Sushi plaques pour $2!: Sushi Hotaru @ les Galeries
I wouldn't call this place a University Student Lunchtimes, because seriously The Galleries is too far from any University Campus (Even the USYD Law Building). So I actually went here after a shift at work, since I do both my studies and work in the CBD. Being in the city so often really makes it difficult to choose what I'll be having for breakfast, lunch or dinner. But one day I was passing by Sushi Hotaru and saw their $2/plate sign for the anniversary. I had it noted down so I'd come back for it.
So on a lovely day, I got myself excited for $2 plates, and everyone knows thats some amazing deal there. The novelty with Sushi Hotaru is that not only ca you have the fun of picking up plates from the train but ordering using the ipads that you share with your seating partner. Since I was alone, I was amazed constantly by the amount of plates the man seated next to me had... He had 26 plates, I didn't fare well in comparison and I had forgotten to take photos so heres what I had and the photos I took with a flimsy Phone Camera.
Prawn Fry Roll & Grilled Salmon
I had ordered both of these, and the best thing about ordering them is how fresh they arrive to you. They are toasty and crispy. The prawn fry comes with only 3 pieces and the tail is still intact. The only thing I dislike about the roll is the inclusion of lettuce. It seems to neo-traditional to me, and crispy lettuce has never been an ideal ingredient for me. However its fresh cold texture didn't distract me too much from the rice and crispy tempura of the prawn.
The grilled salmon is melt in your mouth, sweet thanks to the sweetened soy sauce that is glazed over the nigiri pieces. Perfectly grilled and one of my favourite ways to have salmon. Cannot go wrong with grilled salmon.
Soft Shell Crab & Takoyaki
Soft Shell crab is the nicest "fanciest" stuffing in a sushi, completely crispy and amazing with its spicy sauce. It looks impressively plated. I actually picked up this roll off the train, in saying so it may not have been ideally crispy and the garnished renkon chip had a stale texture to it. Not crispy and cold.
When I'm at a sushi train, I always order my takoyaki balls. They are always super hot, so I've learnt my lesson to have 2 plates prior to munching down on these. The difference about these takoyaki balls is how incredibly crispy they are on the outside - meaning they weren't rushed to make (like you would get them at the Friday Night Markets, Tamayaki or Fujiya's Takoyaki Stall). Though the balls are smaller than what you'd get out at a stall, they still have all the squid/octopus pieces inside and the hot steaming batter.
Renkon Chips & Salmon Onion Nigiri
I remember it was possibly 2010 when I got hooked on Renkon Chips, whether its the seasoning or my addiction to snacking on chips these bad boys arrived a while after ordering them. From the photo you can see how heaped up on a plate they were, and I continuously had one going down until there was none left. I don't care where you are but if you have renkon chips as an option on your menu! You must have some
Salmon Onion Nigiri is my favourite over at Takumi Sushi Train, however at Sushi Hotaru they have a standing sushi roll filled with avocado and cucumber. And now you will learn my second sushi peeve - I don't like cucumber in my sushi. But other than that, the wasabi mayonaise was nice (the wasabi was very mild), the onions was heaped on the roll and of course salmon is perfect. I had picked this plate up from the train - it still tasted fresh regardless.
Green Tea Ice Cream
A tradition I held since studying Japanese back in 2006, I would finish up a Japanese meal with green tea ice cream. I ordered this off the ipad, and it arrived swiftly after. As you can see they are frozen while scooped. That really doesn't stop me, the matcha flavour and texture is actually well incorporated with the ice cream so you don't feel the grain on your tongue when you're having it. It was surprisingly smooth. Green Tea is perfect to cleanse your palate and was a perfect way to finish my lunch before I headed home.
Sushi Hotaru is said by many of my friends' favourite Sushi Train. Though its not no. 1 for me I'm sure its still an amazing experience for everyone. The novelty of a sushi train, ordering from an ipad, a huge variety of sushi at set price of $3/plate, it really is a great dine in point. I've never eaten here in a crowd so I can't say whether service is any different, but even while I was eating alone I didn't feel any weird judgement for doing so. So its all good in my books.