A conveniently located Japanese sushi train on Sydney's Pitt Street, right near Westfield Sydney. On this end of town, you either have Makanai, or the sushi train at the David Jones Foodhalls area. Both establishments can get rather busy on a Saturday afternoon, let alone at any other time. Makanai sell a variety of different hot treats near the front counter. You need to glance carefully in order to nab yourself a good spot without getting crowded. On the sushi train, you can either sit right next to, or opposite your friends, depending on where you sit. If the staff do not recognise you with that traditional Japanese welcome upon unison in walking in; the hardest part will be grabbing their attention when it comes time to ordering your drinks. If the sushi train experience is not your thing, A La Carte udons can also be ordered.
The busy sushi train
The bottle of Bundaberg Lemon Lime and Bitters ($3.50) was my drink of choice. Pity it did not come with a straw or two. The only way to drink this beer bottle style drink was to be a bit blokey about it. Not even a cup. Pity.
Before choosing a couple of the dishes off the train, I went for some healthy and popular Miso Soup ($2.50), and not bad. Nothing to fuss about. Why? Although this soup is not the prettiest looking dish, my soup was a little too cold. Sometimes at some Japanese restaurants the soup is either too hot or too cold. One extreme to the other, and never something in between. On this occasion my soup was cold, and a bit too powdery and dominant in the onions department; although on the positives, the tofu and other vegetable pieces tasted fantastic with the right texture.
The Miso Soup
The next dish was the Japanese Oyster Salad with Rice and Fish Eggs ($4), and this was a rather filling dish, despite yet again a few disappointments. The dish was presented beautifully with an oyster shell on a bed of sea salt to elevate the dish. The fish eggs combined with the tangy Japanese sauce added a bit of a chilli and mustard taste that wasn't overpowering. The fish was delicious with a smooth texture, although it did lack a bit of taste. Thankfully the sauce and the fish eggs came in handy. There was too much rice that filled and overpowered this dish. I was so close to not finishing this dish as a result.
Finally, the Raw Tuna and Salmon Sashimi ($6.50) was a clear standout in the dish of the day department, and did not disappoint. The chunks of fish looked rather small on the plate, yet the texture was super smooth, and the pieces were fresh and filling. This dish hit the spot and saved the day. Just as great without any wasabi on the occasion.
Beautifully presented oyster dish
Overall you cannot fault the service too much, yet my Makanai experience was rather average, despite the food being rather filling. Clearly, the Sashimi did save the day on this occasion.
Where: Makanai, 239 Pitt Street Sydney.
Why: The Sashimi dish.
Cost: My bill came to $17.10 for three dishes and a drink.
When: Lunch time or a late lunch in the early afternoons.
Good for kids: Not recommended.
Take away: Is available.