While appearing deceptively simple, a great piece of sushi is a work of art.
The rice must be at the right temperature and consistency (sticky enough to hold together as you pop it in your mouth and still fall apart lightly as you eat it).
The fish must be fresh, yet perfectly aged and cut for tenderness. Each piece firm and shiny, and never wet or greasy.
Without further ado, this is what we have to share with you from the top five!
1. Jack Salmon
Tiffany’s Centre, Salt Rock
Spicy, tangy and texturally diverse, Jack Salmon’s sushi is in the conversation for the top Best of Ballito winner.
With fresh ingredients at every turn and perfectly cooked tempura, this is truly a can’t miss for North Coast sushi lovers.
The Courier was treated to an off-the-menu tasting platter of 15 pieces which included salmon sashimi, seared tuna chilli roses, tempura prawn bamboo rolls, prawn nadare and Jack’s loaded salmon roses.
It would have cost just over R200, with all of the aforementioned pieces available on their own too.
Typically for this reviewer, sashimi and tempura options are hit or miss depending on the restaurant, but when done right it makes a huge difference.
You get something new with every bite, whether pops of salmon roe or crunchy tempura crisp coupled with deliciously fresh and melt-in-your-mouth sashimi.
Add in refreshing wasabi and pickled ginger palate cleansers and you have a luxurious, but not overwrought feast.
2. 45 On Eat Street
Ballito Lifestyle Centre
The sushi at 45 On Eat Street is assembled with quality ingredients and skill.
The restaurant has a wide range available, from classics such as Salmon Roses (R95) to speciality creations such as the Prawn Dunk (a tempura crumbed prawn California roll topped with a tempura prawn and mayo – R80), and the Hayashi Roll (rice roll and seaweed nori filled with tempura prawn and avo, wrapped with salmon, tuna and avo and topped with mayo, sweet chilli, eel sauce, 45 spicy sauce, sesame seeds and spring onions – R85).
Every piece on our plate was delicious, but the Salmon Roses in their simplicity were outstanding. The salmon was generous and the rice just right. The Prawn Dunk too, took us directly to food heaven.
The popular restaurant at the heart of Eat Street is known for top class food to be enjoyed in a sophisticated yet casual setting.
From the bathrooms to the table settings, every detail has been beautifully crafted to create a bespoke setting.
If you want a table over a weekend make sure you book in advance. While not part of this review, you will also want to check out their dessert menu.
3. Ocean Basket
12B Compensation Beach Road, Ballito
While enjoying the calm sea breeze and ocean view, we were treated to the Sushi for One platter.
For R150, you can enjoy a 14-piece sushi platter consisting of four salmon California rolls, four prawn California rolls, three prawn Nigiri and three avo Maki rolls.
The meal was an absolute delight! Every piece fully delivered on flavour and texture and the ingredients were so fresh the sushi melted in your mouth.
Those California rolls will definitly have us coming back for more.
4. Friend House Ballito
26 Sandra Road, Ballito
Dealing with 12 pieces of sushi usually does not feel like a daunting task, with many patrons likely to choose an option which offers more.
But Friend House Ballito certainly does not skimp on the size in their sushi offerings.
While the rice could have been stickier, the overall quality of the Combo 3 (R105) was great.
We tried out the combo made up of prawn avalanches, bamboo prawns and cream towers.
From the crunchy and crispy prawns to the fresh salmon, we were happy overall with the selection.
5. John Dory’s
Shop 227, Ballito Junction Regional Mall
Arriving at John Dory’s the great welcoming and excellent service set the scene for a good dining experience.
Inspecting the menu, the “build your own” option looked like a great call.
Some of our favourites included the Tempura Rainbow rolls (R63): Four Tempura prawn California rolls with delicate slivers of salmon and avo, topped with Sriracha sauce, mayo and caviar; the Prawn Avolanche (R63): Three prawn California rolls, topped with half a tempura prawn and spicy mayo sauce; and The Bomb (R63): Four Prawn California Rolls topped with delicate slivers of salmon and tuna, Kewpie mayo and caviar drizzled with Yakitori sauce.
The sushi was very fulling and satisfying. A great place and vibe for a relaxing date night.