“ Japanese cuisine / Contact: 184 Dumbarton Road, Glasgow, G11 6UN, Scotland / Tel: +44 141 - 334 9222 „
My boyfriend and I really enjoy Japanese food as it's healthy, nutritious and tasty. I'm always trying to find new restaurants to visit as I like looking for them online, looking at reviews and as I'm vegetarian, seeing whether or not they have a good enough selection of vegetarian food - which I find Japanese restaurants usually do! We've been to a couple of Japanese restaurants in Glasgow, and although we had both heard a lot about Ichiban, had never been! Recently, we had a little date night and headed out to see whether Ichiban would meet our high standards. Well, my high standards, he would eat anything - as long as he had two pieces of bread to make a sandwich out of it.
Ichiban is a noodle and sushi bar, serving a wide array of noodle and rice dishes, as well as sushi, teriyaki and tempura. They also have Japanese teas, which I can't find advertised on the website. These Japanese teas can be found on the back of the menu in the restaurant and look amazing! They have, what looks like, flowers inside the glass! Simply beautiful.
There are two Ichiban restaurants currently in Glasgow. The first one was opened in June 1998 on Queen Street, the second was opened in 2002 in the West End of Glasgow, on Dumbarton Road. I visited the one on Queen Street. As the restaurant is situated upstairs, you can only see a small doorway from the street with quite a small sign saying 'Ichiban' (surprising, eh?) outside, so it's easy to miss. We found out quite easily though as we've probably walked past it 100s of times in our lives. It's easy to find as it is close to three train stations; Argyle Street Station, Central Station and Queen Street Station and is just along from George Square and the main shopping area of Glasgow. Great if you want a bite to eat after a hard day's shopping.
As you enter, you are greeted by a waitress who will then lead you to one of the four long tables that are usually found in Japanese restaurants. There is an open kitchen, so you can see everything that's going on in there.
What I Thought of Ichiban
It's quite modern and doesn't look as though it's getting old, apart from the sign outside. I'm not sure if it has been renovated since opening in 1998, but it doesn't looking as though it's been there for over 13 years. It was quite bright inside, which I liked as I hate those restaurants that only give you a candle for your source of light. Romantic as it may be, I'm sure I don't look great trying to squint in the dark to see my dining partner. I liked how simple the layout of the restaurant was, not overly fussy, just like the food. I'm not so keen on those long tables though, I find that if you're trying to have an intimate dinner, having a row of people either side of you doesn't exactly aid this. It would be nice if they maybe had some booths were couples could go to eat. I also don't like the fact that there's a television on the back wall of the restaurant. It's hard not to be distracted by the television, so it seems to take away from the dining experience for me when the person you're with is staring above your head.
Everything was also really clean, as they used disposable place mats and there weren't any covers on the tables, it is a lot more easy to keep it clean and looking clean. Also, although it's not really an item that comes under 'decor', but it is to do with cleanliness. They gave you chopsticks that were in a sealed packet, so you know that they are clean and that nobody as used them before which I really liked as I hate it when you get dirty cutlery, it's totally off-putting.
The service was really quick and efficient. I couldn't fault this at all. The restaurant wasn't busy when we were there as it was around 5ish, so I'm not sure if the service is worse at busier times but I can't imagine so. The waitresses were really polite, accommodating and seemed to know exactly when to come over and when not to which I really like. I hate it when you're at a restaurant and you're either left waiting ages for somebody to come over, giving people 'The Eyes' and generally looking a little crazy or when they come over too much and keep talking to you. Ichiban have a nice balance of this, which I really enjoyed. I also liked that they didn't laugh or try to correct me when I was trying to say the names of the Japanese food. I've been in a few restaurants and ordered 'gnocchi' which I never remember how to pronounce and just say 'Guh-Noch-Chay' now and they've laughed or attempted to correct me which bugs me.
Ah, the good bit. I'm not going to list everything that Ichiban serve as it is all listed on their website which you can find here; http://ichiban.co.uk/menu/
I ordered the 'Wok Fried Yasai Chan-Han' and my other half ordered 'Wok Fried Ichiban Yakisoba'. Both our meals were delicious and we both really enjoyed them. The only thing was, that I was trying to eat rice with chopsticks with is SO difficult, especially as I am definitely no expert in chopstick-useage. My other half's meal had so many different types of meat/fish in it, so it was fun looking at his and trying to figure out which each one was.
The meals came out really quickly, cooked perfectly and tasted really good. He's still going on about it days later and he didn't even have any bread to make a sandwich out of his meal! The portion sizes were really generous too, I couldn't finish mine!
The only thing I would say, is that there aren't any deserts - well none that I could see. I wasn't too fussed really, as I had been filled up by the main meal, but some people do like deserts.
All the prices are listed on the website, so if you want to look anything up specifically, have a look there.
I'll just give an idea of how much everything kind of costs as I find it helpful when reading reviews. I hate it when you read a review of a restaurant, you get really excited about going there, only to look up the menu and see that it's extortionate!
Our meal came up to just under £20, so that was just two main meals and a big bottle of water for us to share.
In my opinion, the drinks are really expensive. It was £4.50 for a 1ltr bottle of water which was a little steep. Beers cost between £2.80 and £4, wines costs between £3.40 - £5.10 for a glass and £12.95 - £14.95 for a bottle. Soft drinks are all under £2.
All the main meals are around the £8 mark, some being closer to £10, not a lot though. Bento boxes are around £13.90. Sushi is between £2.50 & £3 for 2 pieces, but you can get platters which work out cheaper as you're buying more. Sides are all around the £5 mark, with many being below.
Apart from the drinks, I would say these prices are pretty good, especially for the portion size you get. I would say a main meal is sufficient as they are so big, so you probably wouldn't be spending more than £10/£15 each here. Obviously if you bought sides, it would be dearer.
I'm happy paying the prices for the meals as I think it's value for money, the quality and quantity of the food is great!
I would definitely visit Ichiban again.
The food is really tasty, the service is great and the prices are good too. I do have really minor complaints, which to be honest, I'm being really picky about and they don't really impact on the whole dining experience too much so I won't be taking any stars of for these.
Whole-heartedly recommending this restaurant if you ever are in Glasgow and are a fan of Japanese food or just want to try something new!
Address: 50 Queen Street, Glasgow. G1 3DS
Telephone: 0141 204 4200
Can I ask if people could provide some constructive feedback on the review, either in the comments or as a message, as I am intending on writing a lot more restaurant reviews. So, if you feel the review could have mentioned something else or maybe mentioned something that wasn't important, or anything else, please let me know!