Hit or miss? The new Japanese restaurant on campus reviewed

PSA: it only has three meal options

Talk of the Japanese restaurant due to open up in Portland was the only topic of conversation you could hear whilst struggling to eat your slice of pizza in the food court at lunchtime last term. It’s fair to say that the opening of the brand-new Japanese Restaurant on the top floor of the Portland Building had been highly anticipated by all students for a good couple of months before it opened. For those of us who live off Spar meal deals, the promise of a new cuisine was like a Christmas present come early.

As soon as it opened my friend and I were in the queue, eager to be some of the first customers through its doors. The restaurant is always buzzing with students who obviously cannot resist the mouth-watering feasts it has to offer. The queue is usually pretty long too so I would advise avoiding going at around 1pm, otherwise your rumbling tummy will be heard by everyone in the vicinity, making you wish you’d have just gone and picked up that meal deal instead.

In all fairness, it’s a nice room to queue and eat in. The décor somehow manages to transport you out of the Portland Food Court, and into a more vibrant and colourful space. The pink blossom tree in the centre of the room, although fake, is a nice nod to Japanese culture and soothes the soul in a way only nature can, while the bright canvases on the walls add some vibrancy to the atmosphere.

After swiftly placing my order there came the slightly awkward part of not knowing where to stand while you wait. I can always guarantee that wherever it is I decide to place myself, someone will always need to get past me. The wait for food is surprisingly short, and soon enough I had my tray of hot, tasty food.

So far, the katsu curry is my favourite dish and reminded me of the Wagamama’s version. The chicken is tender and juicy, the rice nice and sticky, and the sauce is exactly what one would hope for from a katsu sauce. I was also a huge fan of the little salad on the side as it’s a small but nice addition which perfectly completes the dish. My friend had the tofu version as she is a vegan queen and loved it.

The chicken ramen bowl was also really good, and I was given the choice of egg or rice noodles which was a nice touch. The bowl was full of flavour and was, again, well cooked and presented. Whilst it wasn’t my favourite dish, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and it left me feeling full and satisfied.

Whilst it is more expensive than most of the other lunch options on campus, the food is definitely worth spending that extra little bit of money on as I would say it is of the standard of a normal restaurant experience. Proof of this can be seen in the fact the food comes served on decent crockery and with a range of cutlery options. I personally would give it a solid five stars.

My friend and I had a great experience at the restaurant as we valued being able to sit down and enjoy some delicious food along with some top-notch conversation. I also couldn’t help but notice that the queue for the Japanese Restaurant which stretched out the door was a lot longer than the practically non-existent line for Starbucks.

Overall, I would say that dining at the Japanese Restaurant is a must-do for any Notts student. It is especially great if you are looking for a healthy, affordable, and filling meal and don’t have lots of time on your hands. The popularity of the restaurant speaks for itself, and I am sure it will only get better as more students discover the delights it holds.

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