MoonSha, Derby

You may think, London Food Snobs (jokes, guys, we are one of you) that you have to be in the capital to have excellent sushi. Now, I know you won’t believe us, but you are WRONG! Wrong, wrong, wrong. And if you’re in the East Midlands (and why wouldn’t you be?) then you should check out this restaurant and then you can come and tell us how right we are. 🙂

My best friend took me to MoonSha when it opened years ago and it blew my mind. We now go for our annual ‘alternative Christmas dinner’ and I’ve given the entire Swan family the MoonSha bug. The restaurant is huge, they’re open from midday to midnight and I’ve only ever seen it about ¾ full, so even on a Saturday night you can walk in and get a table. The staff are so friendly and there’s a big chef’s table in the middle where they cook teppen yaki and make sushi. Have to say, that doesn’t really appeal to me – I go for the food not the show – but there’s usually a Birthday/Hen/leaving party round there clapping and cheering as the chefs juggle eggs (or something) and they all look like they’re having a GREAT time, so maybe I’m wrong.

Like a lot of Japanese places, MoonSha has a huge menu. This, I know, intimidates and panics people so they end up going for a set menu (please, NO) or the usual starter – main course – dessert. This is not the way to get the most out of any Japanese meal. Sharing is caring when it comes to places like this; order a selection of appetizers and Japanese tapas to share and you will never look back! Then you can have a main course each (if you’re that way inclined) or a delicious platter of sushi for everyone.

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We started with small dishes to share.  First up were beef and chicken teriyaki skewers – never had these before, but they were delicious. Tender meat (a little charred), crispy veg and lots of lovely, rich sauce. The tempura was also lovely. Tempura can go SO WRONG if you have a monster making it; you can end up with heavy, greasy batter and limp seafood/veg, but this was beautiful. The batter was light and crispy, the seafood perfectly cooked and the delicate sauce that came with it didn’t overwhelm the subtle flavour of the tempura itself.

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We also had nasu dengaku, which is baked aubergine with honey miso paste and sesame seeds. You may be thinking that this doesn’t sound up to much. Readers, you have never been so mistaken. The first time I had this (with a friend who grew up in Japan) I was so amazed by how delicious it was that I had to order another one. I have no idea even HOW it’s so delicious, and I don’t care. I just want to eat it every day for the rest of my life.

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The main event at MoonSha is the ‘Absolute Moonsha sushi platter’ (renamed by Mummy & Daddy Swan as ‘the Golden Gate Bridge’, see below…) this is a feast of raw fish; california rolls, salmon, tuna and seabass nigiri (to DIE for), octopus, tuna and clam sashimi, little raw, pink, sweet prawns which look weird but taste delicious. This platter can easily feed four (if you order extras, and are democratic about who gets what, otherwise there’s potential for bloodshed). Obviously you have the option of making up your own platter but this is a really good way of trying lots of different kinds of sushi/sashimi for a reasonable price (about £44 for 40 pieces).

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You need this place in your life.  Trust us.

What we ate:

Edemame

Yakitori (chicken skewers in teriyaki sauce)

Gyu sumibiyake (beef fillet skewers in teriyaki sauce)

Nasu dengaku

Wakame salad (this stuff looks like slime but oh my GOD it’s delicious – they sell little pots of it in Abokado which I could live on)

Tempura set

Absolute Moon Sha – yum yum yum yum yum.

What we drank:

Asahi (Japanese lager)

Chilean sauvignon blanc

They also do a good selection of saké which is worth trying if you’re feeling adventurous (and don’t mind feeling a little wobbly…)

Would we go again?

Hell yes!

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