Thursday, March 31, 2011

Marched into Merivale's Sushi E

There’s about two weeks left to make the most out of the March into Merivale deals at the Merivale stable of restaurants, so get booking, especially as the likes of Est, Felix and Uccello tend to book out quickly.

We ended up at Sushi E one evening as a result, but the result was quite the pleasant surprise.

Sushi E, George St, Sydney
In the plush surrounds of the hemmesphere lounge bar (restaurant seats proper seemed to be reserved for ‘proper’ customers), we flopped down to comfy low couches and ottoman-like seats, at slightly awkward height for the two small, round tables, but manageable.

We were offered a choice of sparkling white, red, white or a beer to have with our March into Merivale meal – the sparkling wine presumably Chandon, and the chosen beer James Boag.

New style ocean trout sashimi seared in ponzu with ginger and shallots
With three of us dining, it was perfect to sample the entire March into Merivale menu for Sushi E, which even offered miso soup, salad to share and a small dessert at the end. Value-wise it was looking pretty good already.

The new style sashimi was actually almost not sashimi, I think after its smoking hot olive oil bath. Dressed with a smart ponzu sauce, minced ginger, chives and sesame seeds, the heated oil gave the ocean trout an unmistakeable Cantonese steamed seafood touch to it – delectable, even if the fish had lost some of its raw silkiness.

Tuna ceviche
Quite unlike many ceviches I’ve seen and tried, the Sushi E version is more a salad – of snow pea sprouts, baby coriander and juicy miniature tomato segments.

The jewels of fresh tuna slices hidden among the greenery were lightly marinated in lemon and lime juice, and still nice and firmly raw – all dressed in an affably tart dressing that made this my favourite entrée.

Mixed sashimi (6 pieces)
While it was hard to see the freshness of the sashimi slices in the darkened lounge area, it could be tasted from their firm textures, and the subtle, briny taste of the kingfish and soft creaminess of the salmon. I imagine the tuna was similarly satisfying.

Hiramasa kingfish teriyaki
We receive our mains after a little table-Tetris to fit everything on. The mains all look delectable whilst being very different dishes showing off traditional Japanese flavours.

The firmly cooked kingfish fillets are served without rice, and as such the pool of teriyaki sauce is a little cloying and rich. The orangey browned flesh flaked easily into pieces, plated simply alongside broccolini. I prefer my kingfish sashimi style, but this was an interesting new take on the fish nonetheless.

Mixed sushi – 6 pieces of nigiri and salmon avocado roll
The mixed sushi main offers the age-old favourite of fresh salmon and avocado rolls, with tobiko, alongside an impressive array of nigiri sushi including tuna, kingfish, snapper, salmon, prawn and bonito.

Snapper sashimi is not so common as its tuna, salmon and kingfish relatives, and I found it to be a soft-fleshed and sweet white fish, more delicate than the more common raw fish varieties.

Kushikatsu – deep fried Bangalow pork skewers
The kushikatsu main was a delightful plate of panko-crumbed and fried skewer treats; like golden savoury lollipops that almost had to be tasted before you knew what flavours/innards they were.

Three oval nuggets of Bangalow pork were tender and not in the slightest dry despite its leanness, all crunchy sweetness dipped in the small bowl of okonomiyaki sauce, the thick, dark fruity stuff, and a smidgen of hot English mustard

The other skewers included some unlikely shapes of pumpkin, white onion, zucchini and mushroom – all in a perfectly crisp panko crumb – much fun to share but a bit monotonous as a main in itself, I’d think.

Russian cream dessert
By the end of the mains, we were unexpectedly full with even a few leftovers; so the miniature size of the dessert is considerate and just the thing to end on a sweet note.

The Russian cream has a likeable tang in its creamy contents, mixing well with the very sweet berry coulis on top – not too unlike a berry yoghurt all together.

After dessert there was a very real temptation to have a lie-down on the couch, but with a fairly large crowd at hemmesphere I thought not.

The meal was superb and certainly didn’t feel like the cheap deal it was. Despite the dark setting and perhaps sub-optimal seats in the lounge, I’d be interested in marching into Sushi E again post the March into Merivale period (ends 15 April 2011).

Sushi E on Urbanspoon


joey@FoodiePop said...

Mmmm, the kushikatsu looks so lovely. We haven't done any March Into Merivale events this year, as nothing has really appealed. Instead, we've just eaten at a few Merivale restaurants. :-)

MissPiggy said...

Everything looks lovley, but don't you wish restaurants would give us bloggers some better lighting! Lols.

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

You did quite well to photograph in the Merivale darkness! :P

Tina said...

Hi joey - Yeah... the Ms. G's one looks good too.

Hi MissPiggy - Yes please!

Hi Lorraine - Not quite, but thanks...

howard said...

Going tomorrow night for their standard menu. Hope its still just as good as they also churn out the MIM menus!

hollypop said...

looks yummy! i quite like lounge seating but sometimes it's just better to sit at a proper table.
i just noticed that felix has changed its menu and the veal is gone - horror!

Tina said...

Hi Howard - The normal menu looks real good, not quite so cheap though... :)

Hi hollypop - Comfy to sit, not to eat...

Corinne @ Gourmantic said...

I haven't had had the chance to do one of the March Into Merivale events yet though I went to the launch party and tried the food there.

The ocean trout sashimi looks appealing. As for the seating, it seems more designed to make people eat and leave :)

Julie said...

oh no the lighting looks awful :(. how cute is the Russian cream dessert !!

thang @ noodlies said...

Gosh it all looks so delicious! A steal during March. Am seriously tempted. Although not sure how many people who try the march specials will be back at full rates!

Tina said...

Hi Corinne - Less than two weeks to go...

Hi Julie - Yes, it was rather dismal.

Hi thang - The normal Sushi E menu looked pretty good, if not a little pricier

Vivienne said...

yumm! i haven't been there for ages.. i rem from my last visit was that i was unexpectedly full afterwards too coz the servings were small :P

Helen (Grab Your Fork) said...

I was above to swoon over the sushi until I was distracted by the kushiage. Fried!

Tina said...

Hi Vivienne - Yes, they sound and look small, but aren't!

Hi Helen - Lollipops of fried goodness, yes.... :)


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