The opening of a decent independent restaurant in Cardiff Bay is always a cause for celebration.
Every unique, family-run, passion-driven place which opens means a redressing of the balance against the identikit Gourmet Waganandos Expresses.
It’s not that I’m anti-chain, it’s just the number of ‘em down the Bay makes it feel a bit like any high street in any city and not the distinctive destination which is home to Welsh government and Cardiff's most interesting architecture.
Yakitori#1 is the Bay’s newest Japanese restaurant.
The décor is light, clean, modern and utilitarian – exactly what you’d expect.
Their menu is pleasingly familiar territory too – there are hot appetisers (yakitori, tempura, miso soup, etc.), a huge selection of sushi, a few salads and good range of noodle & rice dishes (katsu curry, ramen, etc.)
Whilst Yakitori#1’s prices are steeper than other Japanese restaurants in the city, their fish (supplied by the royal-warranted Channel Fisheries) is the best I’ve eaten in Cardiff.
We started with a few beers whilst we selected more food than 3 people should be able to eat.
First up were chicken gyoza (£5.60). Crisp, thin, bubbly cases cocooned a juicy chicken and chive filling.
A selection of textbook hand rolls followed (they’ll be making an appearance on the menu in the next couple of weeks around the £3.50 mark).
Crisp nori, room temperature rice, cucumber, a couple of leaves and a generous quantity of protein were all as should be.
The silky salmon and avocado...
...and crisp chicken katsu with marie rose sauce were inhaled with equal ferocity.
A 12-piece sushi platter (£17.95) was first-rate - 3 pieces each of meaty tuna, tender salmon, whopping prawns and yielding avocado with saline seaweed.
Next were maki rolls - the generosity of filling elevating them above others I’ve eaten.
Sweet-glazed, tender teriyaki chicken and cucumber rolls (£7.50) were topped with creamy marie rose and salty seaweed.
Salmon and avocado rolls (£9.50) were filled with avocado, sweet crabstick and topped with seaweed, salty roe and a liberal amount of fish.
We finished the meal with an excellent plate of yaki soba (£12.95). 3 huge prawns crowned a bowl of lightly soy-glazed noodles flecked with chicken, peppers, shallots, pak choi and carrot.
Yakitori#1’s supremely good sushi is a welcome addition to Cardiff Bay.
Next time you’re visiting, ditch the chains and check out this excellent independent.
Disclosure - I was invited as a guest of Yakitori#1. All food and drink was complimentary.
Address - Unit 10, Mermaid Quay, Cardiff Bay, Cardiff CF10 5BZ
Telephone - 02920 495050