She Sells Sushi -From the Market Stall, Wine Street/Tobacco Factory Market -Bristol

Japanese food, in Bristol, can be a very hit and miss affair. Usually I try to stockpile my cravings for trips to the capital: hoovering up ramen; popping umami rich onsen tamago and ordering colour coded small plates that stack into not inconsiderable towers. Sometimes, these cravings get the better of me and the need for frilly, crisp tempura, or the wasabi spiked hit of sushi, just cannot wait. Often this leads to disappointment, but that was until I found She Sells Sushi.

It was actually the ditsy print cloth covering She Sell's stall, that first caught my eye. Bright red with tiny stylised prawns, stare long enough for a dotty negative image. I must admit that when I first tried the sushi, I had little expectation, but I'm pleased to say it is a delight. Best of all, it is clearly hand rolled and fresh.

Simmered in mirin and soy, one of my favourites is the Tsukudani, made with kombu. The kombu has a slightly gelatinous texture, yet still retains a crunch. Iodine rich and saline, it is beautifully balanced by the sweet yet sour tang of mirin and topped with sesame.

Chopped as you might for steak tartare, marinated yellowfin tuna fills a delicate sesame seed tuille. Sweet and smoky, a piping of wasabi and thinly sliced chives give it a little kick. Not always available, if you see it, do try one.

Another corker is the Somerset beef nigiri. Tender, seared and thinly sliced; it is topped with a little wasabi and a sprinkling of fiery togorashi. Pop one of these into your mouth to enliven a jaded palate.

Recent additions include aburi style salmon nigiri: fatty salmon belly lightly grilled topside, yet still raw underneath. Rich and extravagant, it is almost buttery. Brown crab meat onigiri, or rice balls, have the taste of the sea, spiked with the smoky nuttiness of black sesame. Whilst the white crab meat, lemon scented, sits atop rice, wrapped in fresh, cool, cucumber.
Steamed gyoza are also not to be missed. Dipped into a soy and mirin sauce, the soft wrappers yield minced Somerset pork, vibrantly flavoured with ginger and spring onion. Particularly pleasing on a damp Bristol day.

Now, if only She could be convinced into making ramen too...

Catch She Sells Sushi at various markets around Bristol -find her Market Diary here

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