This recipe is from Cape Town-based chef Liam Tomlin’s latest book, Tapas (self-published), R350. The book is full of appetising dishes perfect for alfresco dining.


  • 600g tail piece of tuna, with skin and sinew removed
  • 10ml peanut oil
  • 20ml wasabi paste
  • 5g toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 sheet of nori
  • 100ml Japanese mayonnaise
  • wasabi paste to taste
  • 2 spring onions, julienned
  • 1t poppy seeds
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • fresh lemon juice to taste


  1. Prepare the tuna several hours before serving by trimming it into a neat 400g cylinder using a long, thin-bladed knife.
  2. Tightly wrap in several layers of cling-film and refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. Unwrap the cylinder of tuna. Heat the peanut oil in a non-stick pan over a medium heat until almost smoking.
  4. Add the tuna and quickly and evenly sear, keeping it rare inside. Remove the tuna from the pan and allow to cool.
  5. Once cold, brush the tuna with the wasabi paste and roll it in the sesame seeds so that the entire piece is coated.
  6. Roll the tuna in several layers of cling-film and refrigerate while preparing the remainder of the dish.
  7. Mix the Japanese mayonnaise and wasabi paste together to taste and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  8. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to the boil. Add the soba noodles and cook until al dente (approximately 4-5 minutes).
  9. Drain the noodles into a colander and rinse under plenty of cold running water. At first, the water will be milky, as the noodles will give off excess surface starch.
  10. Place the noodles into a bowl of iced water. When cold, remove them by hand, squeezing the noodles gently to shed any excess water.
  11. Transfer them to a bowl and dress them with the wasabi mayonnaise, and add the spring onions and poppy seeds.
  12. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper.
  13. Using a sharp knife, slice the nori into a fine julienne. Unwrap the seared tuna and slice into 4 neat medallions using a sharp knife.
  14. Brush each slice with the sesame oil and lightly season with salt, freshly ground pepper and a squeeze of lemon.
  15. Divide the noodles between 4 chilled plates, place a slice of tuna on top of the noodles and garnish with the nori.

This recipe serves 4 people