When David Abe’s friend flew in from Tokyo and suggested they eat out, he was astonished to hear there was no Japanese restaurant to go to. That was in 2005. Eighteen months later, David opened Etsu, aiming to bring the best authentic Japanese food possible to Liverpool.
With three chefs trained in Japanese kitchens, and ingredients including eel, flying fish roe and, subject to availability, hamachi yellow tail, a real delicacy, it’s little wonder Etsu has featured in the hallowed pages of the Michelin Guide and, repeatedly until the title was retired, the Good Food Guide.
At lunchtime, opt for the build-your-own-bento box, with choices such as English sirloin steak and the suggested pairing of yaki niku sauce. Sushi wise, pick one of the mixed sets, chosen for you by the kitchen according to the Japanese tradition of Omakase and freshly made to order with various options, including a vegetarian or vegan version and one with sashimi super-fresh raw fish and finely cut radish, wasabi and soy sauce.
If you’d prefer something warm, how about thick wheat udon soup noodles with tempura-battered king prawns, or a mild katsu curry; choices include chicken, pork, tuna or vegetarian.
Rice dishes are split into three sections: donburi, yakimono and agemono, which includes panko-breadcrumbed morsels served with a fruity sauce, and teriyaki tofu. Teriyaki is also involved in the yaki tori chicken skewers, listed under appetisers along with edamame beans, soft shell crab and pork or vegetable gyoza dumplings with dipping sauce.
Etsu’s cosy interior is perfect for unwinding with a sake, shochu or plum wine, or sample the wide range of Japanese whisky, rum and gin on offer; the sunny terrace is made for sipping an Asahi, Sapporo, Kirin or Japanese craft beer Kagua Blanc or Rouge.