C’est Japon à Suisha – Ottawa (Canada)

It’s been over 25 years since I visited Ottawa so a trip to Canada’s capital was long overdue. It’s a city I took for granted whilst living in Montreal and Toronto but now that I’ve been in England for over a decade, I decided to squeeze in a quick visit between Canadian cities. Besides, Paulo had never been to Ottawa before.

I did no foodie research before arriving (very unlike me, I know) and decided to go with the flow. On our last day in Ottawa, I surfed the ‘net and found recommendations for a great Japanese restaurant: C’est Japon à Suisha, formerly known as Suisha Gardens. I noted it has been around for over 40 years – always a good sign! Interestingly, I noticed the address was on the same street as our hotel but what I didn’t realise was that it was right across the road. There’s some irony in discovering a place online that was in front of my face all along!

The establishment’s name, C’est Japon à Suisha, is a bit of a mouthful but it works. “C’est Japon” is French for “this is Japan” and reflects the authentic menu and setting. “Suisha” is the water wheel gracing the front of this traditionally styled restaurant and a nod to its previous name. The whole place oozes charm, from our warm and welcoming greeting to the short walk to our table past a badger, a brook babbling over stones, a samurai helmet and a lucky cat sitting on the sushi bar.

Wait, what? A badger? Yes, it seems the tanuki is traditionally a symbol of business in Japan. TA-NU-KI also means to excel over others. Not so random after all.

The basement has Japanese-style tatami rooms and private rooms for parties, gatherings and meetings.

We weren’t seated at the sushi bar but could observe the chef from our table. The stunning bar, complete with sushi floating on boats, is the crowning glory.

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Yippee Noodle Bar – Cambridge (UK)

Yippee Noodle Bar has been part of Cambridge for over 15 years. Tucked away on quiet King Street, it’s practically a neighbourhood institution. I’ve been living in Cambridge for half those years, so why did it take me so long to pop into Yippee’s? Fortunately I remedied the situation and enjoyed a fantastic meal, packed with fresh, healthy ingredients and exotic flavours.

Yippee Noddle Bar Exterior

Yippee Noodle Bar Soup

The setting is casual, with minimalist décor. Long tables and benches fill up the open space and colourful artwork adorns the walls, but it’s all that’s really needed. The focus is the open kitchen and the food! The bright, cheerful ambience is enhanced by the friendly service. I spotted a variety of customers: solo diners, couples, students, families with young children, groups… even locals picking up their takeway.

Collage Yippee Noodle Bar

The food and drink menus are just varied enough to be interesting but not overwhelming. Drinks include wine, beer, soft drinks, freshly-squeezed juices and tea (jasmine or green with free refills). The starters/sides feature oriental favourites such as tempura, spring rolls and prawn toast, as well as many vegetarian options. Noodles are the main attraction and they are found in soups and wok-fried dishes, but there are rice dishes as well.

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