Find treasure at Sakura Island

Sakura Island is a Korean and Japanese fusion restaurant located north of the King and University intersection. Amidst an abundance of student-oriented fast food chains and franchises, Sakura Island provides an appropriately-priced selection of rolls and teriyaki dishes, as well as an assortment of fresh raw fish sashimi, catering to the needs of students who want to have both Korean and Japanese food under the same roof.

The restaurant has a strong family feel and a nice, cozy, and warm environment. There are special booth type seats for parties of 4–6 guests that offer high level of privacy. All guests are served complementary miso soup and salad, which are pretty much standards for this type of restaurant.

First came the soft-shell crab appetizer — a deep fried soft shell crab with sweet sauce. The freshly-fried crab was very crunchy and fresh, while the crab innards slowly oozed out and melted in my mouth.

Next came the nine-piece assorted sashimi plate, which included salmon, tuna, yellow tail, oil fish, octopus, mackerel and red snapper. The fish was nice and fresh, especially the yellow tail and the oil fish, which stood out at having a meaty texture and strong umami flavour.

The Black Dragon roll, which was a shrimp tempura with avocado, cucumber, crab meat, and BBQ eel and avocado on top. The plating was beautiful as the chef had carefully placed the mayo and soy mixture in a flowery pattern dressing the rolls, which were neatly placed on a wooden plate. The crunchiness of the tempura complemented the soft sweetness of the cucumber and avocado, while the sauce mixture blended in nicely to create a flavourful experience.

The subsequent rolls had similar platings, including the Too Much Love roll, which was a deep fried salmon and avocado, cucumber, crab meat, tobiko with a green onion and “special sauce.”  The salmon was rather dry, as a result of the deep-frying process. The roll felt really heavy and oily but tasted really interesting as the salmon and avocado matched really well.

Next was the Dynamite roll, a shrimp tempura with crab meat, avocado, and cucumber with tobiko. This roll looked the best out of all the rolls, as the mixture of the orange tobiko and green of the avocado created a contrasting color palette that looked extremely appetizing. The taste was not too bad either; although extremely similar to the Black Dragon roll, this was a lot lighter and easier to stomach.

A visit the Sakura Island would not be complete without trying their Korean dishes, I ordered a Korean staple, the Soon Doo Bu, a spicy soft tofu soup with small meat bits. The soup broth was extremely hearty and stomach filling although slightly salty and strong on the spiciness.

For cost-conscious students, there is a great selection of lunch ranging from $10 to $15 for teriyaki to bulgogi, and sushi combinations. Through the delivery website, delivery is available for $6.95 for orders above $10.

This restaurant is very popular amongst students and well known as being one of the go-to Japanese restaurants within our area. Their Korean dishes are quite good too, but it seems that along with the name, they would like to be considered as a Japanese restaurant more so than a Korean. I would strongly recommend anyone who has yet to try this restaurant to make a visit.