Learn to roll your own sushi at Deep South Eatery

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DEEP South Eatery in Glencairn is a fabulous all-round-people-pleasing venue. It has a bar where you can watch sport. It serves amazing burgers and pizzas. Saturdays and Sundays are earmarked for scrumptious breakfasts with a view of the ocean. There’s a huge outdoor area for children to run around and be noisy. It’s the new home of the Hickory Shack. And then there is the sushi…

Frank Nyanda and Wilber Njamela make it look effortless with their rock shrimp maki and reloaded rolls with their own secret sweet soya reduction, seven spice, spring onions, sesame oil and sesame seeds. These require years of experience to perfect but if you fancy trying your hand at something simpler, like a California roll – suitable for the ultimate novice – book a spot at the sushi bar to learn this art.

On Thursdays at 5pm Frank and Wilber gently guide you through the process of making eight pieces which can you eat right there or take home with you; the cost of R290 includes everything you need plus a glass of wine (or non-alcoholic beverage). If the scheduled day and time doesn’t suit you, round up a group of friends and book a private session.

The California roll begins with a sheet of nori (seaweed) onto which you flatten a ball of rice. A bowl of water to keep your hands wet prevents the rice from sticking to you. The success of any sushi roll lies in the rice, which is not as easy to get right as you’d think. My first attempt doing it at home, many years ago, did not yield a favourable result. It ended in tears, with the fish and rice being flung on the plate and being served with a sobbing exclamation that if the contestants on Survivor could live on it like that, so could we. The emotional scars are still there.

Tip: buy the sushi rice ready-cooked; most places, including Deep South, will be open to negotiating this. It will save you a lot of trauma.

Once the nori is coated with the rice, you flip it over and place a thin line of more rice down the middle. We were offered a choice of tuna, prawn or salmon, which is placed along that line, followed by slivers of avocado. When you begin to roll it, you’ll soon find out if you’ve followed the instructions properly and everything fits neatly.

Slicing requires finesse. Frank and Wilbur will do it for you for maximum success, but they’ll also allow you to use their gorgeous knives if you want to give it a go yourself. Think about this carefully; everything could literally fall apart at this stage. Maybe you won’t end up with the most immaculate, uniform, symmetrical sushi but I promise you it will still taste good.

I mentioned Hickory Shack at the beginning of the story. It’s owned by my longtime friend Jay Haupt, who previously had the place of the same name in Elgin (and a couple of legendary places in Cape Town before that). It’s a smokehouse of note, with genuine wood smoked meats like brisket, pulled pork, ribs (beef and pork), sausages, and chicken, done low and slow in the Texan style of dry rub first, sauce after. With fries, buttermilk mash, slaw, corn salad, cowboy beans, and buns on the side this has all the makings of a messy feast.

Weekly specials at Deep South include two burgers – with chips – and two Jack Black beers for R200 every Thursday; and on Wednesdays, for every adult meal, get a meal from the children’s menu for free. For children obviously. There’re also live music events which you can keep track of on Facebook, or here.

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