Sush Train

Licensed $
1 Franklin Wharf (Old Marine Board Building)
no bookings
Open: Tuesday to Saturday 11.00am to 9.00pm.

Restaurants that move while you eat have never really been my thing. And I thought that a restaurant that stayed still while the food moved would fall into much the same take-it-or-leave-it category. Which is the reason I’ve never been to a sushi train operation in my life, either in Japan or the few attempts we’ve seen in the past here.

But now there’s Sush Train.

It’s bright, colourful, spotlessly clean in that typical Japanese way and it’s full to over flowing with people enjoying their food and having loads of fun.

I got there early for a mid-week lunch and watched the restaurant fill and the buzz build around me as each new arrival was greeted with a welcoming chorus of ‘itashimasu’ from the staff. It’s been such an instant hit that for dinner you’ll likely have to queue.

Mounting a stool at the train, I watched in fascination the classic hand movements of two young Japanese deftly moulding the nigiri sushi, filling, rolling and slicing nori-wrapped maki sushi and giving the scallop, tuna and salmon toppings of aburi sushi a searing blast from a blow torch before portioning them onto small, colour-coded plates, placing a see-through lid on top and filling the gaps on the train as it passed. The train then disappeared behind a wall to another kitchen and reappeared with plates of tempura vegetables, octopus balls, crab claws and other crisp, panko-fried goodies.

There’s a small, colour iPad menu at each seating space so you can see what’s what on the train as it passes. The iPad also has an a la carte menu from which you can select and order. Press a tab and a few minutes later the dish appears, as if by magic, in front of you.

As someone who still has trouble navigating my smart phone, I soon gave up trying to use the iPad to identify what was passing and simply started to take whatever looked interesting. And then choosing a few more. And a few more, ending up with a pile of little plates which, each priced at $3.80, when counted at the end represented the bill.

Along with an array of wonderfully fresh aburi and nigiri sushi, I enjoyed tempura prawn rolls, a deliciously refreshing seaweed salad, tempura green beans, crab claw and prawn rice balls and, somehow or other, I must have done something right with the iPad for I also ended up with a plate of fabulous seared, marinated but still raw beef tataki with grated ginger and fresh shiso from the a la carte kitchen and a wonderful rich, malty, Japanese beer.
Too late, I learnt I could have had a tasting flight of three Japanese sake, showcasing the different sake grades, styles and places of origin.

And, for the first time ever in my years of restaurant reviewing, I recommend a visit to the loo. But I leave you to find out why.

I’ve said it before but it’s worth repeating. In the past 12 months – and despite the sad loss of Garagistes – Hobart has experienced a lift in the quality and diversity of its restaurant scene like never before. Sush Train is another to add to your list.

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