Sabi Sushi is coming to Oslo – full throttle! In March, Sabi Omakase opens at Vikaterrassen as an Oslo version of the successful Stavanger restaurant, but you know that already if you read my restaurant rumors. What you don’t know, however, is that the Nordic rendition of an authentic Japanese edomae sushi-ya will have 12 seats, an omakase (“trust the chef”) tasting menu and none other than Alex Cabiao behind the counter! Yes, that’s THE Alex – the former co-founder and -owner of Alex Sushi.
The Return of the Sushi-Master Alex Cabiao!
Alex Cabiao has left Alex Sushi to join Sabi Sushi’s expansion, and once again work as the edomae sushi master he truly is. Cabiao will be fully in charge of the restaurant, just like Roger runs the Omakase in Stavanger. A fun fact: Alex has been responsible for training basically every skilled sushi chef who works in Norway – including Jonathan Uy Romano of Jonathan Sushi and Roger Asakil Joya of Sabi Omakase.
Sabi Izakaya – Informal Japanese restaurant
Sabi Izakaya will open shortly after – serving both sushi and izakaya classics like shabu shabu, katsu, and binchotan-grilled yakiniku (just google them and drool!). «Izakaya» means an informal Japanese gastropub. The place will be run by head chef Vladimir Pak, who secured the 3rd place in the World Sushi Championship last year. He previously worked at one of the regular California-style Sabi Sushi restaurants at Hinna outside Stavanger.
Jonathan Sushi becomes Sabi Sushi
In addition, most branches of Jonathan Sushi in Oslo (Vinderen, Fornebu, and Stabekk) will become Sabi Sushi franchises during 2017. Sabi has also announced that they’re moving into Bergen with at least one restaurant, maybe more. This is full Sabi takeover!
Sabi Omakase is an award-winning concept
Sabi Omakase was the most exciting new restaurant I visited in Norway in 2015. You can read about my first visit here, and I’ve later been back two more times last year as well. My fourth visit will be in February this year, but now it’s getting increasingly difficult to secure a reservation. No wonder, when you consider that throughout 2016 head chef Roger Asakil Joya continued to prove his skills over and over again. First, by being included in the White Guide at a Global Masters Level next to Maaemo and Re-naa. Secondly, by winning the Norwegian semi-finals of The Nordic Prize (also known as the Nordic 66 Best) – and Sabi Omakase might still win the finals in May.
Michelin Stars next?
Last, but not least, Sabi Omakase was mentioned by the Michelin Guide in a recent tweet stating «Superb Norwegian ingredients at Sabi Omakase #Stavanger.» February 22nd has never been more exciting. Obviously, the inspectors have been there. I think there could even be a star in the horizon for chef Joya – who, by the way, secured the 4th place in the World Sushi Championship in both 2015 and -16.
People say Sabi instead of sushi
Sabi Sushi has been a huge success in my home region of Sandnes and Stavanger for years already. Within Rogaland, they’ve expanded to Haugesund and Bryne as well. Capital cities have a tendency to either not notice or certainly care less about stuff that happens in smaller cities. Maybe that’s why one of the countries largest newspapers described Sabi Omakase’s ranking in the White Guide as “unknown Stavanger-restaurant ranked at the same level as Maaemo.” In either case, Sabi is about to become a household name for Oslo citizens as well. In Sandnes and Stavanger, Sabi is close to being the generic name for sushi. Just like we say «google» instead of «search,» they won’t say «do you feel like sushi?» but rather «do you feel like Sabi?»
Make sushi great again
Most sushi shops in Oslo are small, cheap, and let’s face it – rather low-quality establishments. Some notable exceptions are Alex Sushi, Jonathan Sushi, Kamai, and Jonoe. What Sabi Sushi has meant for Rogaland inhabitants is a stable quality, guaranteed fresh produce, and great tasting combos. Sabi Sushi has made sushi fun, safe and enjoyable, rather than risky and dull. In 2017, they will make sushi great again in Oslo and Bergen too. I say that in the least Trump-friendly manner possible, by the way.
Have you been to Sabi Sushi or Omakase? Please share your experience in a comment.
This post is part of a series of sponsored articles that will follow Sabi Sushis expansion to Oslo and Bergen. As always, the content will be my personal opinions and reflections.