As most UNSW students would know, Sushi Tengoku is the place to go if you’re after delicious and fresh sushi and sashimi in Kensington. The restaurant is always packed out with locals and students gorging on the huge sushi rolls with plenty of mayonnaise and fillings such as tempura prawn, chicken katsu and soft shell crab.
It is notorious for its slow service, as it is usually short staffed but the restaurant seems to have changed management lately and the service has improved as a result. The décor of the restaurant is still nothing flash, consisting of plain plastic furniture and an open steel kitchen which allows you to watch the sushi chefs slicing the fish and rolling the rice with seaweed.
So what keeps us coming back for more if it isn’t the décor or the service at Sushi Tengoku? Here are a few of my tried and tested favourite dishes…
Scampi sushi with soup $7.50 and Scallop sushi $3.50
A great value combo to order is the scampi sushi with miso soup which makes the most of the strong flavour of the meat, by boiling the scampi head in the miso soup and keeping the fresh scampi body to use as the top part of a sushi. Scampi is like a bigger version of a prawn and the raw meat is incredibly sweet, while the miso soup is comforting with its rich seafood flavour. Similar to the texture of the raw scampi sushi, the raw scallop sushi is fresh and succulent with a pleasing chewiness. I actually prefer my scallops to be aburi (blowtorched) because it just goes so well with the mayonnaise but leaving the scallops raw allows the freshness of the meat to be enjoyed.
Scampi miso soup, Cha wan mushi $6
The cute little china dish on the side of the photo contains chawanmushi, which is a silky smooth steamed egg custard. There’s bits of seafood encased within the egg custard and some seafood broth is usually left at the bottom for you to sip on. Very tasty, but a little on the pricey side for what it actually is.
Aburi salmon sushi $7.50 for 2 pieces
My absolute favourite dish at Sushi Tengoku is the Aburi Salmon sushi – nothing beats the smoky half grilled taste of a sliver of fresh salmon fillet which has been flash grilled with a blowtorch. The aburi allows the perfect compromise, retaining the chewy texture of raw fish but delivering a savoury experience with the half cooked exterior of the salmon, drizzled with sweet soy sauce and Japanese mayonnaise.
Soft shell crab roll $15
Last but not least, we have the fat soft shell crab maki roll which is just bursting with fillings – crispy fried soft shell crab with some fish roe, avocado and lettuce. It is deceptively filling and I believe these massive sushi rolls are part of the appeal of Sushi Tengoku to the uni student crowd – they’re delicious and satisfying at the same time!
I miss having Sushi Tengoku being just down the road from me from my uni student days, but I’m sure that I’ll trek back out to Kensington to relive the good old times and indulge myself in some huge sushi rolls and mouthwatering aburi salmon again soon enough. Just a side note about their opening hours – they are not open on Mondays and lunchtimes, though have apparently started opening for lunches on Fridays and Saturdays recently. You can also call ahead to book a table, though they may ask you to pre-order some food at that time over the phone.
121 Anzac Parade
Kensington NSW 2033
Phone: (02) 9663 3388