Dining in Hangzhou: Creative Sushi

When in a new place, I like nothing more than using the recommendations of friends to pick where to eat. So, on my recent trip to the lovely city of Hangzhou, I was happy to find myself dining with my friend’s friends, who have studied there the past six months.

Sushi was always going to be a popular choice for the night. After a month and a half in China, with greasy, MSG-drenched noodles aplenty, the thought of fresh, healthy cuisine had me drooling.

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The restaurant, Creative Sushi, seemed to be in a pretty random location – not particularly busy or buzzing. Then again, it was dark, I was tired and it is China – so, who knows.

The interior was pleasant and attractive, though nothing to boast of. And there was a nice, calm atmosphere. That is, until the group of us 10 rowdy, westerners showed up.

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Creative Sushi had made a half-hearted attempt to embrace the whole ‘open plan/ come watch us cook’ type of layout.The chefs cooked in view of their customers, though you couldn’t actually see what was going on, rendering the whole operation pretty pointless.

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Luckily we did not need the chefs to occupy us as the fabulous menu kept us distracted, if not slightly overwhelmed. Prices were very fair, with most dishes costing between 20 and 40RMB.

Service-wise, the waitress was flustered and messed up several of our orders. Yet that can hardly be seen as a reflection of the restaurant’s overall service, as she was well-meaning and assumedly not used to foreigners pointing and shouting to such extents. The cock ups, fortunately, resulted in us gaining a few free dishes, so there were no hard feelings.

I opted for the above salmon and avocado salad. Partially because those ingredients are two of my favourites, but mostly because my mother would likely have a heart attack if she knew how few greens I have consumed since being in China.

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It was ridiculously tasty. The slivers of salmon and avocado were a little on the thin side, but the dressing (no clue as to what it contained) was the best I have ever tried.

The tuna sashimi was exquisite too, and the photo below gives some indication of how nicely the dishes were presented.

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The bigger platters all came equipped with flowers and some sort of contraption that steamed attractively (if also unnecessarily) for a few minutes after being brought out.

Some of my friends chose chicken teriyaki, which proved a wise decision, as the generous portion cost just 25 RMB.

My favourite dish (thankfully, my flatmate gave me her leftovers of it) was the tuna and mango sushi. The best sushi I’ve ever eaten, it was melt in your mouth delicious.

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The bill was very reasonable. No one ordered drinks, but even so, about 50 RMB per person gave the unpaid intern inside of me nothing to complain about.

All in all, Creative Sushi was a fabulous restaurant. If you, dear reader, ever find yourself craving sushi in Hangzhou (slim chances, I’m aware) then I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it.

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