Sydney: Sushi ESeptember 12, 2014
Having written about my recent visit to Surry Hills in my last post and received a lot of positive feedback, I’ve decided to also write about my visit to Sydney last year (yes, last year). I’ve dredged up these photos (and more) from the depths of my archives, so expect a few more Sydney-centric posts to come! One place that really stood out during the trip was Sushi E.
A little bit of Tokyo in the heart of Sydney, Sushi E is part of the oh-so-chic Establishment, the entertainment venue on George Street. Located on Level 4 and adjacent to the lounge/bar Hemmesphere, Sushi E is modern, sophisticated, and sexy as hell.
Head sushi chef Nobuyuki Ura (pictured below on the right) and his team are fanatical about sushi, and if you’re dining as a pair they seat you at the marble sushi bar so you can see all their knife work. I briefly walked around before our meal and the precision and dexterity as they worked was incredible.
I love sushi, although I admit I rarely splash out on it – sushi is typically a quick lunch for me in the city, either from Gekkazan @ GPO, or the people’s favourite, Sushi Monger. I did once have the most impressive sushi meal, almost a religious experience, at Sushi Sebo in San Francisco, where I tried and loved sea urchin. Because really excellent sushi is a rare thing, I was particularly excited for our lunch at Sushi E.
Since it was after midday, we thought we’d kick things off with some cocktails (and a fancy fruit juice for the under 18). I had an Okanda, with sake, hendrick’s gin, apple, egg white and ginger. I thought it was quite clever how it came out looking like a fried egg, although it tasted anything but eggy. Refreshing with a slight hint of sweetness, it was an excellent start to the meal.
Dad, who due to a business meeting was unfortunately unable to join us, had called ahead and asked that rather than picking from the menu, the chef just serve up a range of their best dishes. It’s a style of eating that never fails to please, because you’re saved from the stress of making any decisions, and you generally get the best dishes on offer. We began with some ethereally light prawn shumai, steamed prawn dumplings with a ponzu dipping sauce. Beautifully fluffy and with a silky, translucent skin, these were light as clouds. Delicious, prawny clouds.
With a name like Sushi E, not only is there plenty of sushi on the menu, it’s also fabulously good. Like, gold star, AAA+, orgasmically good. The sushi parade began with snapper sashimi, served with white soy, sesame and lime.
This was one of my favourite dishes from the whole meal, purely because it focused on the quality of the fish, which was fresh and sweet. I particularly liked the crunchy contrast of the sesame seeds.
Next up were some steamed Sydney rock oysters with shallots, soy and micro herbs. A delicious little taste of the sea – if only there were more!
After the oysters, the most beautiful plate of sashimi arrived. There’s nothing quite like a beautifully presented dish of sashimi. All that jewel-hued flesh, sweet and shiny with ribbons of fat, softly folded against one another. It’s quite sensual, really.
Clockwise from top right we had blue fin tuna, kingfish, ocean trout, bonito and salmon. Everything was fantastic, and we had great fun trying each piece and noticing the differences in flavour. Our favourite was the bonito, marinating quietly in some soy, and also the creamy tuna, which was displaying some very fashionable ombré colouring!
The wagyu roll, my least favourite item on the menu, was predictably my brother Alex’s favourite because of the all important meat-factor. Thinly sliced wagyu had been rolled with cucumber and baby cress, and topped with flamed wagyu slices. It was delicious, particularly with that spicy/sweet sauce, but in an otherwise seafood feast, seemed out of place.
Fortunately things were well and truly back on track with the next dish, balmain bug san choi bow. As far as fusion goes, this is it, baby! Balmain bug tails had been delicately cooked in a tempura batter, before being nestled in a lettuce leaf with cucumber, avocado, spicy mayonnaise and onion soy flying fish roe.
Like the best taco you can possibly imagine, eating it was something like this: you got the crisp bite of lettuce, a little slipper of avocado, salty pops of roe, a slick of chilli sauce, and the warm crunch of sweet tempura. It was out of this world.
Next up, some more sushi: this time scampi and salmon belly, both blowtorched briefly. I loved the scampi, creamy and prawn-like, with a dab of freshly grated wasabi.
The most substantial dish we had was also one of the best, grilled white miso marinated cod (or padagonian toothfish, should I say?) with baby ginger root. It was beautiful. Cod is quite a firm fish but isn’t fishy in taste, and it matched so well with the sweet and buttery miso.
Finally we had to give in, we simply couldn’t eat any more. As delicious as every mouthful was, we had completely satisfied our inner sushi gluttons! With the (sizeable) bill arrived three shot glasses with panna cotta and a raspberry sauce, just enough for two or three teaspoons of sweet relief. What a lunch!
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