‘Sushi Hotaru’ Review (The Galeries Victoria)

Hey Nibblers!

        If you read my last post, you would have seen that I have a slight obsession with sushi. I have no shame when I say that I’ve had days where for breakfast, lunch and dinner I’ve eaten sushi. I never used to feel this way about sushi but ever since coming back from travelling, I’ve formed an attraction. It is weird though because in those five weeks, we only ate sushi twice and it wasn’t even great.  I do love my sashimi  and I remember ever only allowed to eat it on special occasions. So, when I was first introduced to ‘Sushi Hotaru’ and saw I could have my own little serving of sashimi to myself, I knew I had found love. Since our first date, I’ve been here about eight times. Yes, you read correct. Eight. This is how much I love sushi and ‘Sushi Hotaru.’ So what has me coming back for more you ask? Let’s get into the nitty gritty details then shall we?

‘Sushi Hotaru’
Where: The Galeries Victoria RP1, 500 George Street, Sydney NSW 2000       Website: http://yesfood.com.au/hotaru.html

           First off, I love the set-up of this place. While narrow, it manages to fit a capacity of 80 people. The turnover is fast and everything is efficient. Staff are very friendly but, the ‘Sushi Hotaru’ can get really busy during peak hours and you do have to wait. The thing was when I took Kelly and my other cousin Kimberley we arrived at peak hour and didn’t have to wait for more than 15 minutes which I say is pretty good. We could have been lucky but, I think it’s more the way it all works. You come in to eat sushi with some friends for lunch or dinner and then you’re out. It’s loud and a tad crowded at times to have a nice catch up. This is definitely not large party friendly as there are not enough tables so I say travel in two, three or fours at maximum.

Sushi belt

        What I also love is the use of their electronic machines. They have their whole menu stored on an iPad which is located at ever bench top or table depending on where you are sitting. For certain menu items such as their amazing handrolls, they don’t run on the sushi belt so you have to order them on the iPad and a member of staff comes to your table to deliver your roll. Or if you can’t see what you’re after on the belt, you can order it on the iPad and it comes freshly made for you.

In terms of pricing, everything is $3 unless otherwise stated. If you’re unsure, check on the iPad. For those that don’t have a price tag next to their name I can assure you it’s $3. It’s a bit hard for me to explain it all as there is so much variety but on my past eight visits, I did take a couple of photos of some of the dishes I ate and review them for you. So here goes, I’ll split them into sections to make it a tad easier:

Hand Rolls (All $3 each)

Spicy Tuna roll $3
Eel, Spicy Tuna Mentalko and Soft Shell Crab handrolls. Shark Fin Salad Gunkan (in the background) $3 AUD each
Up close and personal with the Soft Shell Crab hand roll
       As far I have tried, all the hand rolls I’ve had are absolute perfect. The spicy tuna/ salmon are awesome if you love the sashimi types and the seaweed is so crisp, it meets ever food texture you need. I’m not a fan of eel but if you are, it’s as decadent. These are made fresh so everything is hot, generous in the sauce department and consistent it the rice to filling ratio. The soft shell is amazing! Crispy, perfectly seasoned and a great serving of Jap mayo and this is a winner.
       ‘Wagyu beef’ / ‘Wagyu omlette’ is so juicy and flavoursome if you’re into beef.
       I didn’t like the ‘Oyster Omlette’ hand roll though. It tasted too much like the sea to me.
       ‘Seared Salmon’ is good but, if you want perfection in your mouth choose the seared ‘Nigiri Sushi’ selection instead.
Gunkan Sushi (All $3 each)
From memory, I’ve only tried:
       The ‘Flying Fish Roe’ has a fun crunchy texture as normal but I found it to be too salty for my liking. They are generous with their roe servings though
       ‘Shark Fin’ Salad is delicious. A bit sour and sweet and crunchy, it is definitely one of my favourites.
       ‘Lobster Salad’ was again generous but nothing special.
       ‘Octopus Salad’ was a tad salty for me and had wasabi infused in the mixture. My brother did like this though and would opt for it again.
       ‘Salmon Roe’ are larger eggs but they lack the crunch that the ‘Flying Fish Roe’ had. Without that texture, it was not more than salty mush.
Roll Sushi (All $3 each)
        ‘Tempura Prawn’ was a let down. I felt it was cold and the fried prawn tasted too much of oil
Tempura Roll
        ‘Soft Shell Crab’ this place has it down packed for the soft shell crab department. It tastes amazing, always fresh and no taste of the greasy flavour. I love all variation sushi from them.
Soft Shell Crab Roll
        ‘Chicken Katsu’ is like a standard sushi roll in the shops. While it was nice, it would not be a must here.
Chicken Katsu Roll
        The first few times I’ve been to ‘Sushi Hotaru’ I did have a few dishes from the ‘Roll Sushi’ category but, recently while they look amazing I feel the ‘Hand Rolls,’ ‘Gunkan’ and ‘Nigiri’ outweigh the ‘Roll Sushi.’
Side Dishes
       ‘Takoyaki’ 4 pieces for $3. We ordered using the iPad and they always come out steaming hot and super crisp on the outside.
Takoyaki! nom nom
       ‘Okonomiyaki’ which was like a giant ‘Takoyaki’ except it lacked the crisp outside. The filling was just as flavoursome and steaming hot
Okonomiyaki $3

