A decade ago, the mere mention of sushi in this country would be met with the wrinkling of noses and comments like 'urghhh, how can you eat raw fish?’ This has all changed. Because sushi is eye- catching, healthy and, most importantly, not solely uncooked sea creatures, it has found a place for itself in our cultural landscape. It's now a new favourite as a lunchtime takeaway and most supermarkets are falling over themselves to sell us the stuff.

But the real joy of sushi is the fun to be had going out to order. Enter Glasgow's new flagship 0K0, which gets its name from okonomi; Japanese for the art of ordering sushi food. The 120-seater restaurant and bar located in Ingram Street is backed by Simple Minds frontman Jim Kerr while managing director Stephen Ellis is founder of Fusion in Glasgow's Byres Road. Both hope to make this kind of cuisine more accessible and to furnish the city's diners with a new eating experience.

As well as the ex-head chef and second chef from Harvey Nichols in London, 0K0 boasts a host of high- tech features. In its show kitchen, the sushi chefs are kept company by robots making nigiri rice balls while another specially-designed automaton serves drinks.

’Within 30 seconds of walking in the door you can be seated and eating,’ Ellis explains. 'You can be in and out in twenty minutes, if you want. But it's not all about speed, it will also be the kind of place that people can enjoy a leisurely meal too.’ This rapidity is made possible by a conveyor belt that runs round the tables


Stephen Ellis and Jim Kerr give 0K0 the th


umbs up


giving customers the opportunity to have a good look

to £3.75.


There's a little slice of heaven available in Edinburgh’s Stills gallery these days, for those of us whose idea of lunchtime nirvana is good French home cooking Follow the SlgflS rwhite fluffy

114 THE lIST 6—20); 2000

French heaven at Stills

clouds on a brilliant blue background) on to the mezzanine floor and yeti'll reach Cafe D’Odile. Beneath a blue ceiling and mirrors which reflect the skies above, Odile Petre has launched a sister restaurant to her successful operation in the French Institute Plain

at the 100 or so dishes on offer. All items are served on colour-coded plates denoting a price ranging from £1.75

Unsurprisingly, considering sushi's origins and the concept behind the restaurant, OKO's decor is a mixture of the traditional and the contemporary. The minimalism of wrought iron detail and black leather upholstery is tempered by the use of rich warm wood. 0K0 is carving out a path that others are bound to follow. (Dawn Kofie) 74$ OKO, 68 Ingram Street, Glasgow, 0747 572 7500.

white chairs, a smattering of green plants and some heavyweight tablecloths make up the kind of pleasant no-nonsense envrronment where what's on your plate is what really c0unts,

The food is robust and sure-footed: sav0ury tarts like tomato and parmesan, intrigumg pies featuring game and frurt, meat and fish dishes and home-made desserts, These can be washed down wrth wrne, beer or bottles of French cider. Beyond lunchtime, snacks and cakes are available to accompany the excellent and still hard to find illy coffee. More than a gallery cafe, this is a destination in itself and it's unpretentious, but distinctly lelblthUS. To tempt new customers there’s an excellent two-for- One Offer until Wednesday 19 July on set lunches at £6.90 for two courses, (it’s StlbjeCl to availability, so do check). On current form, this place is one to watch. As many of Odile's regulars have found, once tried, her cooking is habit-forming and paradise rs often closer to home than you think.

(Mona Jeffrey) at Cafe D’Odi/e, Stills, 23 Coc'kbi/rn Street, Edinburgh, 0737 225 I333.

Spit or swallow

It’s all done in the best possible taste Argentina has oft been thought of as the poor man's Chile in the modern Wine—making world This cOLildn’t be further from the truth, as many grape varieties seem so ideally suited to the Argentinean climate than to its western neigthiir. With a heavy Italian influence, it's of no surprise that we see qurte a few Italian grape varieties dominating the vinous output of the country. Santa Julia Viognier 1999 (£449) Viognier is one of the trendiest white grapes gomg at the moment. At its best as Condrieu in the RhOne valley, rt now has a resurgence in the New World. This has all the hallmarks of the grape: rose petals and apricots. Beefed up wrth 20% Chardonnay, this adds a fair amount of body, If you are tired of ’traditional’ grape varieties, then do try this, especially if you're dining with Oriental food: a match made in heaven. Corazon Pinot Gris 1999 (£3.99 or three for £10) Forget your preconceptions of cheap Italian Pinot l

GTIS. This has much more character, bursting With lychee f' frtiit and limey notes. i Truly a light, fresh - wine that will serve as a tonic to those sick of Chardonnay and the like. And it accompanies most veggie/fish/white meat dishes so well, Corazon Bonarda 1999 (£3.99 three for £10) Italian in origin, this is the most widely planted red grape in Argentina. As SUCh it .- . can be QUIIE‘ bland,

and erQLiently inSIpid

This, however, is

packed full of white

pepper spice, with a trace of raspberries in the background. Its quality belies its price and to be honest, I'd be happy if I’d paid £6 for the same bottle Corazon Tempranillo 1999 (£4.49) This is an Argentinean go at a mature Spanish RIOJd. Although it’s only a r year old, it does it very ""“’""""‘°: well: the nose is l typically stinky, and r loaded With creme

caramel and bruised

prunes (this rs a good thing> Fantastically complex at a stupid price Grab rt while y0u can.

iGordon Haggartyr

All Wines available from Bottoms Up and selected Victoria Wines

JIN‘UT rims