AHH, the power of good sushi; head over the bucket thanks to kid germs, my wife had barely the energy to lift a finger, but as I came through the door with a selection from Tsuke Ba a pallid face rose above the rim: “Can I have the tuna?”
She had an admirable go — albeit without the pickled ginger she usually craves — praising the freshness of the fish.
It gave her enough confidence to tackle the chicken and avocado version with a sweet, tasty teriyaki sauce, and before long she was back on her feet helping co-ordinate baths and bedtime.
Not that I’m claiming magical healing properties for Tsuke Ba, but they have been making good Leedervillains smile for what seems like donkeys years.
The gastro obviously put in-house dining on hold, but given there’s limited seating at its tucked-away home in Oxford Street’s Tip Top arcade, and take-away’s their forte, it wasn’t a great loss.
I’d already tucked away a chicken teriyaki bento box before heading home, so got a chance to soak up the atmosphere.
Patrons were mostly funky youngsters, including a couple of estate agents trying to out-bravado each other about how they’d screwed their bosses for better commissions and uni types catching up on the goss and singing Tsuke’s praises.
While I would have liked my teriyakid fowl a degree warmer, it was still delicious.
The rice was an excellent consistency, the salad on the side fresh and crisp and the chicken lean and well coated in the thick, sweet sauce.
Bento’s pretty much Japanese for lunch box, and over there some have turned them into an artform, recreating cartoon characters or landscapes using the food and even entering them in art competitions. I get excited when I wrap the kids’ sandwiches neatly.
Speaking of kids, mine tucked in to a California roll with relish, even setting up a little “sushi, sushi” chant along the way. Given that their senses are so refined they can tell most of my meals are “YUCK!!” before they even hit the table, that’s a pretty cool rap.
I couldn’t fault any of the sushi rolls, as they all had a decent portion of the tasty ingredients, which were also beautifully fresh.
Tsuke Ba’s great if you like a bit of variety, as the counter’s stacked with all sorts of combinations for whatever mood you’re in. And if you can’t pick your mood, they’re one of the rare places you can score a mix of sushi rolls.
And probably the best thing about them is the price. I came away with enough food to feed a family of four and had enough leftovers for a small lunch the next day, and it all came in at just under $45.
Tsuke Ba might not be in the running for a Gold Plate, but that’s a sterling price.
by STEVE GRANT
3/139 Oxford St, Leederville
Monday – Friday
9.30am – 6pm
9.30am – 5pm