Open since March, the homey Maruyama attracts a diverse crowd. When I went, the other customers were a small group of nuns, an expat and his local friend, a couple of white collar friends and a solo diner.
I had heard alot about Maruyama's sushi but was still dubious. Would it be rubbery? Do they use veggies to mimic the texture? I started to become convinced when my first "salmon" sushi came out, made from konjac and colored with red yeast.
With the rice, soy sauce and a bit of wasabi, it tasted just like salmon but with the fattiness toned down. The staff later told me that they brushed it with their home-made teriyaki sauce and used a blowtorch to brown the "fish" —— making it slightly chewier than jelly. From a health perspective, I felt less guilty — konjac has almost no calories.
The "grilled eel" was quite good as well. The soy fiber managed to create a firm-fleshed texture. Although not as deceiving as the salmon sushi, it nevertheless was a sophisticated small bite.
Maruyama also serves veganized oden, fried "chicken" nuggets and "beef" bowls at night to a soundtrack of old-school Japanese pop music. Pricing is about 120rmb and cheaper at lunch, when they offer sets.
Maruyama is a ten-minute walk from the established Buddhist restaurant Vegan Delights. Like their neighbor, I hope they stick around for a long time to come.
Maruyama, 451 Dapu Lu, near Neihuan Gaojia Lu.