Wednesday, 5 December 2012
Ichiro, Cambridge, UK
I was really looking forward to visiting Ichiro the other week. I'd heard some good things about this restaurant serving both Japanese and Malaysian food, so was happy to schlep through the cold and rain to get to their recently opened site opposite the neon delights of the 'Leisure Park'.
We were given a warm welcome as we walked into the near empty restaurant, and I was therefore quite prepared to overlook the fact the tablecloth had some random staining on it, and our green tea arriving in a stripey Whittards teapot. The male companion person and I weren't sure whether to stick to the Malaysian or Japanese dishes, but eventually plumped for the latter apart from a starter of roti canai with chicken curry. The roti (or paratha as I would call them) were very good, light and flaky with a slight chew. I tasted a bit of the curry gravy, despite the risk of meat contamination, but was quite disappointed with its slightly acrid taste of insufficiently cooked ground spices.
I've never had takoyaki before, so thought I'd give them a try too. These balls of batter with an octopus filling were pretty tasty. I've nothing to compare them too, but I liked the mild taste of seafood surrounded by a crisp coating.
So a decent enough start before moving onto a bento box each for our main course. I had a mixed tempura bento, and though the prawns and vegetables were relatively oil-free, the batter was quite thick and not the light and airy coating I'd been hoping for. Also in the box were some pieces of omelette, a sort of mashed potato salad, a pineapple and cucumber salad, with quite a lot of rice. And a side of miso soup. Everything was perfectly acceptable, just not particularly remarkable or exciting.
It was at this point that things took a bit of a downturn. I would have considered some mochi for dessert or another drink, but unfortunately the two front of house staff were too busy cooing at each other to notice that we'd finished with our bento boxes. After about 20 minutes of sitting in a still near empty restaurant, hoping someone might take away the dishes, or ask if we wanted anything else, we gave up and the MCP went up to the counter to ask for the bill. This was an unexpectedly irritating end to the evening. So overall, Ichiro didn't turn out to be anything terribly special, and my initially high hopes were dashed. To be fair it wasn't a massively expensive dinner either, and our meal (with non-alcoholic drinks, and including service) came to around £45.
On the basis of their parathas, perhaps their Malaysian dishes are more enjoyable. And I would be prepared to go back to try some of these out. But probably not right away.
8 Homerton Street
Cambridge CB2 8NX