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Location: 41 Courtenay Place
BYO: Yes ($5 corkage)
Although Wellington has a plethora of takeaway sushi establishments, there are relatively few Japanese restaurants. Luckily, we have Arashi to make up for it. Situated in the middle of Courtney Place, with an extensive menu, and moderately priced, Arashi is a great option for a dinner, BYO or not.
When I got to Arashi at 7 on a Monday night, the restaurant was already half full. The service was fairly quick and the décor light and interesting (although I was slightly disturbed by being seated at a table pressed against a large mirror: watching myself struggle with chopsticks and long noodles after a few glasses of wine isn’t ideal). The menu is wide-ranging and all looks delicious. Even as a vegetarian, there were plenty of options and I struggled to choose one. If I’d been a meat-eater, I’d probably still be there.
I ordered the vegetarian tempura soba, with teriyaki sauce on the side, which was $16.50, plus an extra $2 for the sauce (so worth it: treat yo’self). It was pretty spectacular, notable in that every bit of the dish was delicious. I normally find that one bit of a meal is by far the best, but here I couldn’t decide what I liked more. I love soba noodles (Japanese thin noodles made with buckwheat flour), and the broth they were served in was superb. The tempura was good – light, hot and crispy – although I wasn’t wild about the piece of onion tempura, which tasted slightly fishy. Dipped in the teriyaki sauce, it’s basically perfect.
I’d definitely recommend Arashi: the food is great, service proficient, and the location very convenient. It’s not really a place for large groups or very rowdy BYOs, but for any other occasion you wouldn’t regret it.