Food Review: Higoi, Lenton BoulevardFriday, October 01, 2010 By Sarah Gillett
LENTON Boulevard might not be the first place in the city you'd head to for top-class cuisine, but sandwiched in between the kebab shops, Blockbuster and Sainsbury's Local is the frosted-glass frontage of Higoi.
For many months now I have been intrigued by the tiny Japanese restaurant, wondering what lies behind its understated exterior.
At first I was reluctant to try a sushi restaurant in the heart of studentville. But after hearing assurances from colleagues and reading glowing reviews on the restaurant's website, it was with a sense of anticipation that we headed to Higoi.
Being relatively inexperienced in the art of sushi, my companion and I both plumped for one of the restaurant's set menus. For £25 each you receive a selection of the restaurant's best dishes, perfect for those who are not so confident at ordering Japanese food. I chose the chicken teriyaki and tempura dinner, while he opted for the beef fillet steak and karaage chicken dinner.
Both meals began with a bowl of aged tofu - which must surely be vying for the title of least-appealingly-named-starter-ever, but was in fact a very pleasant surprise.
Chunks of bean curd were served in a delicately flavoured broth, with hints of ginger and lemongrass, which cleansed the palate for the next course.
And what a course it was.
Each dinner consisted of a large tray, divided into compartments, filled with a range of tempting dishes.
On my tray I had some huge, crunchy tempura prawns, a selection of sushi rolls, rice, salad and a large helping of chicken teriyaki, but the highlight was the kabayaki salmon, which was deliciously sweet and flavoursome.
My companion's tray contained many of the same dishes but had beef instead of chicken teriyaki in it - which was so good I stole a substantial portion of it for myself!
The meal was finished off with a serving of ice cream, garnished with fresh fruits. Not the most imaginative of desserts, but the main course was always going to be the star of the show.
If it's small and intimate you are looking for then Higoi is certainly the place - with just a handful of tables and a tiny bar at the back.
The decor is simple but welcoming, with warm red walls and plain wooden furniture - combined with the pretty ceramic chopstick holders and dipping bowls on the table, the effect is more like sitting in someone's front room than a restaurant.
This is not necessarily a bad thing, but on the evening we visited we were one of only two couples in there. Once the others had left and we were on our own, it did begin to feel a little like we were outstaying our welcome.
Every member of staff who served us was polite enough, but there was little effort to engage in any conversation, and as we left the restaurant at just after 10pm and heard the key turn in the door behind us, we couldn't help feeling like the naughty children who had kept everybody up past bedtime.
Although there was no disputing the quality of the food, the prices are not cheap and what could have been a real gem of a find, just didn't quite live up to expectations.
Next time, I will be going back on a weekend and hoping for a side-serving of atmosphere with my salmon.
"Pioneer is still going strong..."
LENTON Boulevard might not be the first place in the city you'd head to for top-class cuisine, but sandwiched in between the kebab shops, Blockbuster and Sainsbury's Local is the frosted-glass frontage of Higoi
HIGOI JAPANESE RESTAURANT
57 Lenton Boulevard, Nottingham NG7 2FQ Tel: 0115 942 3379
Tues, Wed & Thurs 6:30pm 10:30pm Last order 9:00
Closed: Sunday and Monday