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Sushi Laid Bare at Bamboo Asian Fusion in Cape Town
If all you wanted was a California roll you're at the wrong sushi restaurant
Nyotaimori, or 'body sushi' is the practice of serving sashimi or sushi from the body of a naked woman. Widely regarded as a form of artistic expression the Japanese food culture is a formal affair but pioneers of naked sushi in Cape Town Bamboo Asian Fusion have added up-tempo house music, a selection of belly-laugh comedians and the majority of guests at this sensual sushi restaurant, including myself, are women.
Pietro del Piccolo opened the upmarket restaurant at the Cape Royale Hotel and Residence in Green Point at the start of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Manager Iain Mackenzie tells us that Monday's naked sushi attracted such a crowd on Bamboo's opening night that the restaurant had to close in order to re-stock the kitchen. Comedy, sushi and sex sells.
Our restaurant setting features original bamboo flooring, latticed screens, paper lanterns and floral designs. Low lighting and house music create a sophisticated and sensual take on traditional Asian culture yet the atmosphere is jovial and relaxed as a vivacious crowd awaits a night of naked sushi and comedy. We are seated next to a large bar shrouded by a black velvet curtain that will later reveal our sushi model.
Inspired and colourful flavours of the orient served on an animated platter
A glance at our cocktail menu reveals a selection of classics infused with ginger, coriander, coconut and wasabi. Upon our waitresses recommendation my partner opts for the Coconut and Basil Asian Mojito with Cuban rum, lime, natural coconut, basil and soda whilst I choose Bamboo Iced Tea with gin, tequila, cucumber, matcha, lemon iced-tea, coriander, muddled root ginger and apple juice. It's a delectable take on the Long Island Iced Tea, presented with a lemon wedge, a ginger fan and a hint of spice on the tongue.
Whilst we're nibbling on an appetizer of warm chilli-glazed bread the curtains are peeled back to reveal a bronzed, blonde beauty from Mavericks Gentleman's Club named Blaze adorned with seaweed mats supporting colourful displays of sashimi and sushi. Far from being an intimidating experience Blaze is tastefully and artistically decorated and engages in friendly conversation and recommends sushi to a gathering crowd of stylish guests who have their chopsticks and soy sauce at the ready.
Iain grew up in Singapore and drew his influences from the various Asian cooking styles practised by the cook employed at his family home. Bamboo's menu offers a selection of Asian styles from Thai to Japanese wok dishes and signature dishes are fillet steak marinated in galangal root (also known as Thai ginger) for four hours and prawn toast. Iain takes great pride in Bamboo's homemade sauces and the fruits of his labour are apparent in the delicious sauces and glazes accompanying our fresh sushi. Although the focus is on all-you-can-eat none of the quality has been lost and I am surprised at how filling twenty-odd pieces of sashimi are.
Sexual innuendo and side-splitting rants from Cape Town's comic talent
The entertainment doesn't stop at naked sushi. With satisfied stomachs our attention is captured by cockney comedian Martin Davies – an energiser bunny of a comic who quick fires a hilarious assault on guests with unabashed sexual innuendo. Next up is local comedienne Tracy Klaas a single mother and Jewish femme fatale whose side-splitting rants about the trials and tribulations of motherhood and overall womanhood resonate with guests.
Bamboo Asian Fusion have transported the naked sushi concept from formal to fun with laugh-out-loud comedy, up-tempo music and a talking sushi platter. Asian-inspired cocktails and sushi are served up fresher than fresh to accompany a fabulously entertaining start to the week.
Sample unlimited naked sushi for R120 between 19:00 and 23:00 on Monday's, live music with surf and turf for R95 between 19:00 and 23:00 on Wednesdays, all you can eat prawns for R95 on Sundays and a daily happy hour with half price sushi and cocktails between 11:00 and 19:00.
By Lisa Nevitt
Check out what else is happening on Mondays in Cape Town and Surrounds in our Events Section.