For many people, New Year’s resolutions involve something food related: whether it’s eating fewer crisps, eating more broccoli, or cutting down on your chocolate croissant habit, gastro-guilt abounds. The main resolution though seems to be just to eat less, full stop.
Eating out is full of pitfalls in this regard, not least because of the slow creep upwards in restaurant portion sizes. One place that avoids these problems is Bouzu (Ronda de Sant Antoni 26, tel. 93 443 3226, www.bouzu.es), a place that describes its fare as “Japanese tapas”, thus providing a happy combination of small portions and relatively wholesome ingredients (along with prices that are easy on the traumatised post-Christmas wallet).
The focus in this warm and simply decorated little eatery is on everyday Japanese food such as udon, donburi and teppanyaki, but no sushi or sashimi. For a sumo-sized health kick you could try the steamed salmon on a bed of wakame seaweed and ginger, the takowasa (a punchy dish of raw octopus marinaded in wasabi), a tender fillet of semi-raw tuna or an udon salad with fat juicy prawns and an array of prettily chopped raw broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage on salad leaves and seaweed.
The deal couldn't be simpler: you grab a seat, browse the menu, tick the numbered boxes on a little form and then hand it to one of the many mute but very smiley waitresses buzzing around. Most of the more substantial noodle dishes can be ordered as half portions (around €7) but a whole one (at about €9) would be a meal in itself and, if you can nab a seat up at the bar, is served so quickly that it pretty much counts as fast food. One of Bouzu’s standouts is the teppanyaki dish of okonomuyaki (€8.90), which is described as “Japanese pizza” on the menu but actually bears more of a resemblance to tortilla, being a kind of fat egg pancake flashed on the plancha with shredded cabbage, flour, grated yam, bean sprouts, dashi and either pork or seafood under a drift of fluttering dried bonito flakes. Recommended.