There’s something very comforting about Takara Ramen & Deli Sushi Bar. Stepping inside from the Luas tracks on Abbey Street feels like entering an IKEA showroom apartment. Fake plants and grass line the walls with light wood weaving between the two. Everything moves at a very fast pace here, with the bell in the tiny window to the kitchen ringing at a regular rhythm. People come and go quickly but it never feels rushed – just efficient.
As with most sushi places, there’s enough choice in their vegetarian sushi for vegans to get by. Where Takara stands out for me is their two vegan bentos. The vegan bento box is served only at lunchtime (roughly 12-3) while the vegan ramen bento is served all day (Monday-Sunday 12pm-10/11pm). What I love about dedicated vegan options like this is that not only does it take the worry out of ordering but also, as they’re bentos, they give you a taste of what Takara has to offer.
I order the vegan bento box (€8.99) as I’m here at lunchtime and soon after a miso soup arrives. Takara’s miso is light and with plenty of little bits of tofu and seaweed – but not so much that it tastes like fish. Perfect for me.
After I have finished the soup, the bento box arrives – as perfectly arranged as each bento that’s come out before it. A selection of gyoza, sushi, fried tofu, mixed vegetables and rice with small portions of wasabi, pickled ginger and soy sauce.
It feels like you are getting a real sense of what Takara is about in this colourful mix. The tofu is cooked well – crispy outside and soft inside, the gyoza are delicious and the sushi is a nice break from what would otherwise be a quite heavy meal. I’m not sure that I need the extra rice though I’m sure some would enjoy it.
It’s so nice to move from one taste and texture to the next. I sometimes wish that all meals were broken up like this – with a little bit of a lot of things. The flavours show there has been a lot of thought into the vegan food at Takara. Not once did it feel like the vegan options were any less than the rest of their food.
I leave feeling satisfied and relaxed. Full of vegan food that hasn’t felt like a hassle to order. This isn’t my first time here and it definitely won’t be my last.