Reviewed; Oishii

Bournemouth’s brand new authentic Asian dining experience.

Nestled at the heart of 1812 in Bournemouth you will discover Oishii, an Asian inspired tapas and grill restaurant. As you make your way into Oishii you are immediately struck by the beautiful decor, surrounded by dark wood, cherry blossom and ambient lighting it creates a classy and intimate atmosphere.

Head chef Cheryl Tio warmly welcomed us into the restaurant and told us a little about her background with over 20 years experience delivering authentic Asian cuisine, and you might even recognise her from her appearance on Masterchef the Professionals, where she showcased her signature dishes with high praise from the likes of Gregg Wallace, Michelin-starred Marcus Wareing and chef Monica Galetti.

PICTURED ABOVE: (Left to right) Jasmine Laws, Sushi Chef Master & Food Research Developer and Cheryl Tio, Head Chef

We decided to really put them to the test, taking with us a vegetarian and someone who, as a rule, doesn’t tend to like fish! The question is, can they cater for everyone? Spoiler alert, they not only delivered but surpassed expectation!

We settled down to peruse the menu and were in awe of the choice on offer to us. Our vegetarian pointed out that they often find options limited, the decision is almost made for them when eating out – with little choice on most menus. At Oishii however they struggled to choose because there was so much on offer, and all of it sounded delicious! After much discussion, eventually a selection of starters for the table to share seemed like the right move.

Whilst we were distracted debating our starters we realised we had lost Ross! Looking up we find him behind the counter donning some blue gloves. Having told us they offer Sushi Masterclasses, he of course decided he wanted to try his hand at this challenge. Guided by Jasmine he carefully followed her instructions, setting out the layers and choosing his own combination of fillings he quite skilfully rolled his own Sushi rolls! Proudly holding them up for the team to see the fruits of his labour, we gave him a well deserved round of applause, then continued to devour them in an instant! This sounds like such a fun and interesting experience and we are all definitely keeping the Sushi Masterclasses in mind as a gift idea this Christmas!

Back at our table the aroma of the starters floated over to us as they were brought out, instantly making our mouths water. Our vegetarian had no qualms over what to order, having studied the menu ahead of time they had spent days dreaming of the Pumpkin Croquettes which lived up to the personal hype, with a crispy out crust and a soft inside they were little mouthfuls of heaven, paired with a curry dipping sauce full of flavour – no one else got a look in!

The rest of the team shared the Oishii Crispy Chicken complimented by a Gochujang sauce, Salt and Pepper Squid served with Sriracha Mayo, Aromatic Duck with pancakes, cucumber and hoisin sauce and Tempura King Prawns. These all went down a storm, after a hearty discussion the prawns were chosen as a clear winner, perfectly cooked with a light batter and a sweet chilli sauce, there was an awkward moment deciding who would eat the last one.

Starters demolished it was on to mains. Our “no-fish” friend spent a portion of time dancing around the selection of mains on offer, “should I have Thai Curry or maybe the chicken… the monkfish actually sounds good”, but he eventually settled on the BBQ Ribs! A hearty portion, it was served looking like a man vs food challenge, he made light work of them commenting on how succulent they were with the smoked five spice BBQ sauce creating a taste explosion.

Our vegetarian was intrigued by the Vegetable Sushi Burrito – a deep fried large sushi roll filled with cucumber, jalapeño, sweetcorn, crispy onions, avocado, mango salsa, teriyaki sauce and chilli mayo. They didn’t really know what to expect, wondering if it might be a little greasy due to the deep frying, but it wasn’t at all, this simply gave a lovely slightly crisp coating to the outside of the roll. Each mouthful was packed full of flavour, and they hit you in different moments, so each bite was a little different! 

They also brought out the Spicy Kimchi Veggie Sushi Rolls, made with homemade Kimchi with Nanami Togorashi, cucumber, Asian slaw, chilli mayo and sweet soy. This just deepened their appreciation for vegetarian sushi, loving how it broke down the idea that it is only for people who ate fish or meat – it is actually a truly versatile dish, full of fresh flavour.

The rest of the mains came out presented in a boat, this was a true show-stopper! It looked like a piece of art being brought to our table. The beautiful colours that are created by the food combinations makes it all looks so vibrant, and most importantly – extremely appetising!

Our boat contained Spicy Tiger Rolls filled with tempura prawns, fresh salmon, spicy mayo and sriracha hot sauce; Sake Sushi Rolls, perfect for salmon lovers, with cooked salmon, avocado, cream cheese, smoked salmon and teriyaki sauce which melted in the mouth; a Chicken and Tempura Prawn Sushi Burrito packed full of flavour; Surf N Turf Sushi Rolls for those that need a meaty fix – filled with tempura prawns, charred spring onions, beef steak, teriyaki sauce, crispy onions and sea salt flakes; and Volcano Sushi Rolls, salmon and tuna tartare, tempura prawns, sesame seeps, spring onions, sriracha, chilli mayo, hot sauce and teriyaki glaze – for the more daring amongst us with a little kick of spice to wake up the senses!

The star though was the Sashimi – thinly cut slices of raw tuna which was presented under a smoking bowl adding a little theatre to our table, as the dome was lifted the smoke rolled out over the boat creating a true spectacle and leaving us all in awe!

Just when we were considering how we were going to roll ourselves back to the office, the lovely Cheryl and Jasmine appear with a selection of desserts for us to try. Of course there is always room for pudding so we loosened the belts a little and tucked straight in. Each one of us had a different favourite depending on personal preferences. If you want something light the Coconut Halves, coconut ice-cream with shredded coconut folded through or Orange Skins, a refreshing orange sorbet in a real orange fruit shell, these take the edge off that post-dinner sweet craving without feeling like too much. For the chocolate fanatics you have to try the Manhattan Stack, a light chocolate sponge base smothered with rich dark chocolate truffle and a soft toffee centre topped with vanilla ice cream and a cream filled profiterole – you can’t just take one bite of this one, it keeps you coming back for more!

Our visit was a resounding success with even our “no-fish” guy stating that, “for someone that wasn’t a sushi lover, I am now 100% converted, this was amazing… I would actually want this over a roast dinner!”

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