Klaus proposed a sushi supper. We love this meticulous Japanese cuisine and so do plenty of others – our first dining event of the year was a sell out!
We started the evening with a glass of sake, plus Japanese-inspired cocktails. Cat enjoyed a fruity and aromatic glass of kaede maple, pepped with Jinzu gin and apricot brandy. We then warmed up our chopsticks on a dish of pickles, including samphire and leek.
There’s a standing joke between us and Klaus about the ubiquity of wild horseradish on the Isle of Wight. Wasabi root is a whole other condiment. One of the world’s most expensive crops is grown in similar conditions to watercress. We grated it onto a traditional wooden paddle. The resulting pungent paste was nose-tinglingly hot!
This dish was crispy seaweed and lotus root, fried in a light tempura batter.
All of the sushi was beautifully presented; delicate morsels of (clockwise from top right) delicious omelette and the tenderest duck breast; soused mackerel and salmon sushi rolls; soft smoked salmon and pickled ginger; crab and sea bass. Fantastic!
Miso soup is a traditional Japanese dish made from fermented soybeans; served in Cantina with firm tofu and strips of seaweed.
We were really impressed with the presentation of the dishes and the service. Considering the sushi was all handmade, feeding twenty-five people a dozen or so courses took some logistics. Top work in the kitchen and front of house.
This hot springs egg was a revelation. Cooked for 45 minutes at 64 degrees so the yolk and white had similar textures; sort of soft boiled, but so much weirder – and great!
Silken tofu, topped with two types of caviar.
Look at this sushi! A masterpiece!
The mystery gelato course had us scratching our heads. This gelato had a familiar but savoury flavour – turned out to be olive oil. Sounds odd, but it really worked.
The last of the savoury courses was served in a seaweed cone, which we were encouraged to eat with our fingers. This had vegetarian ‘caviar’ – tapioca – and was served with pickled ginger.
We had three desserts: green tea macaron, wasabi fudge (which got our table very excited) and Cat’s favourite, chocolate-coated custard.
The team at Cantina pulled out all the stops for our epic sushi supper and, certainly at our table, the feedback was absolutely glowing. So much so, there may be a repeat in the autumn. Sign up for our newsletter or keep your eye on our social media to find out when.
Thanks, Klaus, Steffen, Dita, Jo and the rest of the team.