This blog is growing weed. So I’m here to de-weed.
Seriously though, I do apologise for the lack of updates. Exam period at Uni has hit me hard and for 3 weeks my life contained just that, nothing else. Compounded with that, my laptop has decided to be temperamental, so it’s only working on some days, on others it has decided to crawl at snail pace. I am currently looking for a replacement. Excuses over. Since I’m on holidays now, I’m going to over-compensate my lack of updates by over-updating. So, you will see this place blossoming soon (pardon the pun).
Back to the eatery at hand.
I normally shy away from sushi shops and all kinds of sushi eateries. There are many reasons for this. Having had a noodle sushi takeaway in the family for 10 years probably has something to do with it. Also, there are just way too many disappointing sushi takeaways around and the good ones are all out of my price range. However, my friends at Uni said this particular sushi train was awesome and since I missed out on that particular gathering, I persuaded my boyfriend to check it out with me. Not that “the tuna sashimi fanatic” needed much persuading.
We were greeted by friendly, welcoming smiles and shown to our seats next to the rotating train. After a little bit of explanation that you could either use the screens in front of you to order or just pick any dish rotating on the conveyor belt, we were off. Basically all the plates are $3, except for the gold plates (sashimi), which were $7.90. Oh and we were offered some fresh wasabi, which we eagerly said yes to.
I had heard great things about these little babies and they surely did not fail to impress. The scallops were super fresh, plump and succulent. It went easily down my throat, but not before hitting me with umami and the flavour of the sea. They were magnificent. I wanted more, but more is for next time, because I wanted to sample other offerings.
My boyfriend isn’t a huge fan of the texture of raw squid, but since I haven’t tried any before, he agreed to share these with me. Being a first-timer, I decided I liked them. I loved the buttery richness of the flesh and the way it bounced on my teeth, providing the perfect amount of chewiness. Unlike a lot of takeaways around, the rice did not disappoint me. Each grain was plump, not-too-sticky, not-too-dry, the ratio of vinegary seasoning to rice, just right. It really was the perfect canvas for the fish on top.
This is another plate that I’ve heard good things about. Unfortunately, unlike the nigiri, it comes by itself without a partner. My boyfriend didn’t want one, so one plate would suffice. I took a bite and I really didn’t want to share. But I offered him a bite anyway, to be nice. The soft-shell crab was battered and fried to a crisp, then while it was still hot it was rolled up with some creamy tartare sauce; rice, lettuce and nori completed the package. It was crispy, creamy and the nori helped to accentuate the flavour of the crab.
I was not so keen on the octopus salad, but I’m glad that my boyfriend wanted this. It turned out to be a neat little combo of chewy octopus pieces and tart, creamy mayo.
There is nothing to say about this one really. It wasn’t bad, just everything about it was ordinary.
Another one of my boyfriend’s obsessions is takoyaki. He always orders it whenever he sees it. Apparently, they appeal because of how junkie they are. I guess, lashings of BBQ sauce and mayo with salty bonito flakes does spell out junkie. As with all the takoyaki I’ve tried in Melbourne so far, these were just mediocre. Piping hot, soft batter, not much octopus and not much of the fore mentioned junkie sauce. But at $3 a plate, I guess they do satisfy the junk-food craving.
And here’s our gold plate – the tuna sashimi. Unfortunately, the fish wasn’t very fresh and therefore lacked the irresistible attraction of good tuna sashimi. That craving was not satisfied here. Instead of this, I would rather have ordered two more of those scallop nigiri, but you got to give it at least one chance, right?
Despite some amazing dishes and some disappointments, we really enjoyed our time at Hotaru. It was fun, seating around the train, contemplating what to get and sampling a bite of this and a bite of that.
We had a really late lunch that day, so we performed quite poorly in how much we were able to sample and consume. It was probably a good thing for our pockets though! Here’s a picture of our shameful effort: