Restaurant Review: Art in the raw

10 February 2016 - 02:10 By Andrea Nagel

Art Deco and sushi don't, at first, appear to have anything in common, but they're actually pretty complementary. Both are characterised by their simple, stylised geometric forms, and each is synonymous with sophistication. So it makes sense that one of the newest restaurants on Nelson Mandela Square, specialising in exotic sushi (and the classics), would choose an Art Deco theme for its interior design.The Big Mouth is a classy take on a contemporary diner - with long marble counters lined with slick black swivel chairs, semicircular blue booths, brass- topped tables and elegant black and white checked floors. Breaking the monotony of black and white are brass accents - huge half-circles set into the marble walls and fabulous Art Deco rod lights with a multitude of round bulbs.The menu is twofold - sushi and grill. From the grill they serve food from around the globe including dim sum, mussel pots and tempura. Lobster rolls (lobster and prawn in a brioche with mayo watercress, smoked paprika and fries), charcoal grilled seabass and rib eye with bone marrow sauce were tempting, but then we saw the plates of sushi carried out of the kitchen.Do yourself a favour and order from the ''signature sushi" side of the menu. We had the crispy rice - spicy salmon or tuna in crispy rice squares with avo, caviar, soya, sesame and vinaigrette; sushi tacos - salmon or tuna with avo, creme fraise, toasted sesame seeds and red cabbage; and crispy no-rice rolls - tuna, salmon and prawn with avo, nori (seaweed), and tempura fried with Sriracha sauce.When our plates arrived the reason behind the name of the restaurant became apparent - let's just say it's not the best place to take someone on a first date unless you feel comfortable with opening wide.If you've a little space left over before dessert, I recommend the ceviche, either salmon with lemongrass and lime, or tuna with pomegranate and Sezchuan pepper. But do save place for dessert - while your sushi meal is fresh and healthy, the desserts are the devil's work.Nelson Mandela Square, Sandton, 063-293-8869Cupid's choiceEveryone knows the way to the heart is through the stomach. Two chefs tell us what they'll feed their loves this Valentine's Day.GEOFF TENNANT, chef-owner of Pizzology Artisan Pizzas, PietermaritzburgI'd feed my beloved . . .For the person who's stolen a pizza my heart it would have to be a traditional margarita - she would be in no doubt that I love her from my head tomatoes.I'd serve it . . .With carefully placed kalamatas spelling ''Olive you".LEBO MPUANG, private chef, LonehillI'd feed my beloved . . .A beautiful dessert, blackcurrant macaroons on chocolate soil with a mixed berry salsaI'd serve it . . .With French Champagne.The LowdownWHAT TO EAT?Any of the signature sushi, but if I went again I'd try the clever take on English fish and chips; the fish and chips roll.WHAT TO DRINK?Sake, but be prepared to pay.WHO TO TAKE?Anyone who's happy to open wide and munch with wild abandon.WHEN TO GO?On a Friday for a decadent lunch.WHATEVER YOU DOHave a chat to the owners who'll delight in telling you about the freshness of their fish.HOW MUCH DO YOU NEED?About R700 for two sharing three plates of sushi and a bottle of sake (at R280).

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