Tasting menu at Sabi Sushi Hinna

Sabi Sushi Hinna recently had a number of evenings featuring a special tasting menu with an optional wine package. This seemed like a great excuse to delve into anything other than traditional christmas food. Sabi has a number of outlets and their empire seems to be growing. And with good reason - their menu is diverse with solid pricing. There menu has something for everyone - seasoned sushi enthusiasts and newbies alike. In addition to us on a double date, other patriots at their last event this year were a mix of friends, family and an apparent guys night out.

The Hinna branch accommodates more seating options than their maiden branch in Storhaug - with even a chambre separat of sorts. Our evening was off to a memorable start, with a warm greeting by an enthusiastic and well spoken waitress. If you are new to the sushi scene, don’t be shy about asking the knowledgeable staff. 

The amuse bouche was a welcome introduction to the evening - crab, salmon and spicy cream wrapped in a … pardon me, what was that? Tamago (tamagoyaki - Japanese omelette made by rolling together several layers of cooked egg). A mild combination of seafood wrapped in a not too dominant blanket of eggs. The accompanying white wine on its own, was easy on the palate and certainly had more body with the amuse bouche and starter thereafter. I think I was expecting the usual white wine experience and was pleasantly surprised by the full bodiness.
Conversation flowed and the dishes kept coming. Sterling sashimi with ponzu sauce; beside a seared sliced scallops with wasabi cream. The sterling turned out to be one of my favourites this evening. Norway is blessed with access to great seafood at its shores. And winter it a great time to enjoy some of what the ocean depths has to offer.


Our attention was then drawn to the next serving of wine - which turned out to be champagne. A Geoffroy Empreinte Brut Premier Cru (available at vinmonopolet.no) - characterised as “complex palette of aromas of red fruits” and “airy, bright and vigorous in the mouth” Our trip to the French region of Reims 2 years ago, peaked our interest in this offering. This brut premiere cru was reminiscent of the range we sampled in Reims - not too excessive sugar, the effervescence had me picturing bubbles made by crashing sea waves. 

Which was appropriate as the next dish was: oyster topped with ponzu sauce and deconstructed langoustine with spicy wasabi cream on a bed of ice. Isn’t it pretty? Oysters are tricky - I like them au naturel (fresh from the ocean and not drowned in all sorts to camouflage it’s true flavour before ever reaching me) and others prefer to (drown the fruits of the ocean) season (excessively) with a range of sauces or toppings. This turned out to be a well balanced option to please us all - just the right amount of ponzu sauce and spring onion. 
And then came a short lived reminder of wasabi as part of the Japanese sushi experience. I stress that it was short lived and quickly forgotten. The simplicity of the next dish was exquisite - its not colourful and yet it glistened and made its presence known. Sterling nigiri, lime zest and rock salt. And a streak of wasabi. I haven’t mentioned the rice. It is definitely worth mentioning though, simply because it was a fantastic compliment - held its form and no dry / starchy crunchiness in sight. 
Our next dish was a winner at our table. Flambéed salmon nigiri with mango sauce. Almost looked like the scales were still on the salmon. Mango sauce was creamy and smooth - not too sweet or stark. This was also the stepping stone towards heated dishes.

I guess I should have started with a warning - seafood of all sorts was served this evening. Including some (controversial?) teriyaki glazed, scorched and ginger topped  whale meat. Finding a decent photo was not easy (thank you for sharing Andreas) - most of ours made the whale nigiri look less appetising than it really was. Whale meat is not that easy to work with - perhaps comparable to perfecting that medium raw serving of a marbled steak.

There is an art form to using garlic as a topping. Which I have yet to perfect - I love garlic, so I always go over the top. Our next serving (tuna sashimi with truffle sauce) had 2 slivers of fried garlic. Perfect.

And just when we thought we were done, along came the duck with kumquat. Not quite seafood but also an indication that Sabi has a variety of offerings. Served with an exquisite red wine (Domaine Nicolas Rossignol Volnay 1er Cru Cailleret - no longer available at vinmonopolet).
At this stage we were all comfortably satisfied. And the lychee-ginger sorbet with frozen dried strawberries was perhaps not given its rightful attention. We recently saw that Siddis Cafe is collaborating with Sabi for the delivery of gelatos and sorbets.

We had a lovely evening and this is definitely a concept that I hope Sabi Sushi will continue to offer. The wine pairings were commendable - especially the champagne and red wine (personal preferences, maybe?). A great way to ease into the world of Japanese cuisine or (like us) to flash back to that long ago trip to Japan. Alternatively, Sabi offers a tasting menu which you can enjoy in one of their many branches or in the comfort of your own home. 

Homepage: https://www.sabi.no/ 
Location: Jåttåvågveien 7 - see Google map https://goo.gl/maps/oYSPahnx1x12

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