There’s an ongoing battle between my boyfriend and I, that is likely to never be conquered. Ahhh, the great war of who’s home city has the best sushi. Given that our home cities are Derby and Sheffield – not exactly Sushi central, it’s actually quite a feat that we both have such high quality sushi to argue over. My vote is for Moon Sha in Derby, his for Yama Sushi in Sheffield. In the interest of full disclosure and fairness, I will say that both places make fresh, delicious food that I would never ever complain about eating. I think the thing is, the two restaurants just have very different vibes.
Whilst Moon Sha is a big building which has lovely black glitter effect granite tables, expensive looking table wear, a huge teppyanyaki station in the centre of the restaurant and karaoke booths upstairs; Yama is so small and casual it feels more like a cafe than a restaurant. Clearly the physical appearance of the restaurant means nothing if the food isn’t up to scratch, but as both places provide sushi and other Japanese fare so mouth watering it could bring you to tears, I do factor in the details.
Pictured are a couple of the dishes we ordered at Yama. (Apologies for the poor quality photograph!) Although I don’t remember the name of them, our usual sushi ordering habits suggest that they were crab/salmon/avocado based. Overall, I’d say Yama pushes the boat further out in terms of menu creativity, with the addition of a sushi specials board with more experimental flavours. Moon Sha tend to stick to the recognisable classics – but they do have significantly more options to choose from, including bento boxes, ramen and katsu. The beauty of Yama is that due to its casual vibe, you can rock up in the jogging bottoms and band tshirt you crashed out in last night if you really want to. As somebody who has grown up with countless insecurities about not fitting in or being good enough, I really appreciate that. Lucy no like pretentiousness. Moon Sha is more up market, but warm and welcoming all the same. You can expect to have a full, eating out ‘experience’ as opposed to just a dinner there, with waiters who go out of their way to provide you with second to none service.
I still maintain that Moon Sha make marginally better food overall – the rice they use for their sushi rolls is a freshly flavoured, sticky but not gelatinous thing of beauty. I don’t know whether it’s down to geographical loyalties or genuine preference, but the other half is having absolutely none of it and is sticking to his Sheffield rooted guns. But honestly, if you have the opportunity to go to either establishment, you absolutely should, I can promise you won’t regret it.