“It’s like guiding an old lady across the road,” says chef Andrew Hawley, as he demonstrates how to craft expert sushi, writes Ellen Beardmore.
The Japanese cuisine specialist deftly slices salmon with a 30cm knife and rolls rice at Cosmo, Sheffield’s newest restaurant.
It opened at St Paul’s Place on Tuesday as one of the largest eateries in the city, with 308 covers and more than 150 dishes from 14 countries.
And, unlike many all-you-can-eat restaurants, diners can have their food prepared as they watch at one of 10 live cooking stations.
Andrew, former head chef at Sakushi on Campo Lane in the city centre, says: “There is nowhere else offering a counter sushi service in Sheffield. With a rolling conveyor belt, you can have more dishes, but nobody knows how long it has been there – everything here is very fresh.
“If you can imagine, making sushi is like guiding an old lady across the road. You hold on to her elbow for support, but don’t apply any pressure. The idea is just to hold the rice together.
“It’s all about measurements that align with the chef. If I was slicing a fillet of tuna, I would make it three fingers high, so that’s why you get sushi of different sizes in different restaurants.
Cosmo held a dress rehearsal for family and friends on Sunday, as staff learned to navigate both the behind-the-scenes stores of everything from seaweed to marshmallows and the many tables in front.
Diners can eat around the world under one roof, with lamb tagine and a carvery just around the corner from Thai curry and a dessert counter with chocolate fountain – alongside food from India, China, Japan, Vietnam, Brazil, Italy and France.
There are 26 chefs at the restaurant – from across the world.
Even the tiles have been imported from China in the £1 million development.
John Tran, Cosmo manager, said: “The idea is there is something for everybody to eat no matter what they like.
“The good thing about Cosmo is we have chefs for each type of food, on their own speciality – not just one chef working on everything.
“That’s why the food is so good and authentic. It will be famous once people get to know it is here.”