My only regret about Aburi Japanese restaurant is that it existed for 18 months before I knew about it. Fairly new to Colchester’s restaurant scene, Aburi is a low-key kind of place on the scruffier side of town, hidden amongst the vaping stores and discount shops. It's five minutes walk from both the Roman castle and Firstsite, should you fancy a spot of culture after your meal.
The décor is almost sauna like, lined with wooden panels livened up by the odd cheery arm-waving lucky cat. But like many places that don’t initially shout out at you, the food here is a revelation, illustrated by the fact that it can’t have more than about 20 tables and is almost always full. Online reviews rave about the sushi, which you can see being prepared by the chef at the back of the room, and in fact, everything on the menu, from bento boxes to sashimi, but on a cold January night something warmer was needed. They also deliver (free within three miles of town centre, £1.50 per mile outside that).
We chose individual dishes but they also do set meals such as the eight-piece manpuku sushi, available at lunchtimes only for £16. Our family set to ordering dishes to share, starting with vegetable spring rolls, £2.50, which were hot, tasty and not greasy, as they can be, and delicately steamed vegetable dumplings given extra flavour with a char-grilled effect, £3.50.
Add in a generous bowl of crunchy edamame beans, which I do love but you can only say so much about these boiled green soy beans that you pull through your teeth, £2.50 and a beautiful arrangement of origami-esque vegetable tempura, £5.90 – crispy, sweet and juicy all in one. Sticky rice, £1.50, and deep-fried salty squid rings, £5.80, added more good things to the table. Then we got the menus back to order more of the same. I don’t think we were hungry, we just wanted more of a memorable meal. And that doesn’t happen that often in life.
* 01206 769226