Sushi Life, The Globe Centre, 5, Wellfield Rd, Cardiff CF24 3PE; Tel: 02920 459703 www.sushilife.co.uk
I rarely turn to Trip Advisor for tips, as the views expressed are often polar opposites. But on occasion it lends a frame of reference, especially with restaurants that consistently hit the mark. Sushi Life, on Wellfield Road, is a case in point – it’s been at number one in the ‘moderately priced Cardiff restaurants’ category for what feels like an age. So, over a year after it opened in April 2017, I got round to booking a table – only to wait another fortnight, due to the high demand. Put simply, it was worth the wait! What I found, to my delight, was a buzzy, chatter-filled space, with some of the most impressive, fresh-tasting dishes in Wales. Although no expert on Cardiff sushi, I still pine for the peppered tuna at the turn-of- the-millenium hotspot Zushi, and quite frankly I’m ashamed that it’s taken me this long to discover this Penylan-based treasure. It’s the brainchild of Chef Cornel Chiriac from Moldova, who runs it with his artist wife Maria. To add to the multi-cultural hot-pot, he originally trained in the art of sushi in Denmark, before landing at Yakitori, Mermaid Quay, in 2014. Well thank goodness say I; Cardiff is definitely all the richer for Sushi Life. It’s the perfect introduction to high quality sushi and sashimi, along with heart- warming noodle dishes. Forget the zushi-train experience (as plates whizz by you via conveyor- belt); this is a far more refined affair, that includes a wine menu with an international flair. Expecting salt-overload, the German Muscadet was a tad sweet for my taste; perfectly suited to the food, however, was the ripe gooseberry flavours of the Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. Our Maki Roll starters were presented on a traditional wooden plate, and were almost too pretty to eat. But the Chicken Teriaki rice morsels were gobbled with glee, with the cucumber and avocado lending a satisfying crunch, and added zest. My sisters and I all plumped for exactly the same main – a bowl of the rich Beef Udon Noodles. It put all local chain-noodle- joints to shame, thanks to the freshness of the thick rice noodles, topped with an umami-rich crispy onion garnish. I was far too full for dessert, but did plump for the Plum Sake wine – what an elegant ending to an evening of revelations. I was back the next day for the mango-and strawberry-topped Prawn Tempura Maki take-away; what can I say? It really blew me away. Healthy and hearty, unpretentious, yet arty. I now happily subscribe to the Sushi Life way of life!