Glasgow isn’t exactly spoiled for choice when it comes to places to eat good Japanese food, which makes Nanakusa – situated behind an unassuming, slightly odd looking wood-panelled frontage – all the more of a welcome presence. On the scene since 2007, it’s deceptively spacious inside, with a ornately corniced high ceiling, bar near the front, mezzanine at the back, and in between a long, bustling dining area tightly packed with simple wooden tables and benches.
Authentic Japanese cooking techniques and ingredients are mixed with locally sourced veg, meat and poultry and a few Scottish cooking traditions, to best-of-both-worlds effect. There are no shortage of deep-fried things among the starters, from king prawns to octopus and aubergine – Nanakusa clearly knows its clientele.
Chicken, seafood or yazai gyoza dumplings are served with a wonderfully moreish dipping sauce, which goes well with all kinds of other things on the menu if you fancy mixing and matching a bit. If you don’t mind the in-flight-meal presentation, bento boxes in several different combinations offer a great cross-section of the menu – from miso soup to chicken teriyaki, tempura, sashimi and steamed rice.
The sushi – in sashimi, nigiri and temaki varieties – is fantastically fresh and prettily presented. Drinks-wise, there’s a decent range of standard bottled Japanese premium lagers, including Asahi, Kirin and Sapporo (the latter is also available in classy 500ml cans). Service is snappy, and staff are pleasant and well-informed. Within close range of lots of good bars and several entertainment venues in its spot at the Charing Cross end of Sauchiehall Street, including the O2 ABC, The King’s Theatre, CCA, Broadcast and Nice’n’Sleazy, Nanakusa is well recommended for a light and laid-back meal at the start of a night out.