Monday, 23 January 2017

Sushi & Nori - Bowen Hills

Being a long term subscriber to a lot of the foodie newsletters, I was recently alerted to the soon to be completed dining precinct along King Street in Bowen Hills. Normally, I would wait for the precinct to be completed before venturing out to explore, but on this occasion, I saw quite a few photos of the newly opened Sushi & Nori, which were so captivating, I couldn't get it out of my mind. Not wanting to wait, we headed there after work for dinner. Being located on a relatively new street, we had some issues getting there (the street isn't even on apple maps yet).

We were greeted quite warmly at the entrance, and got two seats along the train line. The restaurant was noticeably quite empty when we went there (6.30pm on a Thursday night), other than us, there was only one table, which left shortly after we arrived.

Menus were provided to allow us the opportunity to order. I really liked how they have put their own spin on a few regular sushi dishes.

We ordered what was probably the most expensive hot green tea I've ever had at a Japanese restaurant. At $4 a cup, it really didn't stand out as being any different from other shops which serve complimentary tea or price it at $1 - $2. After we finished the first cup, we asked for a refill, and was told by the first waitress that they don't do refills and to get a new cup of tea, it would be an extra $4 per person, which really didn't impress, this was later corrected when another staff member came and told us that there was a miscommunication and the $4 did come with refills. 

Soy sauce and ginger were provided on the table. I found the little soy sauce jug to be rather cute.

All the sushi on the conveyor belt were priced at a flat $4.50, with special orders being $8.00. Considering that the conveyor belt sushi market has been a gradual race to the bottom with prices (since the rise of Sushi Edo, many have followed suit to either match or beat their prices), I found it intriguing that they would go for a significantly higher price. What I saw definitely impressed. Each plate was beautifully presented as if it were a work of art.

We started with three plates.

This was the fresh tuna nigiri, which I started my meal with. It was presented very well. I could see the chef placed a lot of care into slicing the fish to just the right thickness before arranging the black caviar and garnish. The tuna was deliciously fresh and had a good springy texture to it. The rice also had a good texture, but unfortunately was seasoned with so much sugar I could almost not handle it. Dipping it in soy sauce didn't help either, as the soy sauce was also exceptionally sweet. At this point I would have thought that my taste buds had lost their mind for such a gorgeous looking plate to have tasted the way it did. Had it not been for my companion confirming this, I would have seriously gone to get a checkup.

The same comments about the rice and soysauce could be said for all the other dishes, so I'll keep the descriptions short for the rest. This was the kingfish nigiri. The fish was also quite generous and fresh. I also liked the contrast between caviar colours. 

The santa roll came as one of the more generic options on the menu. With salmon and avocado on the inside, and more salmon on the outside, it was definitely generous with copious amounts of salmon, but the rice seasoning was still a letdown.

This was the grilled scallop roll. The grilled scallop was hidden beneath the tobiko, and the roll also contained seafood stick. It was quite drenched in sauces, teriyaki and mayonnaise, which took my mind off the seasoning, and we ate it without soy sauce.

We went back to another nigiri, this time seared scallop, because we spied the chef making a fresh batch. The scallop was seared to perfection, and my companion also liked that bit of the sushi.

By this time, I was getting quite sick of the really sweet rice, but my companion told me to give it one last shot. We settled for the unagi, which was also really sweet, and unfortunately not very warm. On the other hand, it was probably one of the best presented unagi nigiri I've had in Brisbane (never seen an unagi get garnished).

Giving up on the rice, I opted for something else, and settled on the tuna and kingfish salad, which was again beautiful. The fish was chopped into little cubes and mixed with a sweet vinegarette, which I tolerated more than the sushi. Unfortunately though, halfway through the cup, we hit a rather large (unpeeled) slice of lime. If we weren't looking carefully I might have scooped it into my mouth to have quite a rude shock, but we noticed it and dodged it. Whilst I appreciate that adding lime juice gives it zing, I don't think that a whole slice with skin was really necessary.

Still not full, my companion ordered me a medium serve of sashimi. Again, presentation was impeccable, and for the first time that evening, I was given some wasabi. The wasabi was freshly grated (thankfully), and mixed with the soy sauce to alleviate some of the sweetness. The fish was super fresh, and professionally sliced. I also got my first try of prawn sashimi that day and did quite enjoy it.

  Having seen the photos, I really wanted to love Sushi & Nori, especially since they evidently put a lot of effort into making each dish with quality ingredients. However given the quite fatal flaws with an essential part of the meal (rice and soy sauce), I really can't recommend this place and unless drastic improvements are made, I don't think I can come back. 

Price Range: $4.50 per plate, $8.00 per special

Taste: 4/10 (fresh fish, rice texture was good)
Value: 4/10 (the tea issue really put me off)
Service: 6/10 (again, the tea issue)
Environment: 9/10 (clean and new)

Sushi & Nori Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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