Location: Level 1, The Galleries, 500 George Street, CBD, Sydney
Opening hours: 11:30 AM to 9 PM, Mon-Sunday
To be blunt, I love sushi… (*ﾟｰﾟ)ゞ I’ve had a lot of sushi in my time, it is hands down my most favourite food for its variety, range of styles and for the sheer fact that I never get bored or sick of going out for sushi. Especially when I go out to a sushi bar on a sunny afternoon with a close friend. So with the fact I eat sushi on average 2 times a week disclosed, I will now go ahead and introduce this wonderful little place my best friend took me to for lunch this past week gone.
The sushi train/bar is called Sushi Hotaru, it is located in The Galleries (branched off of the QVB and directly next to Town Hall train station). I recommended the place to my friend a while back after being aware of its existence from passing it after buying manga upstairs at Kinokuniya Books. Not to mention after being fascinated by the interior from afar, which I will explain shortly. The place had a line out the front which initially sparked my curiosity. Yes, it was the dense heart of the city, but compared to the surrounding restaurants, the place was packed with a 20 minute wait out the door. But with the time that my friend and I arrived (just after open), we got in before the rush and were seated at a quiet and cramped table next to the train at the back. The table was tight and small, barely enough room for all our plates, however due to the lively conversation, hustled isles and general noise, it made the experience more enjoyable and intimate.
Now to point out the interior and setting. It was loud and packed before 12pm, just 30 minutes after open! This just shows how popular the restaurant is as well as the reputation Hotaru upholds for itself. The isle was thin, the tables and chairs were small but my-o-my was the train long. So much to choose from! And instead of calling over a waiter to your table every time you wanted something that wasn’t rotating on the train, you ordered on an iPad fixed to your table instead. I won’t point out everything I ordered but overall (considering my standards for sushi are very high…) I have to say the sushi was mediocre but still really enjoyable. No obscure twists or tastes, there is a wide range that will suit most palates and preferences. I feel that the iPad “gimmick” which is a very popular and common way of ordering in large sushi bars overseas, especially in Japan is the main reason for Sushi Hotaru’s 20 minute waits and reputation. However, the experience was still nothing less that lovely! (＾＾)ｂ
The menu is longer than the train and with the iPad for ordering, you always have the option of eating off of the train or ordering something else. My friend and I both chose things off of the train and dishes directly off the menu! The wait for your order to be fulfilled is about 5 minutes during the early morning rush, which isn’t long at all considering the number of people in the restaurant. I believe there are a tonne of different dishes that will more than adequately suit any kind of taste buds, no matter how picky. There are traditional dishes that include raw and other fresh, uncooked seafood options, but there are also hand rolls, cappa and gunkan. Not to mention the huge list of side dishes and extras you can order, from deep fried crab claws and wagyu steaks to basic miso soups and hot udons. The restaurant also has a tonne of veg options for vegetarians and vegans; a whole category dedicated that is more than 2 pages long on the iPad’s menu! The bar also serves wine, cocktails, beer and traditional sake for those of age who drink alcoholic beverages. However, my friend and I just stuck to hot green tea and soft-drink. (^^;)
The pricing for each dish does vary slightly but the majority of the sushi dishes are $3.50 which is fairly reasonable in comparison to a lot of other prices at competing sushi bars. I was more than happy with the price & quality ratio! For me the experience was the most memorable part of lunch!
In conclusion I would happily give Sushi Hotaru 3.5 stars out of 5, for its tasteful sushi, amazing atmosphere, reasonable prices and very kind staff who never once seemed to be annoyed by how much my friend and I ordered. (‘-‘*ゞ
Thank you so much for reading my very first review, it was really fun to write and I hope to write more in the future! Thank you for baring with my spelling and grammatical errors~
Feel free to leave comments and suggestions below for topics you’d like me to discuss. And if you have any other questions don’t be shy, go ahead!
Other sites you should visit!
Contact and location info: http://www.thegaleries.com/store-directory/stores-by-name/store/sushi-hotaru