Another year without a sushi restaurant setting up home in Sunderland.
I marked the sad occasion by taking my fella to Newcastle’s award-winning St Sushi restaurant.
Since opening in 2006, it has ditched the conveyor belt concept in favour of more than 100 Japanese dishes.
We opted to share a pork belly bento box – a Japanese packed lunch for grown ups – and a bowl of grilled eel noodle soup.
Despite my love of Japanese food, I’ve always passed over the bento box concept for other treats.
Lesson learnt, thanks to St Sushi. Slick pieces of pork belly, fresh chunks of salmon sashimi, four smaller pieces of vegetable sushi and an assortment of rice and pickles, for just under a tenner, was excellent value.
Our eel and soup base arrived separately, so we could add chunks as we munched, rather than letting the meat flake away into the liquor.
The sweet eel meat wrapped itself around the thick white udon noodles in a pretty good ratio – it’s a pet hate of mine to be left with nothing but a heap of noodles.
We were also happy to see a separate box of pickled ginger, soy and wasabi, so we could add fire at our leisure.
Luckily my traditional green tea was topped up at regular intervals by the attentive staff.
As well as the sushi of the restaurant’s name (and fame), there’s also tempura, Japanese curry, stir fry, dumplings and an extensive range for vegetarians.
We didn’t fancy desserts, as they’re not usually the forte of Asian cuisine, but if pounded sticky rice and deep-fried apple are your thing, they’re here.
With a beer for the boyfriend, our meal came to £25.