Sushi, sashimi, excuse me if they're bloody different: the gammon food critic goes Japanese

Restaurant reviews by Justin Tanner, our retired food critic who thinks LGBTQ+ is a TV shopping channel

I’M going healthy in 2023. Got to. The doctor’s been unequivocal about it. So I’m only smoking in the pub, I’m cutting the pub to five nights a week, and I’m eating Japanese. 

They said the Nipponese cuisine is up there with the healthiest in the world. There’s always one of the buggers living to 115 so it must be true. So I’m booked in at this place with no idea what I’m getting, except rice.

First surprise? Sushi isn’t raw fish. Apparently that’s sashimi. Sushi’s vinegared rice wrapped in seaweed, so suddenly raw fish doesn’t seem so bad. Honestly I can’t decide which I want less. If God had intended me to eat raw fish he’d have made me a fucking seal.

There’s also another variation combining raw fish and rice called Nigiri, which sounds racist to me. They are, of course, over there. Most racist nation on Earth I’ve heard. The woke keep that quiet.

Second surprise? The portions are laughable. There’s not a bite in them. Given I’m gagging on raw mackerel it’s a blessing in diguise, but how they had the strength to bomb Pearl Harbour I’ll never know.

I wash it down with saké, which is at least alcohol, but it’s utter filth. A surreptitious under-the-table Google reveals it’s bloody rice as well. Rice? To make wine? How’s this supposedly ancient culture never heard of grapes? I pour it into a plant that’ll be dead by morning.

There’s also katsu curry on the menu, which I recognise from the ready-meal chillers at the Co-op. In fairness it’s not bad, like a McChicken sandwich with half a jar of chip shop curry sauce. That’s how I’ll make it at home. Still it’s all that saved this from total disaster.

I leave hungry – of course I do – so I stop off for a kebab on the way home, musing as I go that some cultures have proudly earned their place providing food for hungry Brits, and others are shit. There won’t be a fucking Wagamamas around in ten years. They’ll be pound shops.

Positives? I ate raw fish, so I’ve got the necessary skills to survive complete societal breakdown such as we’ve got coming. But would I enjoy it? Would I bollocks.

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My five promises to the UK are - 'Five promises, five pledges, you are such a Blair fanboy,' my wife interrupts

From the diary of Rishi Sunak, the UK’s prime minister for 2023

THEY weren’t five pledges. They were five promises, which is different. ‘Oh my God,’ my wife says, ‘even Liam Gallagher is not as nostalgic for 1997.’ 

‘I just thought,’ I explain while wearing a crisp white shirt with the top two buttons undone, like a sincere, relaxed guy would, ‘that five would be a memorable number. You know. For a mass audience.’

‘Please,’ Akshata says, ‘even the thick British with their substandard maths education can count to six. It is just so obvious that you are doing Blair in brownface. It’s offensive. It is actually racist. What were these promises anyway?’

‘Pledges,’ I reply, deftly sidestepping right into her trap. ‘Well, there’s halving inflation, cutting waiting lists, stopping small boats… growing the economy… no rise in income tax…’

‘Okay. So one that will happen anyway, two that will not, one that has a bad name after the Truss cretin and the last one is not yours, it is New Labour’s. Seriously what? This is more bogus than Be Here Now.’ 

Akshata’s my harshest critic. It’s what’s so amazing about our marriage, I said once and she non-verbally agreed. ‘This is an empty pledge basket,’ she continues, ‘and you’re the dickhead offering it round. Who came up with this shit?’

‘I worked late into the night,’ I counter, proudly. ‘Don’t you remember? The lights were on?’ ‘Ah. I was in New York,’ she admits. ‘I told you but you didn’t hear? Met Blair actually. With Wendi Deng at the United Nations party.’

‘What?’ I answer, wide-eyed. ‘Did he say anything about me?’ ‘Got you,’ my wife sneers. ‘So pathetic. He wasn’t there, he was on DiCaprio’s yacht. You sad little Blair fanboy.’