So with a sushi loving husband like mine, you know that when a new sushi bar opens in our vicinity we absolutely have to check it out. And the clean and modern Ozeki, which opened as part of Chatswood Chase’s revamp, seemed to hold promise. Although not terribly large, it has its own street frontage and entrance and is mainly decorated in dark brown and black. I particularly like the almost Christmassy ceiling feature.
My first taste of Ozeki is for lunch with Mistress while taking some food away to feed the husband who is working from home. As we both like grilled sushi, we start with a plate each of aburi hotate (scallop) and aburi salmon nigiri. The seafood are smokily charred and each piece is anointed with a squiggle of mayonnaise.
The scampi nigiri proves to be good value as there are two pieces per plate at about 20% more in price than most places which only feature the one piece on a plate. The seafood is fresh but the nigiri are a little heavy on the rice.
Next we have the eel and cheese maki which is a variation of the usual dragon roll. There’s no cucumber or egg omelette shreds decorating the tops but there is eel in the centre, eel on top and a very generous chunk of cream cheese in the middle! But this is where the experience starts to go downhill for me, as I find the rice in the rolls too compressed. We’re not sure what the grilled fish is atop our next plate of nigiri but suspect it is possibly kingfish. What we do notice though is that the rice fashioned into the nigiri is not packed as tightly as that of the rolls.
The tako (octopus) nigiri are brushed sparingly with a pleasantly sweet soy sauce but again feature a disproportionately greater mound of rice underneath. And the soft-shell crab rolls, although not oily nor stale, have the same tightly compacted rice issue as the eel and cheese variant.
Though there is the aspect of the rice which is less than desired, we attribute it to possible early teething troubles and I return for lunch with Monsieur Poisson a couple of weeks later to give Ozeki another go. We see soba going past on the conveyor and the funny part is that when a waitress spots me consuming the cold noodles by dipping them in the cold broth, she instructs me to tip the ‘dressing’ over the soba instead.
We also order a chicken katsu udon from the menu which arrives piping hot but is a bit too thickly coated in batter and panko for our liking. So we move onto the salmon tobiko rolls topped with their red mounds of flying fish roe, and half a deep-fried soft-shell crab without the offensive rice casing of the previous visit.
I give a maki roll one last try and choose one plentifully filled with plump salmon and soft avocado but, alas, the rice is packed in too tightly yet again! But we spot some tuna toro nigiri going round so we have this fatty belly cut to balance out the textures.
The tuna nigiri is not bad either and is a little lighter in colour than usually seen. Monsieur Poisson has to have his favourite uni ships and, although I am growing impartial to sea urchin, I’m not as enthusiastic as my husband is about it. I do try one of the oyster ships however, which are firm, plump and sweet with the added crunch of some thin cucumber and tobiko to the side.
Overall, Ozeki is not bad but it’s not exceptional nor exciting either. It definitely needs more of a wow factor. The latest news is that (someone correct me if I’m wrong) they offer all plates of sushi for $3 only all day everyday – check it out and decide for yourself.
Street level of Chatswood Chase, Victoria Ave, Chatswood NSW
Tel: (02) 9410 2777
Opening Hours: Mon-Wed 9:30am-5:30pm