17th November 2016
Shop 68, Box Hill Centro
1 Main Street
Box Hill, VIC 3128
We all know and love Sushi Hotaru, but I’d be lying if I said I enjoy waiting 45 minutes for a table, nor do I like having to run into the CBD every time I wanted a sushi train fix. So when the old newsagent in Box Hill Centro closed and was replaced by Sushi Jiro, it was definitely a much better outcome than I had dared hope for.
Being more or less brand spanking new, the interior of Sushi Jiro was bright and pleasant, though it does feel a little utilitarian. I wasn’t sure what to make of the service; the waitresses seemed to downright forget that they had customers sometimes, but when they remembered, they were quite lovely, especially by Box Hill standards.
There was a huge range of sushi on offer according to the menu at our tables, but we quickly realised that like most sushi trains, not all offerings were spinning around on the conveyer belt, and we had to specially order certain items. Not feeling particularly adventurous on the day however, I was content just to start off with whatever they had available. Salmon Nigiri ($3.8) is almost always my first choice, and I treat it as a sort of benchmark dish for any sushi bar. The offering here was reasonable; passably fresh and quite buttery too.
Chris nabbed a plate of Takoyaki ($4.8), which was about as good as you’d expect after they’ve gone around a few times. Lukewarm but still crispy, these hit the spot without offering up any surprises.
The Kingfish Nigiri ($3.8) on the other hand didn’t fare so well. Despite its lustrous colouring, the fish was far from fresh, and tasted rather soggy, as opposed to firm and clean as I would’ve expected.
It’s hard to go wrong with Aburi Hotate ($4.8), and this one did a good job to boot. The scallops were silky and sweet, with its edges caramelised by the blowtorch. And although untraditional, I liked the smear of chilli mayo on top, the heat making the scallops taste even more delicate.
The Teriyaki Salmon Roll ($3.8) did what it promised, minus the teriyaki. I actually thought this was just a plain salmon avocado roll until I looked at the menu more closely, after I got home.
The Tamago Nigiri ($3.8) was once again Chris’ choice, and despite being unremarkable, I thought the egg omelette was impressively sweet and fluffy.
I have a weird little spot of affection for California rolls, and the Rainbow Roll ($3.8), aka California roll topped with slivers of salmon, tuna, and avocado looked too pretty to resist. Despite the pretty colouring however, it was relatively bland.
I had been eyeing this plate all night, and eventually my curiosity got the better of me. I’m pretty sure this is the Tsubugai Nigiri ($3.8), aka whelk. I enjoyed the crunchy texture, and it was a great palate cleanser at the end of the meal.
We finished the meal with a bowl of Teriyaki Chicken Udon ($6.8), which had an odd chilli-like smokiness to the broth, minus the actual spice. The noodles themselves were surprisingly excellent, their chewy, al dente mouth feel suggestive of their freshness.
Despite not being bad per se, I found myself distinctly unimpressed with Sushi Jiro. The food was quite hit and miss, and even when it hit, it was never a bullseye. I think we would’ve had better luck if we had ordered some of the dishes directly, as I imagine they keep the stuff with lower profit margins in the back. But if you ask me, one of the perks of coming to a sushi train is being able to be as antisocial as you want, and I don’t much fancy having to order half my food from an actual human. Frankly, I think I’ve just been spoilt by Sushi Hotaru’s touch-screen menus and universally priced plates. Maybe one day something will come up that will lure me away, but today is not that day.
Rating: 11.5/20 – jiro the hero? more like jiro the zero.
This rating reflects my personal experience at the time of visit.