Growing up in a small country town, I was very late to the sashimi game; I was seventeen years old when I tried raw fish for the first time. But I instantly loved sashimi as well as pretty much all Japanese cuisine. Now, I regularly indulge in a bento box paired with a good sake or a fine Japanese whiskey, so you can bet I instantly said ‘yes’ when I was offered the chance to try Sydney’s most expensive sashimi plate.
Sokyo, the grandiose Japanese restaurant located in Pyrmont’s The Star Sydney Casino, boasts an impressive 4.5 out of 5 stars rating on Google Reviews and is currently offering a new menu item, the ‘Opulent Sashimi Platter,’ to celebrate the Lunar New Year.
Upon arriving at Sokyo, which has a cool, trendy, almost-New-York vibe to it, I was instantly ushered to my table and offered water and a cocktails list; in other words, the customer service was impeccable. I was enjoying my delectable ‘Ocean’s 15’ – a Suntory Roku Gin based cocktail – when the sashimi platter was brought out. And, oh boy, was it a sight to see.
Two staff members carried the huge platter out, and a third set off an impressive dry ice effect. The people sitting at the table next to mine audibly gasped and then asked what I had ordered, looking longingly at the behemoth sashimi plate that sat before me. Excited by the whole spectacle, I enthusiastically grabbed my chopsticks (after taking the obligatory Instagram photo of the food, of course) and dug in.
Video: Sokyo’s Sashimi Platter Arrives At My Table
And, my god. Every ingredient on the platter, which included Tasmanian live lobster, caviar, toro, Japanese tuna belly, ocean trout, scampi, scallop, kingfish, snapper, caviar and assorted sashimi, was simply prepared to perfection; the tuna belly in particular, just melted in my mouth. Honestly, if you consider Japanese food your favourite cuisine, do yourself a favour and treat yourself to the Opulent Sashimi Platter. Words simply don’t do it justice.
After the delicious meal that I enjoyed at Sokyo on Friday night, I awoke Saturday morning feeling hugely satisfied… but that satisfaction soon turned to dread because I knew that my day entailed trying one of Sydney’s worst sashimi joints (as per Google Reviews).
Sushi Tabi, located in Rouse Hill, has only a 2.1 out of 5 stars rating on Google Reviews; with many of the reviews being quite unsavoury. One review by Amelia Perring says, “this was the biggest waste of money I have ever spent on food. This sushi (if you could call it that) is an insult to Japanese culture.”
The ‘restaurant’ is the typical casual store-front sushi place you often see inside shopping malls and is located in Rouse Hill Mall’s food court. Therefore, it’s almost unfair to compare the two experiences. Of course, there’s no table service or lavish cocktails list at Sushi Tabi but I will say the staff were as friendly as they could be.
There wasn’t much choice by the time I got there – and unfortunately no sashimi option – so I went for a couple of salmon handrolls. The sushi was clearly not fresh, and tasted, for lack of a better word, fine. Certainly, nothing to rave about but not completely terrible; so either I was lucky or some of the reviews on Google Review are a bit harsh.
If I had to be brutally honest, the salmon was bland and tasted like it had been sitting in a fridge for quite some time and the rice was dry. However, that’s generally how sushi bought from shopping mall food courts tastes, so I don’t really understand why Sushi Tab has such a low rating compared to other similar places.
I will say that after eating the, ah, tolerable sushi from Sushi Tab I appreciated the sashimi plate from Sokyo all the more. And luckily, it didn’t ruin my Sokyo experience; I spent my Saturday afternoon reminiscing about Sokyo’s succulent tuna belly – clearly my favourite from the Opulent platter – and forgot all about the non-event that was my lunch at Sushi Tab.
My advice, though, is if you do choose to indulge in the Opulent Sashimi Platter, just revel in its taste and experience… don’t risk ruining the memory of it by eating inferior Japanese food less than 24 hours later.
If you’re wanting to try the most delicious sashimi Sydney has to offer you better book in quickly, as it’s only available for lunch and dinner until the 15th of February. And I will warn you, the platter will set you back a cool $688.80, but it’s worth every damn penny if you’re a sashimi fiend like me.