Sushi Hotaru, The Galeries Victoria, Sydney

Holy schizen is it the end of January already? It doesn’t feel like a month has passed since the day the Mayan’s believed the world would end.* Ain’t nobody got time fo’ dat!

(as one reader acutely pointed out, they didn’t believe the world would end, but the start of a new beginning)

I promised myself to introduce a few changes into my life. I wouldn’t call them resolutions, I don’t like the idea of waiting until the new year to take action, but the onset of a new year does urge me to re-evaluate the circumstances I’m in. The big ones, career, uni, work-life balance and fitness, jeese especially that last one. My daily exercise usually only consists of gunning it to the train station, which isn’t even daily. The other day, my sister squeezed my upper arm and described it ‘like blubber’ and proceeded to squeeze and make noises akin to a slug being squashed, at the same time. Dearest sister. Don’t be surprised if one day you wake up tied to a tree with peanut butter smeared across your face and surrounded by a pack of dachshunds. Hahahaha…

So in sum, I’m going to try being less of a sloth and move around more.

In my circle of friends, usually if it’s your birthday and you’re going out with your friends for dinner, you’re treated to the meal because it’s your special day. Sushi Hotaru is a sushi train and is great for a casual lunch, birthdays or a first-date even and the dining experience will still feel special, I think its accessibility for any occasion is in the quality of the food and authentic appeal and well, the birthday girl requested.

Our hunger levels are through the roof, and when the prescribed food involves sushi, it may cause some to scarf down plates of it and rack up a bill of wallet-crunching proportions, but we needn’t be too reserved here, when all plates are $3 (excluding some side dishes and sashimi which are on gold plates and cost $7.90) (That paragraph also sounded straight from a livingsocial deal)

Every plate is $3.

Yep $3. Even birthday girl had to do a double take on that.

A meagre $3 for pretty darn good sushi.

There is another sushi train place called Takumi in Market City where all plates are $2.50, but only if you are a student, and having been to both, Takumi’s sushi isn’t as up to scratch as Sushi Hotaru. Also the train at Sushi Hotaru is the longest I’ve seen in Sydney, it’s really long in comparison to other places. When value for sushi is this reasonable you can expect to wait about 20 minutes or more on a Friday night, we wanted to dine at 7pm so I arrived at 6pm to place ourselves in the ticketing system like they have at Chat Thai.

Customer service is great, staff are lovely and are complying if you ask nicely, we were a group of five and wanted to be seated together but the stand alone tables seated a maximum of four, so they asked some people to move into empty adjacent seats so we could sit side by side.

Sushi train


(L-R) Beef tataki, scallops, salmon miso gunkan

These were some chunky slices of beef tataki and far too chewy to be used in sushi, however the flavours are all nice.

I’m certain the gunkan means something to do with ships in Japanese, gunkan is the style of sushi where pieces of nori (seaweed) are wrapped around a mound of sushi rice and topped with all sorts of tasty tidbits, wish there were more than two pieces to our salmon miso gunkan though.

Renkon (lotus root) chips

I love lotus root, it’s just the most snackable root vegetable after it’s deep fried and dressed with a light vinaigrette of vinegar, honey and soy.

That’s our salmon being grilled
Salmon aburi

Salmon scorched by blowtorch is a decidedly badass way of cooking, done with the correct amount of time, the flames impart smokiness and crispiness, forging what we find to be a mouthful of yum.

Salmon roll 

The portion of salmon is I wouldn’t say frugal, but reserved, apart from what you can see, there doesn’t seem to be much going on here.

Unagi (eel) roll 

Similar in build to the salmon roll, what you see here is what you get, slices of cucumber and grilled eel, if possible more of it would have been good.

Chicken karaage

The chicken karaage is jolly good and moist, again, $3 for this plate of soy marinated, fried chicken morsels, bargs!

Soft shell crab trio 
The claw…

Soft shell crab rolls are one of their better portioned offerings, pieces of soft shell crab deep fried in batter, rather than picking from the train and receiving a cold, soggy piece, I urge you to order these fresh as the soft shell crab remain crispy and warm this way.

This is just a sample of what we ate, we were so eager to get as much food into us that I didn’t want to hold everyone back from their meals. The Sushi Hotaru operation is massive, I counted eight sushi chefs and four wait staff that night catering to a consistently full restaurant. It was still pumping when we left at around 8:30pm

The total damage: 37 ($3 plates) + 2 sashimi plates = $126.80 – between five ravenous fiends, coming into about $25 per head and we’re absolutely stuffed. We weren’t feeling like the desserts on the sushi train so off we traipse to Max Brenner to end the evening with some hardcore chocolate.  

My thoughts are with those affected by the flooding in Queensland right now.  

Sushi Hotaru on Urbanspoon

Opening Hours

Open 7 days

11:30am – 9pm

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