Lunch is one of those things that always end up having sneaky costs.
Sure the burrito is only €7, but by the time you add guacamole and a bottle of water you’re looking at the guts of a tenner. Similarly, if you say you’re just going to grab a quick sambo at your local deli counter it ends up adding up pretty quickly at the till.
Now we all know the merits of meal prep and bringing your lunch to work, but sometimes this just isn’t feasible (especially if you’re a fan of those extra ten minutes in bed).
So when I spent a tenner on lunch at Ukiyo on Exchequer Street it felt just like all the other mundane lunches, until the food arrived…
With only a handful of other diners, the place was far from rammed. We ordered a bento box each, assuming it was going to be a lunch portion.
When the food was delivered to our table a few minutes after we’d ordered, we realised that we were probably not going to need to eat for a solid 12 hours.
The bento boxes and soup came first, with the waiter returning a second later with a bowl of sticky rice each. It seemed like an insane amount of food for 1pm, but sure look – when life gives you lemons, right?
I got the gluten free bento box which came with teriyaki chicken, and squid tempura and both were amazing. The teriyaki sauce was deliciously thick, coating the chicken and veg in a a rich moreish flavour.
Now, I’m always wary of squid tempura, because very often it’s done so badly. Chewy, overcooked squid is the stuff of nightmares, yet a lot of Japanese restaurants churn them out straight from freezer to deep fat fryer. This tempura was like nothing I’d ever tasted before, the batter was super light yet crispy, made from what I can only assume was rice flour (naturally gluten free).
The squid itself was surprisingly tender, flavoursome and fresh, which made me question why so many other restaurant opt for the gross frozen stuff.
The only fault I can find with the bento box is that there were too many options (and what a complaint to have!). You have two spoonfuls of miso soup then get distracted by sushi or tempura, only to remember minutes later that there’s still a bowl of soup waiting for you.
So to recap – three pieces of sushi, a hefty portion of chicken teriyaki with vegetables, an Asian salad, squid tempura and a bowl of rice all for €10.
If you’re looking for amazing value, and a varied lunch, head on down Ukiyo this lunchtime, you’ll be glad you did.
If you’ve got any favourite spots offering great value lunch deals make sure to let us know in the comments, and we’ll check them out!