I have to admit I had never eaten out at a sushi restaurant before. In fact, apart from Sticks N Sushi (Westgate roof terrace), YO! Sushi (George Street) and Sushimania (Park End Street), I didn’t know of any other sushi restaurants in Oxford and as you may have heard, YO! Sushi closed down back in February this year.
When the Westgate opened and the restaurants on the roof terrace started to emerge I did notice Sticks N Sushi but as I’ve not tried sushi in a restaurant before I wasn’t compelled to try it straight away.
Well, recently I decided why not give it a go as I’ve been trying to tick off a review of each restaurant on the Westgate roof terrace (only Mowgli to go after this!).
In terms of finding the restaurant, if you come up the first set of escalators in the Westgate walking from the direction of Bonn Square you will be greeted by Sticks N Sushi on your right at the top, which is the first restaurant on the roof terrace from this direction.
They have a lovely looking outside eating area and what I quite liked was that they did not bunch the tables too close together so there is a sense of space. I imagine this is really nice on a sunny day.
Moving into the inside of the restaurant, I was actually quite blown away by the level of detail in the decoration. It felt very cosy yet sophisticated and you can tell a lot of thought has gone into the furniture, for example, the cushion looking throws on the chairs below.
What was quite interesting is that Sticks N Sushi work hard to be an ethically responsible organisation and focus on sustainability. One example is that you can’t order bottled water which reduces the amount of plastic consumed, instead they have this tap at the bar which filters all of their water in-house. As well as this I believe they also focus on sourcing their fish in a sustainable manner which was good to hear.
Food and Drink
Now onto the most important stuff. I was so excited to check this menu out, as I mentioned before I had never eaten at a sushi restaurant so it was a completely new experience for me.
I quite liked how they named their menu a ‘Photo Album‘, which literally contains large pictures of their food with small descriptions and prices. The quality and size of the images were great, it makes you feel like they want to help you in deciding what to eat if you have not eaten at this type of restaurant before.
My initial two thoughts on the sushi dining experience at Sticks N Sushi is that:
- They are positioned as a fairly upmarket restaurant.
- The experience is very similar to ordering tapas, you order as few or as many little things as you would like and they come out as and when they are ready and the meal is relaxed and very spread out.
I tried Sake for the first time ever too. If you don’t know what it is, it is a Japanese rice wine. I am not a huge fan of wine in general, but I must say this was quite refreshing, especially in the way it was served in this quirky little cone glass in a bed of ice!
In terms of the food, the first thing we tried was the Hotake Kataifi which was incredible. I’ve had scallops a few times before, including freshly caught at sea-front facing restaurants and I would say these were on par with that taste.
As you can see there is a crispy outer shell with the scallop in the middle that was perfectly cooked and so tender.
Personally, I am a big fan of crab so when I saw these crab croquettes on the menu I had to try some. Very tasty indeed, with a small dollop of wasabi sauce below which can be seen in the following picture.
I do like a good beer too. So I asked our very knowledgeable waiter, Dean, if he could recommend any unique beers to Sticks N Sushi. To my pleasant surprise, he recommended the Sushi ‘N’ Biiru White, which is a beer made especially for Sticks N Sushi and is brewed with the Japanese citrus fruit, yuzu which gave it a really refreshing twist.
Below is raw seabass (Suzuki) which had quite a distinct taste.
These Ebi bites were great. As you can see the batter on the outside had a bubbly texture. The batter was crispy and light, with plenty of tempura shrimp underneath.
Dean recommended a few different Sushi’s which can be seen pictured below and their descriptions can be found just under the picture. There was not one which we didn’t like! The California rolls were some of the best I’ve ever tried and you may have eaten one of these yourself as I believe it is one of the most popular types of Sushi. The Hell’s Kitchen and Crunchy Chicken both had their own twists and unique textures.
From my understanding one of the things Sticks N Sushi pride themselves on is creating a place for both sushi lovers and people that do not like sushi. Their menu contains such an extensive range of items which include non-sushi related foods such as these meat sticks, for example. They also serve other things such as soups and salads.
These were all cooked really well and tasted great. I’d recommend trying any of their meat sticks based on our experience with these.
At this point we were really full, as not only was this plenty of food to consume but it was spread out over a long period of time. However, we had to try some of their desserts based on our experience to this point.
We tried a cup of their Matcha Tea. This was interesting in the way it was prepared, if you head over to my Instagram page and click on the story highlight for Sticks N Sushi you will see they frothed it with something which was quite cool to see.
The three items below are what we ate for dessert. They were all sublime. The matcha financier tasted a bit like a chocolate souffle with matcha (incredible), the dark chocolate with caramel had a nice twist with the sesame seeds on it and the Creme brulee was as good as I’ve had in other nice restaurants.
Conclusion and Final Thoughts
First of all, I’d like to say a big thank you to Dean and all of the team at Sticks N Sushi who were all extremely knowledgeable and provided fantastic service. Noticeably better service than I have experienced at other higher end restaurants in Oxford.
To conclude I would suggest that Sticks N Sushi is a restaurant to be visited perhaps for a special occasion, or a nice meal out once in a while. It looks particularly good for groups of people as is the nature with tapas, you can pick and share a lot of the foods offered on the menu and I think it has been designed this way. With that in mind it also makes for a nice mid-week treat with some friends or family.
My biggest advice would be don’t be put off trying this restaurant if you are not a big sushi fan. The restaurant is a very nice place to be, well decorated and has friendly and knowledgeable staff to help you choose if you are not sure what to order.
I’m sure I will be returning to Sticks N Sushi again in the future as it really surpassed my expectations in terms of service and quality of food.