Pichi Pichi Sushi Sushi
That golden kitten will not stop waving at me. I watch, eyes growing wider, as its paw moves like a metronome to its own entranced beat. It’s cosy inside. Although there’s music playing overhead, rattling on about good times and high lives, Pichi Pichi still feels like a confined space straight from the void. An ageless eternity. This is how I feel when I’m inside any sushi bar. It’s as though the Japanese culture segues its way in with serenity and calm. I’m calm. I’m serene.
I’m not exactly sure what to do so I decide to serve myself. I grip a menu and huddle in the corner, where I’m confronted by other people languishing outside of the fashion shops that neighbour Pichi Pichi. Sushi zombies, hungry for raw fish. Ignoring them, I glance at the wall and it’s all too much to bear. Across from me a spiny blue fish tucks into nigari, while an orange octopus opens its mouth, forcing a writhing, helpless prawn in with its spindly tentacles. I’m bugging out, but at least the chair I’m on is comfortable and although the speakers overhead are not playing the sounds of Earth’s vibrations or waves crashing while dreamcatchers chime in the distance, I feel calm staring at a table of chopsticks and soy sauce.
Pichi Pichi is soothing with an eccentric character, like an octopus ambling through the murky waters, tentacles and suction cups lulling you as it ensconces you. Art decorates the walls in an intentionally smack-bang way that encourages you to browse around while you wait. It’s small inside, seats around about 16 people; they do takeouts for the rest and the very chopstick-skilled humans can float around Braam while dipping tender salmon roses into soy sauce from the green or red bottle. It feels as though I am in The Matrix, only my choice hinges on whether I’ll be getting 37% more or less sodium, depending on how you look at it. I’m a risk taker, so I go for the tried and tested Kikkoman. The sushi arrives in no time at all, served on an ornamental wooden plate, and as soon as I take my first bite the infernal cannibalistic octopus and fish recede back into the wall and become the piece of art they were intended to be. I still speak to them and the kitten, because I’m alone and I miss my kitten constantly.
If you aren’t paying attention you could walk straight past the slight doorway at 70 Juta Street. The entrance reminds me of dingy bars filled with rotting walls playing cigarette-stained music but this is Braam: trendy is unavoidable. Even if you’re trying to do something intentionally not trendy, the message will be misconstrued and adopt a new meaning. Pichi Pichi brings sushi to people who love sushi. Next time you’re out in the inner city streets, before you buy a new pair of sneakers, slip into Pichi Pichi.
Where? 70 Juta Street, Braamfontein
When? 10am – 9pm every day of the week
Contact? 011 339 7576
by Daniel McCaughtry