Sushi trains are awesome because you can eat as much or as little as you feel like, and the food is pretty much instant since you can just pick up whatever looks enticing off the train as it comes around. But what makes Sushi Hotaru even more amazing is that most of the dishes are only $3! Yes, even the scallops and other usually more fancy seafood sushi are all the same price, which makes it much easier to make your decision about what to eat – without having to keep referring to the colour coded plate system to think about how much each dish costs. Genius.
You can either sit around the main counter area facing the sushi train or you can sit in the booths further back in the restaurant next to the sushi train. Tonight we are seated at the booths but it’s too early in the night for them to have extended the sushi train to our area of the restaurant, so we just have to order on the iPad located in every booth.
Luckily, they have heaps of staff on call and our sushis that we order come out a few minutes after we make our order. I have picked the grilled scallops with mayo, spicy salmon nigiri and my friend has picked the fresh salmon nigiri. All of my picks were delicious and fresh, but could have done with more mayo.
Grilled scallops with mayonnaise
Spicy salmon sushi
Normal salmon nigiri sushi
As we are polishing off our first dishes, the sushi train starts moving towards us, laden with more goodies. We go for prawn dishes this time – I get the crumbed prawn with mayo sushi while my friend gets the fresh cooked prawn sushi. The prawn is lukewarm on my sushi, but nicely fried and goes very well with the mayo – one of my favourite sushi dishes since I prefer my sushi with mayo rather than soy sauce. My friend isn’t as impressed with her fresh prawn sushi…it didn’t taste particularly fresh to her.
Crumbed prawn with mayo sushi
Then I spot the grilled salmon with onions and cream cheese sushi zoom past and I grab it off the train. The combination of flavours is interesting (especially the dairy taste of the cream cheese with rice and seaweed), while the taste of the raw onions is pretty strong too.
To finish off the meal we order some hand rolls – they are made fresh to order and I choose the soft shell crab omelette while my friend orders a chicken teriyaki hand roll to finish off the meal and she seems happy with it, especially the crunchiness of seaweed encasing the marinated chicken and cucumber. The soft shell crab omelette sounds better than it tastes; there’s no sauce accompanying it and I don’t feel like dunking it in soy sauce since it drowns out the flavour. The omelette is soft and fluffy but I can’t really taste the fresh crunchiness of soft shell crab much.
Chicken teriyaki hand roll
Soft shell crab omelette hand roll
Personally, Sushi Hotaru is one of my favourite sushi trains. I love how they simplify the sushi train system by doing away with the colour coded plates for different price points for dishes and makes life easier for their customers, who can also order any dishes they want at the touch of a button. Their staff are attentive and prompt, so you can always bet on a quick meal here. It’s also very conveniently located – on the 1st floor of the Galeries Victoria right above Town Hall station.
The usual assorted side dishes such as dumplings and udon aren’t included in the $3 dish system but they’re pretty decent, especially their seafood miso hotpot, which is around $14 from memory and packed full of seafood, making it great value for money. Also try their iced green tea latte if you’re after something sweet while you enjoy your meal.
(02) 9262 9917