Sushi E Redux n = 2
For my first post on Sushi E, please click here.
Well, it looks like I’ve arrived at the point in my backlog of restaurants to be blogged where I’ve come full circle to Sushi E again. I’ve been there thrice now, and as usual, it still does not disappoint. Now, it’s time to expand the palate, while maintaining that sweet, sweet quality which, unfortunately, also includes that sweet, sweet drain on the wallet.
I still maintain Sushi E is one of the better sushi places out there – the sushi is as fresh as it can be – made for you on the spot (to order), and is one of the only sushi experiences that’s anywhere close to dining at a sushi-ya in Japan.
Let’s jump right in!
Date Last Visited: 7/1/13
Address: 252 George St Sydney, NSW 2000
Recommended Dish(es): pork belly – WITH RICE
Sushi E’s premise, as before, is that of a traditional-style sushi bar seldom found in Sydney. You sit in direct view of the chefs (itamae), and make your orders either from them directly, or from the wait-staff that circle around attending to your every need. As usual, you could sit at your own table and order dishes normally, but – at the risk of sounding kind of douchey – that’s so blasé, why not do it differently?
Other comments from my previous post apply too: the price is VERY expensive, and for 95% of the population, isn’t worth it. Secondly, the service is VERY slow – they do take their time to create your sushi.
If you can stomach the price, and can appreciate that the time taken to get your food out is indicative of the effort put in to create your works of art, read on. Sushi never has looked better, at Sushi E.
A lot of you may be familiar with the cover photo for this post, as it’s also the cover photo for this blog’s Facebook Page. That delicious sushi. Well, it’s time to introduce the name of the beauty – the Atlantic Roll.
Well, it’s nothing particularly new, but I don’t think I’ve ever had a better roll that’s similar in composition to the Atlantic roll. From the first bite, the salmon, soft and creamy, melts into a pot of just-right acidic sushi rice (uruchimai) which holds together perfectly. Flavour is then injected in the next few bites from the salmon roe & mayo combo, leveling it up a notch. This taste and texture then rolls into the salmon filling at the center, which is when the seaweed finally shows itself, and an umami finish from it seals the deal.
No wonder uramaki (inside-out – I/O) sushi is so popular. Phooar.
Did I mention how good it looks? People say “looks are one thing, taste is another”, but as research has shown, the look of food, particular its colour and how “fresh” and “awesome” it is, does have a measurable effect. That may seem like bad news, but really – all the more incentive for great presentation, right?
In short, looks do matter
Goodness, it wouldn’t be a post on sushi without the nigiri right? Once again, Sushi E plates up some amazing nigiri, a feast for the eyes, as well as the mouth. But look at the price for just these 8 pieces – at an average of $6.6 per piece, these pieces of fish on rice are not to be taken lightly.
As expected, the fish bellies are the most expensive – the belly of fish are almost always going to make for the most expensive nigiri, as they’re the most coveted, due to their awesome texture. Fish belly essentially melts in your mouth, and the flavour sensation is just…overwhelming (in a very, very good way).
Generally, the best and most sought-after type of fish belly is ootoro (or o-toro) – bluefin tuna belly. It’s also unfortunately very pricey because of that, with a record-breaking tuna sold for $8000/kg. Yeah, that’s crazy. You can now officially forgive the fact that virtually no sushi restaurants in Sydney will ever serve you o-toro. Sake restaurant and Sokyo was as close as we’ve ever gotten. It’s not even on Sushi E’s menu (but boy, I would be very interested to see the price if it were…)
So, that’s the “fyi” lesson over and done with. It doesn’t excuse the fact that Sushi E’s nigiri is so expensive though.
Aji nigiri is always quite pretty to look at, due to all the skin and flesh textures in the fish. In taste, it’s quite oily and fishy, and it’s recommended to use more than normal amounts of shoyu.
In the absence of tuna belly, salmon belly rules the roost. One of my favourite raw nigiri, you could never disappoint me with this unless it’s just not fresh fish. Of course, Sushi E does not disappoint.
Ocean trout belly is sometimes a suitable substitute for salmon belly. In fact, they’re so similar, I’m not even sure why I ordered the two together. The defining differences are that ocean trout is slightly fattier and fishier. While many connoisseurs prefer ocean trout over salmon for a more subtle flavour, I personally could not care less. They’re both A-Awesome.
Admittedly, I was not very impressed with the maguro at Sushi E this time around. There was a pervasive “graininess” which permeated through the entire piece, and while it tasted natural, it didn’t taste right. I still don’t know what happened there, but it wasn’t the best of nigiri to finish off with.
You would probably have never expected me to come out with an order of pork belly at a place like Sushi E (and the go-to dish this time round too!), but thanks to a recommendation given by a foodie friend, I decided to give it a go.
I have to say, it’s actually the richest and most overwhelmingly flavoursome pork belly I’ve had in memory. You will actually have serious issues with it if you don’t order rice. Please order rice with this dish – it’s just far too rich otherwise.
It all starts with the potato puree – velvet is indeed an apt description, the creaminess and richness unmatched. Following this is some of the fattiest pork belly you’d have ever seen. It’s remarkably consistent too, almost looking like a small building with alternating floors of fat and muscle. The succulence is just insane. The 5-hour braising process has made sure that all the flavour of the mustard stock has been infused into the meat, and then with additional sauce in the bowl, makes for a dish with one heck of a kick.
It may just be too much for me – I wouldn’t not be able to eat a whole bowl without rice by myself. But with rice? You could not ask for a better accompanying main.
The friend, in pursuit of something lighter, ordered the chicken teriyaki. I’m not at liberty to say whether the chicken here is better than any chicken teriyaki elsewhere, but it certainly holds its own. Whether it’s worth its $33 asking price (while an entire Kansai A box costs $5 less than that) is another matter entirely. Well, it’s been ordered, may as well enjoy it – the quality at least, means I’ll have no problems with that.
It’s not something I would order here though.
As usual, a complimentary dessert of panna cotta (this time with raspberry instead of caramel as a topping) is provided at the end. I’d have preferred some kind of sorbet as a palate cleanser, but this also works quite well. Complimentary makes anything taste better
Well then, this post has reminded me that it’s been half a year since I visited Sushi E. I’d better reset that counter now…
As usual, feel free to leave a comment or three
Awesome: classy, awesome food, as usual. That pork belly is just incredible
Not so Awesome: the price, the service, the surprisingly sub-par tuna