I’ve always had a problem with the clichéd, cut-and-dried perception of Japanese raw fish preparations being something you either love or hate.
What sort of barbarian, after all, dismisses an ancient and intricately nuanced culinary art, just because they can’t get over the thought that the ingredients haven’t been cooked into submission prior to consumption?
Not me that’s for sure, and I felt cer- tain as I geared up for a crash course in the Zen art of sushi and sashimi at the spanking new Bahrain branch of Yo Sushi, that my experience would provide me with the kind of insight that would make such snap judgements seem even more ridiculous.
The scene was set for a momentous morning. I had arrived at around 10.30am with plenty of time for a few false starts before the lunchtime rush. The Filipino whiz kids in the central preparation area were chopping, slicing and shaping with masterful speed and ease, and the daft-looking hairnet I had been presented with before being allowed near food, fit my hefty Anglo-Saxon head like a glove.
All that was left for me to do was heed the mystic wisdom of my sushi sage Allan, wield the samurai sword…er, knife, like a rapier and make a decent stab at hewing delicate slices of meat from a giant salmon, and the experience would have been a fulfilling one. Which makes it even more embarrassing to report that, not even 20 minutes later, I would be staring at a mutilated hunk of prime fish, blushing at my incompetence and cursing Japanese cuisine with a vehemence as incoherent as that of any other utter ignoramus.