THE DISH: Savouring sushi in Seattle

Wednesday October 31 2018

Sushi at Japonessa Sushi Cocina in Seattle.

My eventual sushi decision, 'Heatstroke', served at Japonessa Sushi Cocina in Seattle. PHOTO | ABIGAIL ARUNGA 

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While in Seattle, it's important to check out what their shoreline actually looks like, even though it's freezing and you almost can't feel your toes – as close as you can get to frostbite.

And no, it’s not because you enjoy pain, but because the beauty of the water. Even on a cold day, it is still magnificent.

As you go up on the Ferris Wheel (hopefully), try not to think of how deep the water that's holding up all these ferries and ships must be.

When you get back down to earth and catch your breath, walk into town a little bit and see for yourself the infamous market district – namely, Pike Place Market, which holds varied attractions such as theatre and street side performers.

And, of course, it also has the gum wall – if you want to leave your mark in Seattle, apparently, you stick a piece of gum on a wall that has other pieces of gum on it. A bit like the bridge with the padlocks in Paris, but infinitely less attractive.

Caffe Mocha Mousse Cake.

Caffe Mocha Mousse Cake served at Japonessa Sushi Cocina in Seattle. PHOTO | ABIGAIL ARUNGA


As you walk by the men in aprons selling fish (quite loudly), you may cross the street and notice a foreboding Art Museum – Seattle is full of art – but all the walking will have done you in and instead of walking towards the museum, you walk towards the sushi restaurant on the corner. After all, you've been listening to people all morning trying to sell fish, so you might as well go straight to the source, no?

Japonessa Sushi Cocina is one of my nephew's favourite sushi restaurants.

Sushi Cocina, according to the all-knowing interwebs, is a restaurant offering sushi, sashimi and speciality rolls with a Latin twist, and is known for an extensive happy hour as well.

I notice this immediately when we are shown to our seats and given the menus – their happy hour includes not just traditional Japanese sake and cocktails, but a happy hour for sushi as well.

Their sushi creations have an added tropical flavour, with some sushi platters coming with raspberry soy glaze, and even mango, or strawberry.

I'm not feeling particularly adventurous today, so I stick to what I know with a touch of jalapeño (see the Latin twist?), a platter called Heatstroke.

When I order sushi in Kenya, I expect small, delicate platters done in six rolls the length of my hand. Not so at Japonessa. The plate that comes before me is nearly two and a half times what I'm used to. I relish it but I am also very surprised by it!

Japonessa Sushi Cocina in Seattle

The Japonessa Sushi Cocina in Seattle. PHOTO | ABIGAIL ARUNGA


I make my way through it slowly, and finish it like an African child who has been told too many times that there are people all over the world starving and you should never leave food on your plate.

I do regret not having the sake, especially since I'm not driving, but I decide to have a dessert instead, which I also regret. There was almost no space for it after that giant sushi meal, and, if we're being honest, it wasn't that great.

I guess that teaches me that I should not go to a Japanese restaurant and order a Caffe Mocha Mousse Cake? Doesn't sound too Japanese, I guess?

But, if you have it on the menu, as I always say, I then expect that you should be able to do it well, otherwise don't put it on the menu at all.

I try my other nephew's green tea ice cream, which I like, which tastes exactly like green tea, which I strangely don't like.

The fact that he is even willing to try that is a large step for him – unlike Nephew Number 1, he's never even tried sushi before, and we had to convince him not to order the grilled chicken. At a sushi restaurant!

I don't think we made his first experience any easier – sushi is, after all, an acquired taste, not acquired over one cold afternoon in Seattle.


Wondering where to get the 411 on what's happening in and around Nairobi's foodie scene? There's a lot of places you could go, but here's where we want you to be – getting the dish on the dish. Get it? We knew you would.