Tag Archives: sushi

Review: Oshin Japanese Restaurant, Brisbane CBD

As we’ve discussed before here at The Supertaster, Brisbane has some kind of crazy fascination for sushi and Japanese foods in general. But mostly sushi.

Before Japanese food was cool, Brisbane’s business types did deals over the pine tables at Oshin, upstairs on the corner of Adelaide and Creek Streets. We used to direct people there by saying ‘there’s a koala statue on the awning’ but now we say ‘it’s next door to the Apple store’. Landmarks and the common consciousness may change, but everything inside Oshin has stayed the same. Laminated wine lists with prices relabelled and well worn menus and a decor not lead by design might make you think Oshin has been left behind by newcomers like Sono, Hanaichi, Nagomi and the like. Truth is, Oshin is a modest place with a winning formula and is content to serve good things to repeat customers and those lucky enough to venture in. There’s nothing tricked up or ‘fusion’ here.

The menu covers most of the fare you’d expect – sushi, sashimi, katsu, yakiniku, tempura, teriyaki, sukiyaki, shabu shabu, etc. It’s not been assembled to suprise and delight; it serves a more basic function- doing those Japanese staples we love, really well. Glistening platters of sashmi show Oshin know how to source great seafood. Service is friendly and staff will happily serve you in western style entree, main, dessert style. There’s also half a dozen stools at the sashimi bar. It’s a shame they’ve recently replaced their hot towels with plastic packaged disposable versions.

At Oshin, my ‘usual’ comfort foods include the agedashi dofu, tempura udon, deluxe sushichirashi and sometimes scallops skewers and prawn handrolls. The rice is always perfect too. All of these things go well with a Yebisu.

Oshin is a great place to retreat from the bustle of the city and enjoy the comfort of simple and reliably good Japanese staples.

Oshin Japanese Restaurant

1st Floor Koala House

256 Adelaide Street, Brisbane

07 3229 0410

Restaurant Review: Nagomi, Eagle Street Pier, Brisbane

Nagomi is one of the new casual week day dining options at Eagle Street Pier, which regular viewers will recall has recently had a makeover. The offspring of Sono Restaurants, Nagomi is billed as fresh Japanese-on-the-go. This is hardly a unique idea, with a sushi place already on every block in the CBD. So what’s different about Nagomi?
First of all, the location offers views of the river and a certain cachet, being located in Brisbane’s premier dining precinct. Secondly, there’s an extensive seating area with communal tables under a shade sail. Thirdly, all food is presented in containers made of biodegradable recycled materials.

All this should add up to something pretty neat. But that’s the thing.  It doesn’t.

I joined the queue, perusing the menu on the fly. There’s a choice of bento boxes, sushi and side dishes. I love a good Bento box, and remember the good old days where an enormous bento box lunch at Sono set you back $15. Back then, I ate one at least once a week and chewed the fat with others in my industry, who also had no defence for the lure of light as a feather tempura, tangy teriyaki beef, perfectly seasoned rice and anything else the chef deigned suitable for our bento boxes.

I got to the front of the queue to be told that I could only order sushi at that station, and that I needed to join the other queue. OK, sure. I joined the other, longer queue to be told by the manager that we could order bento boxes at the other queue. The manager then turned his back to us to engage in a long chat to a mate passing by. Not a stunning introduction to Nagomi. I settled on the Teriyaki Beef Patty bento box and went with the option to substitute the rice portion for sushi for an extra $2, fearful that if I wanted sushi, I’d be asked to join yet another queue. I was given a number and took a seat at the indoor bar area with other lone diners. My number was called not long after that and the bento box presented at the counter, the ‘box’ entirely comprised of moulded paper containers in a larger cardboard tray. The stool wasn’t matched to the height for the bar, which necessitated leaning forward to operate my chopsticks.  Not a major problem, more an oversight on the part of the fitout designer that made eating a little awkward.  Perhaps a clever trick to ensure tables are turned over quickly? 

The contents of the bento box were however a problem. Salad with mesclun, mandarin segments and a scoop of potato salad were fine. Gyoza, crocquettes and a few edamame beans were OK, but not amazing. I had trouble getting the sushi pieces out of the cardboard container, as the rice was overcooked and had become welded to the cardboard. The fillings of spicy tuna, pork and tempura prawn were decent, but not what I would have chosen (if you take the sushi option, you do not get to choose your sushi). The beef patty tasted reminiscent of my mother’s meatloaf with some green beans, zucchini, carrot and a pool of tasteless brown sauce. The beef was cheap and over minced, without any pleasurable flavour or texture. Perfectly blanched green beans were easily the highlight of the bento box.

Nagomi has been open for 4 – 6 weeks with an interruption in trade during the floods, which damaged the underground infrastructure and food storage areas at Eagle Street Pier.  The concept is good, the location is great and there is serious money and resources at the venues disposal with its backing from the established Sono group.  I hope they can refine their service and food offering to successfully differentiate themselves from the myriad other Japanese lunch options available in the CBD.

Teriyaki Beef Patty Bento Box @ Nagomi

A little birdy tells me a new interstate player is opening in the last remaining tenancy, known for its waterside location and ‘hot’ kitchen.  Any guesses?