Moshi Moshi - Brighton

Opticon, Bartholomew Square, Brighton, BN1 1JS

Whilst conveyor-belt sushi bars have become exceedingly popular in the UK - and what a sensible idea they are, even if they reduce the joy of interactivity between yourself and the waiting staff - Moshi Moshi can claim to be the first to introduce the concept to the UK. They also believe in championing other innovative initiatives, particularly that of sustainability, making sure that their fish comes from stocks that are protected from over exploitation. Commendably their Cornish fisherman Chris Bean supplies whatever he has caught on the day, whilst their farmed salmon comes from Loch Duart - a company that they know well, and their chefs have even been there to see their production methods, which avoid some of the negativity that bedevils the industry, leading to a sometimes poor reputation.

Whilst conveyor-belt sushi bars have become exceedingly popular in the UK - and what a sensible idea they are, even if they reduce the joy of interactivity between yourself and the waiting staff - Moshi Moshi can claim to be the first to introduce the concept to the UK.

They also believe in championing other innovative initiatives, particularly that of sustainability, making sure that their fish comes from stocks that are protected from over exploitation. Commendably their Cornish fisherman Chris Bean supplies whatever he has caught on the day, whilst their farmed salmon comes from Loch Duart - a company that they know well, and their chefs have even been there to see their production methods, which avoid some of the negativity that bedevils the industry, leading to a sometimes poor reputation.

Their approach involves leaving sea lochs fallow for one year in three to allow regeneration through wind and tide; whilst the fish food is certified as coming from sustainable resources and the salmon are left to grow at their own pace, in conditions 25% less crowded than average commercial cages, giving them more space to exercise in, leading to a firmer texture to the flesh.

Although the resulting product comes at a higher price, they strongly believe that the benefits of better tasting, textured and healthier salmon are clearly borne out in the cost. They have also dropped most varieties of tuna, except for the yellow fin, as there are larger stocks of that one, though they are continuing to monitor the situation.

If all of this makes them sound too serious, then the converse is that visiting one of their outlets is a most convivial and enjoyable experience, with food quality that lifts them above the general level of Japanese restaurants.

They also manage to avoid some of many clichés of Japanese food by introducing some unusual choices, such as their winter dishes of pork kakuni - succulent pieces of free-range pork belly, slow cooked and simmered in a thickened soy, mirin and sake sauce, served with aubergine, okra and sweet potato or tataki of horse mackerel with a ponzu sauce - this is a highly sought after fish in Japan for its creamy texture and fresh flavour, theirs comes from Cornwall and is best in the winter.

However, they also offer many of the old favourites, such as the nigiri special - a selection of nigiri sushi - one piece each of salmon, tuna, sea bass, squid, prawn, octopus and tamago (sweet omelette), plus a choice of two from freshwater eel, chilli cod roe, salmon eggs, scallop or one piece of sea urchin, and their temaki set - crisp seaweed handrolled cones filled with the following assortment of fillings - one each of teriyaki freshwater eel, salmon and spring onion, grilled teriyaki salmon skin, and crabstick and avocado, served with miso soup. Surprisingly the first dish is only just over £10 in price, and the second is less.

Last, but not least, wine is normally not a strong point in many Japanese restaurants - though they naturally offer a variety of sake including some unusual ones, such as Isake premium red, made from a unique and ancient type of red rice, this junmai sake has a nose of raspberry, cherries and flowers and a silky texture with a refreshing finish - and my favourite Asahi beer, they also boast a small but well chosen list, mainly French, but even including an English sparkling wine.

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Japanese

: 12:00 - 22:30

Reservations: 01273 719195

Opticon, Bartholomew Square, Brighton, BN1 1JS [Map]

N/A    £24.00

(Avg Price is the average cost per person for two courses, coffee, half a bottle of house wine and tip/service)

REVIEWS OF Moshi Moshi - Brighton

Stu (25 August 2003)

Great experience, staff knowledgeable and very helpful, relaxed atmosphere, don't need to be an expert to enjoy just try it!!

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