Inside Obi Restaurant and Bar
Cult chef Papa San’s latest offering arrives in the form of a classic take on Japanese cuisine – complete with his signature sushi that has been a Cape Town institution for years. After the closing of his Kloof Street restaurant, Takumi, last year, Papa San joined forces with chef Ben Bettendorf to create Obi Restaurant and Bar – Long Street’s answer to the much maligned fast-food sushi joints that have besieged the city over the past few years. The result is an authentically Japanese haven of stark wooden tables and opaque paper screens, with the man himself on hand to recommend his favourite dishes off the menu. We opted for the soba noodles and Papa San’s signature sushi rolls, and since eating noodles with a pair of chopsticks for the first time can be daunting, Papa San was more than willing to show us how it’s done – all while beaming his trademark smile. The familiar comfort that comes from devouring a bowl full of noodles has to be experienced, whilst the addictive chilled hiyashi broth, which features fresh ginger and spring onions, is a delicious contrast to the neutrality of the dish. Fresh and lively but at the same time nourishing for both appetite and emotion, the food at Obi is meticulously prepared to promote the natural flavour of each component used. Our choice of Papa San’s sushi rolls were served sans rice and had an earthy and unanticipated hit of coriander that acted as the perfect contrast to the familiar taste of fresh tuna. The lunchtime ramen bowls and bento boxes are also popular options, and the sushi served here is unequivocally top-notch. No matter what dish you choose, you're in for an incomparable experience in Asian eating at Obi. For more information and to find the full menu, visit obirestaurant.co.za.