‘Spicy Chicken Wings’ The first time I had these, they weren’t salty. However, after that time, I’ve always thought they were too salty. While they are crisp, it’s a bet to order these.

Spicy Chicken Wings $3

‘Crumbed Octopus’ Generous serving for $3 but again was soaked in too much of the oil that it lacked the delicious octopus flavour. It was steaming hot when served though.

Crumbed Octopus

‘Crumbed Calamari’ similar to the fried octopus above. Generous but, lacked flavour due to overpowering grease taste.

Crumbed Calamari

‘Gyoza.’ I’ve also have had this twice but, while it’s a good serving size, taste-wise there is nothing unique that wants you begging for more.

Gyoza $3. Served with a side of sweet soy sauce

Sashimi $7.90 (All Gold dishes are 7.90.) Fresh, nicely cut and my favourite. Can’t say more but that I freaking love this stuff. They have different variations. I went for the tuna, salmon and kingfish option. My favourite would be the salmon out of the three as it has the the least chewy texture. I do have to say for 6 pieces at $7.90 it is a tad expensive than places I’ve seen. But, does look/taste more fresh. Haven’t had any food poisoning so it’s a good sign.

Sashimi $7.90 AUD
Nigiri Sushi
      When I say try ALL things seared, I mean it. Seared scallops, seared salmon, anything you see on the menu, eat it. This is what I live for at ‘Sushi Hotaru.’ The smoky flavour just melts in your mouth and the juices that run through your mouth is such an amazing sensation. Every time I pop any of these bad boys into my mouth, I just want to moan at how amazing they are. It is a MUST here.
Seared Scallop $3
     I do also enjoy all the sashimi, spicy types but, I think that all falls down to personal preference.
      If you love sesame you MUST order this drink. the ‘Black Sesame Latte’ is the most amazing drink ever. I don’t know how to describe it but it’s basically a milky sesame flavoured glass of awesome. It comes with a scoop of their black sesame ice cream. While the texture of the ice cream isn’t at all creamy and nor dense, it saves on getting a dessert at the end.
Black Sesame Latte $5.50 AUD

I also tried the ‘Green Tea Latte with Red Bean Ice Cream.’ I’ve never been a fan of green tea flavoured things and this is no exception. The ‘Red Bean Ice Cream’ was quite flavourful though. It was much denser than the ‘Black Sesame’ scoop but nothing I would say is a definite order. Kimberley who loves green tea flavoured things, enjoyed hers so, I say if you do love the green, go for it!       All in all, I love ‘Sushi Hotaru.’ I’m certain I’ve tried more on their menu but, I’m usually so hungry and scoff through the plates that I forget to document what I had. I say look at the iPad menu and pick whatever tickles your fancy and experiment from there. I totally recommend this and every time I’ve taken a new friend to this place, they fall in love as well so, I think I’ve really hit a gem right here. In terms of pricing, if I stuff myself silly with a friend with similar eating capabilities as I have and include drinks, I say it’ll be about $20 – $30 per person. Maximum $40. When I ate with my parents and Richard, we ate about $28 per person, with Kelly & Kim it was $28. It may sound like a lot now but once you’re in there, it’s well worth it!

Standard demolishing of sushi

Hope you’re enjoying a good dose of blogging! Feel free to leave a comment if you have the same love affair or think I should try one your own hidden gems.

Nibble Away,
          Jo x.

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