Away from all the tourist din and not far from the Torres de Quart you will find the Botanical Gardens of Valencia. The quietly hip & understated barrio of ‘Botánico’ is literally across the road from the historic centre and is discreetly waiting to be discovered…
This is one of the barrio’s most distinctive jewels and is known as ‘Nikkei Valencia.’ They serve a quality Japanese-Peruvian fusion cuisine. They explained to us that their distinctive logo combines the colour red that represents Asia with the fish-tail that is part of Inca culture. The interior is clean & gently eye-catching. You’ll notice that the minimalist lines on the walls give the restaurant a coherent & calm feel, making it just right for lunching and dining in good company. There is a positive energy to this place, which augurs well for the future.
Nikkei is the name given to the Japanese who emigrated to Peru and developed a truly distinctive cuisine of the same name. Our knowledgeable and helpful host Fabio was based in London for seven years. He was truly inspired by his involvement with a “Nikkei” restaurant in Soho…before eventually moving to Valencia.
The amiable chef Luca has proved to be a real artist in the kitchen, providing a fresh presentation with a lightness of touch. You can see & taste the love put into the dishes that fuse Asian and South American ingredients & traditions with some new ideas. This is a very attractive, healthy & delish combination.
The last time we ate at Nikkei for a delightful lunch it was spacious when we arrived and completely full by the time we left… with an age range from early twenties to late sixties and about 70% of the customers being locals. The vibe is open-minded; this is for people curious for new experiences.
The vintage music soundtrack started with some swinging blues, seeped into catchy French chanson and swayed along with jazz from the eternal Bille Holiday. These are people with really good taste in music and food…always a good sign.
For starters, we went for tempura de verduras, which was humorously presented in a cone with newspaper-style paper. The tempura sticks included courgette, eggplant, carrot and cabbage in a Japanese batter that was a light and agreeable introduction to the proceedings. To accompany our lunch, we went for a bottle of Albariño Bicos D.O. (Rias Baixas). This vino blanco is a current favourite of ours when dining out… a fresh white wine that is great to accompany all sorts of tapas & platos and rewarding between dishes too.
Our ‘Solterito de Quinoa’ was beautifully presented with corn, cheese, olives, quinoa, red onion and green peppers. It was colourful and very appealing to look at, let alone taste! It was full-flavoured, consistent and with a subtle touch too. There really was a lot of amor put into this dish.
The ‘Sea bass ceviche with Rocoto peppers’ from Peru was memorable too. This is not such an easy dish to make effectively in terms of balance, especially getting the consistency of the fish right. It turned out to be a very special fusion, instead of the traditional ‘Ceviche’ that you tend to come across. It was very agreeable with the combination of peppers, lubina fish and fresh yellow mango. The Passion Fruit juice from South America added a very special touch to this refreshing main course. We found this to be a very interesting mixture that was “rico” and just right or as they say here: “en su punto.”
For our sushi dish, we allowed maître d’ Fabio to present us with his own personal favourite, which was ‘Maki tempura spicy roll with teriyaki sauce.’ Presented on a trendy rectangular black tabla, it was nourishing and very balanced with the wasabi & ginger to accompany giving it a bit of kick. Conveniently, the very well-designed carta is in both Spanish & English.
We were curious to try a postre from the Peruvian capital called ‘Suspiro Limeño.’ Combining the warmth and solidity of the merengue with the sublime freshness of the lime underneath, it was a clearly confident dessert of perfect contrasts and with a lot of personality.
All in all, a very satisfying and different Sunday lunch from the norm and with lovely service too. We plan to go back soon to try the Wok Noodles, Tuna Tataki, Niguiri and Sashimi next time around!
Nikkei Valencia is special and we do recommend you visit. However, space is limited so it is best to reserve beforehand.
C/ Lepanto, 26
Zona Botanico (near Torres de Quart)
Tel:96 3 113 578
Movil:651 974 299
Open Tuesdays to Saturdays: 13.30h -15.30h /20.30h -23.30h
Sundays: 13.30h -15.30h
Menu del dia 14.90€ with dessert/ 13.90€ without dessert from Tuesday to Friday
Average price for the carta between 20€-25€