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Evaluate: Oka, Carlisle – vibrant dishes and decor, sensible flavours at new addition to metropolis – Denise Evans

Review Oka Carlisle colourful dishes and decor brilliant flavours

For me, among the finest issues about travelling and visiting information cities is having fun with the meals.

I do not simply imply the nation’s conventional delicacies, however impartial eating places, a cooking model I have not tried shortly or a restaurant that is been really helpful to me.

The latter is the case for me, as I journeyed up the M6 to Carlisle, arriving within the orange glow on a late winter’s afternoon forward of my go to to Oka, which opened in autumn 2021.

READ MORE: Review: King Street Kitchen, Whalley – a Michelin-star standard menu

The Asian fusion road eats place brings modern eating to the historic Carlyle’s Courtroom space of the Cumbria metropolis.

And though it is comparatively new to the Carlisle culinary scene, it is swiftly grow to be a agency favorite because the restaurant was full on a cold Wednesday night time in January, normally a notoriously fairly time for consuming out.

I problem anybody to not be immediately cheered by the intense and vibrant loom-style panelling on the partitions and ceiling, transporting you to a restaurant in bustling market in Thailand, Malaysia or Japan.



Inside Oka, Carlisle

Coupled with the smells, sizzles and clanging from the open kitchen you actually get caught up within the genuine ambiance it has put a lot thought into creating.

Personally, it explicitly jogged my memory of a tiny noodle and rice wine (sake) bar hidden down the aspect of my resort in Sarawak, Borneo, that had a kind of bead issues handing within the doorway and meals simply saved on popping out.

Facet notice, I used to be additionally given a marker pen to signal my identify and doodle on the desk however Oka have been good sufficient to not let me try this there.

Our Oka server was an enthralling pleasure from begin to end. She animatedly talked us via the menu totally, providing up her suggestions, taking the time to ask us what flavours we most well-liked whether or not it spicy, meat or seafood.

We have been eager to strive as many forms of dishes as attainable, so went for a range from most sections – appetizers (together with each day particular gyozas), nigiri, sashimi, temaki, sushi rolls, poke bowls, donburi bowls, ramen bowls, meat, bao buns and a variety of aspect dishes.



Juicy: The prawn gyozas, on the specials menu at Oka in Carlisle
Juicy: The prawn gyozas, on the specials menu at Oka in Carlisle

Identical to in Borneo and what’s customary with Asian eating, our dishes got here out each time they have been prepared, in no particular order.

To me, it is completely logical to verify service and cooking is as environment friendly as it may be and in addition to serve meals when it’s at its hottest and most recent.

The prawn gyozas (4 for £6.25) set the meal off proper, with juicy prawns laced with a tangy chilli hit, delicately enveloped contained in the silky easy, steamed dough.

Temaki is certainly one of my favorite sushi, partly as a result of I like who it seems to be like a little bit ice cream cone, brilliantly appetising colors and all.



The adorable Temaki which resembles and ice cream cone (back) and the panko prawn and shiso mayo version (foreground)
The lovely Temaki which resembles and ice cream cone (again) and the panko prawn and shiso mayo model (foreground)

Our panko prawn and shiso mayo one (£8.50 for 2 items) has loads of filling stuffed within the seaweed wrap and went effectively with the soy sauce dip.

We might have had extra however we had about seven extra dishes nonetheless to come back.

Our seafood theme continued with the prawn dragon rolls (£7 for 4 and £13 for eight), which supplied up a mixture of flavours I might by no means tried collectively earlier than – Panko prawn, avocado and Sriracha mayo.

The mayo labored splendidly with the crispy prawns and the avocado gave them an earthy, cool and candy edge, ultimate or anybody not eager on an excessive amount of chilli warmth.



The delicious duck tempura
The scrumptious duck tempura

From the sushi rolls menu, I might additionally extremely advocate the duck tempura (£7.50 for 4 and £14 for eight) with the citrussy ponzu dressing giving the meaty duck a beautiful mild syrupy snap.

The teriyaki beef donburi bowl (£9.50) appeared fabulous and fairly mild for a primary, with the sticky beef and crunchy carrots sitting on prime of the sticky rice.

Whereas the Japanese beef kare (£10.50), which we ordered with onion rice (£3) on the wonderful advice of our waitress, was a standout dish I’d not hesitate to order time and again.

There was a great deal of the Japanese-style sluggish cooked beef, which was succulent and tender and submerged within the thick, gravy-like curry sauce, with the nice and cozy peanuts and kale including some additional crunch and texture, veggie-ness and nutritional vitamins.



The teriyaki beef donburi bowl was another colourful and fun dish at Oka
The teriyaki beef donburi bowl was one other vibrant and enjoyable dish at Oka

Other than a few sushi parts my good friend took residence for her companion, who, by the way once I requested her if he loved them, she replied “he got here residence and he was like ‘omg that sushi’, he was exhibiting it off at work,” we polished off the lot.

And as I’ve discovered with sushi and rice bowl dishes, we have been full however not sadly so and felt like we would had an excellent, wholesome and flavoursome feast.

Each dish is particular person, aesthetically fairly and the menu displays the plain plentiful talent of the cooks, data of flavour mixtures and of real Asian dishes and cooking practices.

For those who reside in or round Carlisle or are ever passing via, you completely have to go to Oka.

Hey, I reside two hours away Lancashire and I might go there and again in an evening to devour that beef kare once more.



The beef kare was a highlight dish at Oka in Carlisle
The meat kare curry with onion sticky rice was a spotlight dish at Oka in Carlisle

Meals reviews by Denise Evans are printed each Sunday morning. The restaurant didn’t know we have been coming and our evaluate is nameless.

To maintain up to date, observe Discover Lancs on Facebook and @LiveLancs on Twitter.

Have you ever acquired information for us? Contact our what’s on and tourism author on denise.evans@reachplc.com

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