Sushi Train at Chatswood is one of our regular haunts as it is in a convenient location and parking is not an issue with it being part of Westfield Chatswood and having street access. We like it in particular as it offers a simple and seemingly more traditional sushi selection as other places increasingly move towards a fancier fusion-style. I have troubles with maki-sushi that have upwards of three or four fillings plus another two or three ingredients laid on top. By the time I’ve put it in my mouth and chewed it, all I can taste is a general seafood flavour punctuated by occasional crunchy bits while individual components are rendered no longer discernible.
This particular day there are a couple of specials going around that do not normally appear on the conveyor. One is the tempura asparagus nigiri, which is light and crispy but unfortunately the asparagus spears get pulled out from the batter when we bite into it. Or perhaps this is more a deficiency on the part of my biting skills!
The other special is tofu and tuna cakes served with a salad garnish and Japanese mayonnaise. The patties are smooth through the addition of tofu but do not taste strongly of tuna. As a result they would make a good choice for those who dislike strong fishy flavours.
Next I choose a plate of inari as I like the sweet, slightly sticky tofu pockets. The inari here have sesame seeds mixed through the sushi rice, so avoid if you have a sesame allergy. Then it’s onto the California roll for the playful pop of tobiko and the crunch of cucumber.
We have a plate of seaweed salad ships with crunchy seaweed salad that has been spiked with a bit of chilli. We spot some freshly made mini-tempura nigiri and quickly grab a plate. Battered prawns are brushed with the tiniest amount of teriyaki sauce before being decorated with a squiggle of mayonnaise.
Then it’s time for a couple of warm treats in the form of aburi gyu nigiri and chicken karaage udon. The beef is thinly sliced and grilled so that the edges are crisp but so that there’s still plenty of juiciness upon biting into it. A sweet, sticky glaze tops the beef as well as a few stripes of mayonnaise and a pile of spring onions. I quickly fish the chicken karaage pieces out of the hot broth before they go soggy and happily slurp the udon along with the wakame seaweed.
Monsieur Poisson orders a couple of his favourites: hotate nigiri and uni ships. These are exceptional when made fresh and the seafood are firm while retaining a little chill. The scallops here are sweet and a good size. The sea urchin is something I unfortunately fail to appreciate, as I more often than not find it has a marked fishy odour.
Sushi Train makes a salmon and caviar roll which we both like – salmon slices rolled around sushi rice and topped with ikura (salmon roe). We finish off with aburi salmon nigiri where the salmon is blowtorched after a sprinkling with salt. Make sure you order this when the cool-faced, balding, moustached sushi chef is on duty, as he does a crispier job on the salmon than the less experienced chefs.
Sushi Train Chatswood
376 Victoria Ave (entrance on Anderson St), Chatswood NSW
Tel: (02) 9415 3011
Opening Hours: 7days 11am-9:30pm