In case you haven’t realised yet, for a while now there has been about a two week lag in the time I visit a restaurant or cook something and the time it actually takes for me to publish the post. This has been happening for some time, and I blame it all entirely on the one-track mind I have when it comes to food. I’ve been visiting so many new places, trying so many different places, that I have so much to write about, yet I must contain myself to publish a maximum of three posts a week, so that I don’t antagonise the hell out of you folks, because noone else (other than myself) could possibly want to read so much about food!
Now that I’ve explained this to you, you’ll understand when I say I visited Umi Sushi+Udon in the second-last week of March, and it was one of the warmest starts to autumn Sydney has ever seen. It was the perfect evening for a stroll down to Darling Quarter after work, just as the sun was setting.
I had been recommended Umi Sushi+Udon from The Sister earlier in the week, and I decided to pay it a visit with Lara Croft, as we were due for our fortnightly dosage of sushi. At 5.30 pm, the restaurant was very quiet (the above photo was taken when we left close to 7.00 pm) and we didn’t get much of an ‘Irrashaimase’ from the rather deserted establishment. Despite this, the staff were very friendly, polite, and easy to hail if need be.
We asked to be seated at the sushi train bar, where we could then watch the chefs at their work. Sitting within a metre’s distance from them, you couldn’t smell the fish they were working on at all, and it was wonderful to see them filleting and twirling their big knives with such finesse.
We had ordered drinks, a chilled Lipton Lemon Green tea for myself and a lemonade for Miss Croft, but I’m ashamed to say that I forgot to note down the prices. I get so enthused about food at times that I forget to take photos and/or take photos of the menu for price reference later on.
Anyway, we went about our own business selecting what we liked off the train. The advantage of a sushi train is that even when you’re dining with a friend, you don’t have to negotiate what you will eat or what you won’t eat, and you still get the pleasure of their company. While Miss Croft and I’s tastes aren’t worlds apart, it still is nice to have both pieces of your favourite sushi to yourself.
I started off with a Seared Scallop and Salmon Oshizushi ($5.60), which isn’t an overly common form of sushi to be served around Sydney. The middle layer was cooked and shredded tuna, and the pressed sushi rice was lovely in its sticky and lightly-vingerary way.
THE CLAW was next. Soft shell crab never disappoints, and whenever it’s in sushi, the sushi always manages to highlight it. I particularly liked their way of presenting the Soft Shell Crab Maki ($5.60), although it was a tad creepy. The chilli mayonnaise was quite sinus-clearing and as the both of us girls had picked a dish each of this off the train at the same time, we were comparing whose sniffling stopped first.
My old friend, the Seared Salmon Nigiri ($3.00) was up for the bat. Lightly torched to smoky perfection, it was simply faultless. I could have eaten ten of them.
At this point I spotted an ad for their Chawanmushi ($8.50) on the sushi train and I requested one. You don’t often see Chawanmushi in Japanese restaurants in Sydney. My mum makes her own very simplified version quite often at home, but she’s been away for some time and I do love it so.
It arrived in a very deep, glazed teracotta cup, and the silky, very hot steamed egg custard was full of succulent slices of shiitake mushroom and prawns. I slurped it up very noisily (what, it was hot!) while Miss Croft looked on disapprovingly at my poor table manners. I was a bit confused when they removed this cup when I finished, as they leave the sushi train plates for reference when counting up your bill. As I predicted, it was later left out of my bill when counted and I pointed this out to the waitress when I saw the slip.
We chatted and sipped our drinks for a while, watching the rest of the train go by. We considered ordering off the a la carte menu, however neither of us were hungry any more and nor did we feel like udon soup with the weather being so warm. Ultimately we decided to do one more plate each, with me going for a very old favourite, the Tempura Prawn Sushi ($3.60).
Deliciously Panko-crumbed and deep fried, the prawns were crunchy and lived up to their crowd-pleasing reputation. The mayo was a little scarce, and I’d probably say I prefer the creamier tartare sauce that the Makoto branches match with this same dish.
Feeling well-fed but not overly so, we paid the bill and made ourselves scarce. A very nice and slightly pricey Japanese restaurant in the very trendy Darling Quarter, however the quality was very good so you do pay for what you get. Its modern fittings suit many of the corporates working around the area on weekdays, while on weekends it serves as a quite up-market Japanese restaurant for young families, where kids can enjoy the new playground area.
Watch out for my recipe for Strawberry and White Chocolate Mousse on Wednesday!
Catch you then, lovelies xx
Umi Sushi + Udon
Shop TR10 Darling Quarter
1 Harbour Street, Sydney NSW 2000
(02) 9283 2006