Kosaten

Licensed $
17 Castray Esplanade, Battery Point
03) 6135 4018
Open: Open Monday to Saturday – Lunch 11am to 3pm. Dinner from 5pm.

Which is your preference, fine dining or fun dining? Of course, the formality of fine dining with linen-clothed tables, stilted atmosphere and waiters fussing around your crotch with napkins or interrupting conversations to explain the restaurant’s 12 kinds of salt still exist. But, as we’ve seen here in Hobart, there is a world-wide trend away from formality towards more relaxed, casual dining. Increasingly people are going out to eat rather than to dine and having fun is becoming just as an important ingredient in their enjoyment as is the food.

Opened last September, Kosaten is the latest Japanese variant on the sushi train model, the first of its kind in Tasmania and the brainchild of Michael Zhicheng Zhang and Kauzhiro Kojima. The pair started about 10 years ago in Launceston with their first Japanese Bento eatery before going on to franchise over a dozen Bentos around the state.

When I asked a foursome leaving Kosaten, if they’d enjoyed their meal, they answered “Yes, it was fun”. And ‘fun’ is a frequent descriptor in Kosaten’s on-line reviews. And despite a mix up in our booking, the restaurant running out of our preferred wine and not having enough wine glasses, my group of six thought it was fun too. I suspect the fun comes from the unique system of ordering and the way the food is delivered.

Among the old sandstone walls brightened by Japanese minimalist lamp and décor, each table has a fixed ipad with sections for nigiri, rolls, sides, vegetarian, alcohol, beverages and dessert. Just tap on your chosen section and up come your possible choices with a picture of each item and its price per serve.

The next screen is for how many serves you want, press ‘Order’ and the kitchen prepares your dish to order. After a short wait, a bell rings to tell you your order has arrived on a fast train and stopped at your elbow. Unload your food, stack used plates back on the train and away it goes until your next delivery. In the meantime you could see what other tables were eating as their orders whizzed past.

Although many of the flavours and spicings were modified to western palates, the small-serve options were plentiful and the food fresh, freshly prepared and nicely presented.

We started with steamed scallops, their fresh sea tang flavour complemented by sweet teriyaki sauce on a bed of sticky rice. Next came aburi prawns, lightly seared on rice strangely topped with grilled camembert cheese and aburi crab stick with teriyaki sauce on sushi rice.

A ‘volcanic’ roll delivered less than was expected while one of the picks of the night was the tempura soft shell crab on bamboo leaf and curry mayo followed by another top dish, tender, well-aged and lightly seared wagyu beef tataki. Vanilla ice cream with, believe it or not, a rich, dark chocolate-filled spring roll rounded the meal off.

There is a tempting selection of sake and plum wines, a good selection of Japanese beers and and a less-than-good, in both quantity and quality, choice of Tasmanian and mainland wines.

Aburi prawns $5.00, mixed sashimi $13.00, wagyu tataki $15.00, desserts $7.50

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