Sakura Kaiten Sushi

61 Little Collins St
Melbourne, VIC 3000
I eat a lot of sushi, and I’m not very picky. I’ll eat whatever is thrown my way as long as it has vinegared rice, seafood, and possibly a piece of nori holding it together. But then again, nothing much makes me happier than excellent sushi, even if I have to fork out a bundle o’ cash for it. And whilst Sakura Kaiten Sushi definitely isn’t economical like Sushi Hotaru, the promise of fresh seafood had me sold. Stop crying, credit card! 

Sakura Kaiten Sushi is a lot smaller than it appeared from the outside, the deceptively short room abruptly cut in half with a large mirror hung on the back wall. Though dainty, it’s surprisingly fashionable. Slick pop music played loudly in the background whilst Howl’s Moving Castle was projected onto the wall, right next to a traditional cherry blossom mural. The staff were relentlessly cheerful, shouting to each other in Japanese between broad smiles to each and every diner. 

But the real attraction lies in the 20 foot conveyer belt taking up most of the restaurant. Tasty little morsels glided past enticingly, making conversation rather difficult. There’s a $15pp minimum spend, but that’s not too hard. The best stuff is on the Red Plates ($6.8), and then we go down to the White Plates($5.8) and Black Plates($4.8), finally ending in the Pink Plates ($3.8), which mostly consisted of seaweed salad, edamame, and a horrific-looking ‘American sushi’ made from frankfurts and  tomato sauce, which I almost tried for its sheer wrongness.   

Seared Scallop Nigiri ($5.8)
The Seared Scallop Nigiri ($5.8) were a fantastic start, melting effortlessly in the mouth with a hint of sweet soy and mayonnaise.
We also picked up a plate of Takoyaki ($5.8) at this point, which were a little cold from spinning around on the train, and didn’t have enough octopus pieces. It was somewhat remedied by the generous amount of sauce and mayonnaise, but let down again by my forgetting to take a picture. Boo. 

Calamari and Sea Urchin Nigiri ($5.8)
The Calamari and Sea Urchin Nigiri($5.8) caught me with its beautiful presentation, and the taste didn’t disappoint either. The sheet of calamari swathed over the rice was elegantly sleek, topped with a bright orange dollop of sea urchin that was delightfully salty and briny. 

Seaweed Salad ($3.8)
I love Seaweed Salad ($3.8), even if it has been spinning around for a while and the strands at the top had become a little dry. 

Chicken Soba ($5.8)
Chris, who isn’t crazy about seafood, picked the Chicken Soba ($5.8) off the train. And it was surprisingly good aside from the dry chicken, the al-dente strands of noodles mixed through with a light yet richly nutty dressing. 

Potato and Corn Croquettas ($4.8)
After seeing these spin around a few times without a name attached to them, I took the plunge and found that they were indeed the Potato and Corn Croquettas ($4.8) that I had hoped they were. The centre was soft and fluffy, holding within it sweet kernels of corn.

Salmon Flower with Lobster ($6.8)
I had myself a little bit of a red plate spree at this point, starting with the Salmon Flower with Lobster($6.8). It tasted every bit as delectable as it looked, the prime salmon sashimi wrapped lovingly around a sweet bud of minced lobster.

Salmon Belly Sashimi ($6.8)
What’s better than salmon sashimi? Salmon Belly Sashimi ($6.8). Though narrow, these strips of salmon were lusciously firm and plump, and absolutely seductive in their taste and texture. 

Scampi Nigiri ($6.8)
Possibly the most expensive item on the train, along with the tuna belly, was the single piece of Scampi Nigiri($6.8). Crazily sweet and gelatinous with a pearly sheen, this was worth every cent, and then some. 

Tuna Sashimi ($6.8)
I’m not usually a fan of Tuna Sashimi ($6.8), preferring instead… any other option available, but these ruby-red bricks of fish seemed like a safe bet. And whilst its freshness and quality couldn’t be faulted, I’m pretty sure that I will be forever doomed to like this fish canned more than sliced raw.

Tempura Chicken ($5.8)
I had wanted another salmon flower, topped with fish roe this time, but we waited and waited and it never came. So we finished our meal with some Tempura Chicken ($5.8), which was surprisingly nice. The batter coating the fillet of chicken was crisp and light, an impressive feat given that I’ve seen it pass in front of us at least half a dozen times. 

Sakura Kaiten Sushi is definitely not cheap; 11 plates set us back about $65, and we were eating fairly lightly that day too. But thinking back to the quality of the scampi nigiri and salmon belly sashimi, this is a price I am more than happy to pay. If a decent feed is all you want, then Sushi Hotaru is the place to go – Sakura Kaiten Sushi is a place for people who treat their seafood a little more reverently.
Rating: 14.5/20 – scampi my love.
This rating reflects my personal experience at the time of visit. 

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