Sushi Train Neutral Bay

January 31, 2016

Setting foot inside Sushi Train Neutral Bay you will immediately notice that it is a surprisingly sophisticated establishment, especially for sushi train standards. The layout is well thought out with plenty of seats around the lengthy conveyer belt and also an area with tables to cater for large groups such as families. DT and I arrived at noon for lunch and the restaurant was filled with the chatter of diners.

Sushi train
The image of a conveyor belt filled with a variety of sushi will always be pleasing to the eye and to the stomach.

Ippin sake
Washoku Lovers members get a complimentary small-sized sake by showing the membership card. It's never too early for sake right? 

Fish miso soup $5.50
A large bowl of hearty miso soup which I managed to finish. I love miso soup and the added salmon improved the overall flavour, and great to have that added protein for more nutrition and make the soup more filling.

Mix sashimi (9 pieces) $14.80
On the wooden platter were generous slices of three types of fish (from left to right: tuna, salmon, kingfish) beautifully presented. The cuts were notably fresh and were pleasant to eat, I especially enjoyed the kingfish due to its stronger flavour compared to the tuna and salmon. The tuna slices were rather thick though and I would have preferred if they were thinner and more consistent in size.

S.A.O roll (salmon, avocado, onion) $4.50
With fresh ingredients and well seasoned sushi rice it's difficult to get this roll (or any roll for that matter) wrong and it's a roll found at most sushi trains that I have been to. I loved the avocado which was an excellent complement to the soft salmon sashimi and the julienned onion added textural crunch and a subtle pop of flavour.

Negi toro ship $4.50
'Negi toro' literally translates to 'tuna with green onions'. Toro refers to the fatty part of tuna and it is high in omega-3 fatty acids. Call me biased as I'm not a sashimi enthusiast but I found it quite bland and I needed to douse it in soy sauce to enjoy it. However the tuna is served raw so the point is to enjoy the soft textures against the sushi rice, nori and the sharp flavour from the green onions.

Fisherman's basket $9.90
Yuri mentioned that it was a new item on the menu and so we decided to give it a try. Not knowing what to expect we received a beautifully steamed piece of salmon garnished with thinly sliced green onions and also slivers of squid could be found on top of the fish. The salmon was fleshy and moist and infused with a lovely sweet and salty flavour which I believe was a mixture of miso, sugar and soy sauce. Getting pieces of squid in the mix was unexpected as they were quite camouflaged but had a nice chewy texture and were flavourful. The julienned onions in the sauce was also particularly good with the salmon. It was definitely a larger dish than expected and therefore decent value.

Seaweed salad
Although I'm not big on the salad front, seaweed salad is a salad I don't think I can tire of mainly because of the delicious sesame seasoning. That addictive chewiness from the seaweed is a trait that makes the salad unique and a joy to eat.

Salmon belly nigiri $5.50
I'm pleased to say that the salmon belly was fresh and wasn't chewy which was great as I've had chewy salmon belly before and it wasn't the best experience. One qualm though was that the rice for the nigiri didn't hold together very well and so a fair bit of rice got separated and remained on the plate as we picked it up with chopsticks. It was an isolated incident as we didn't seem to have that problem for the other sushi dishes. 

Grilled hotate (scallop) $5.50
DT and I were in mutual agreement about the scallops being a standout at the sushi train. They were grilled to perfection and literally melted in the mouth and to achieve that effect, the scallops would only need to be seared momentarily to retain its tenderness. The smoky savoury flavours were also to die for.

Duck nigiri $4.50
The sound of duck nigiri was really intriguing but sadly it was the least favourite out of all the items we had the privilege to try. I think we were unlucky that day as I don't think the duck was intended to be overcooked. The sweet hoisin-like sauce combined with mayonnaise redeemed it slightly but overall the duck was too dry and a little tough.

I haven't been able to stop lusting after nasu dengaku since having it at Izakaya Samurai so I was elated when I saw it on Sushi Train's menu. My attitude towards eggplant have done a complete 360 since trying the fried eggplant and pork dim sum from Fortune8 in Cabramatta and then I had all the more reason to love it since discovering nasu dengaku. 

Eggplant dengaku $9.80
The size of the plate was a little alarming but at the same time I was happy that it was quite a large portion. The incredibly juicy grilled eggplant was conveniently cut up and and each piece had plenty of the addictive sweet miso sauce and more sauce on the plate to mop up if desired. Eggplant is wholly neutral in flavour with some bitterness lent from the skin but its meatiness and juiciness allows the sweet and savoury miso paste to be appreciated even more. 

Miso garlic salmon and scallop ship $5.50
As highlighted previously, the scallops again were really impeccable. Seared fresh scallops with seared fresh salmon and a small ball of sushi rice made a tantalising combination. I highly recommend this one as the flavours which arose from blowtorching were enhanced further with a wonderful miso garlic glaze. I could easily devour a dozen of them.

We would have loved to meet Chef Ken but unfortunately he wasn't there considering we visited on a Sunday.

Sushi Train is a popular franchise but unlike its other locations, Neutral Bay offers a more refined and intimate dining experience with modern timber decor, gorgeous lighting and jazz music playing in the background. They have a solid offering with many dishes not found at its competitors and an a la carte menu so Sushi Train have an advantage in that respect. The service was really prompt and food arrived in a timely manner. I suggest ordering everything as that way the dishes are prepared fresh. Usually you can't be sure how long the dish has been sitting on the conveyor belt and would be especially relevant to fried or hot foods.

Don't forget to become a Washoku Lovers member and show your card to get a free small glass of sake of your choice from the menu at Sushi Train Neutral Bay. Signing up is easily done through and it's absolutely free.

Sushi Train Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

DT and I dined as guests of Sushi Train Neutral Bay with thanks to Yuri from Washoku Lovers (SDMG Marketing) for the invitation

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