Shiki Japanese Restaurant is situated in an old, redbrick corner building in Norwich’s beautiful Tombland area. Upon entering, one is greeted by simple, elegant surroundings. Clean white walls, dark wooden furnishings, and golden fairy lights sparkling in the reception area make for an immediately positive impression. The delicious cooking aromas build significantly on this.
Through a wide doorway is the small but well-spaced dining room, furnished with squared-off wooden benches and tables. The effect is simplistic, elegant, and creates a comfortable and communal atmosphere. The staff are very friendly, though not ingratiating, affording just the right level of attention to their customers. The food itself is delicious. The range of options, from simple rice-based mains to endless varieties of sushi and sashimi, resulted in a lot of deliberation. My eventual choice, the teriyaki salmon, had a perfect, melt-in-the-mouth texture. The teriyaki marinade had just the right level of saltiness. The rice, served in a small separate bowl, was almost sticky – but not cloyingly so. My fellow diners and I braved it with chopsticks, but cutlery is available on request.
This dish was perfectly complimented by a bottle of Kirin beer. In addition to wine (including plum wine), Japanese beers and the usual selection of soft drinks, there is a diverse range of sake options available. Be warned, though – at £4 for a bottle of beer, the drinks prices are not student-friendly.
Private functions are also available. One party which arrived during our meal were led through the main dining room to a separate one. Closed off by a curtain, we were able to see the occasional burst of firelight, and a lot of curious chopping noises (not as sinister as it sounds), which I believe may have been a Teppanyaki cooking demonstration.
We were left to stay at our table and talk as long as we liked before paying the bill at the till. I would note that Shiki isn’t suited to a regular student budget; your average main will come to about £10. It is well worth the extra few pounds, though, if you’re looking for a something special, or if it’s on the parents.
Lots of other customers ordered sushi share platters, which may well end up cheaper depending on how many people are dining and how hungry you all are. There is also a very good lunchtime deal available, running from 12-2.30pm, which this writer intends to check out very soon. Forget the rushed, commercial environment of Wagamama: Shiki outstrips it by far.