HAS covid-19 killed off Australia’s beloved sushi-train for good?
There are serious concerns that buffet-style restaurants may never recover as we reassess our hygiene protocols in the wake of the pandemic.
One local casualty is Jaws in East Perth – it’s had to temporarily close its dine-in area and sushi train, which was well regarded and a mecca for local office workers.
Thankfully Jaws is still doing a roaring trade from its takeaway hatch on Hay Street, so I got an assortment of dishes for my family.
Conveniently, I could order for a specific pick-up time before arriving, saving me hanging about Hay Street like an extra from the Joker. Perth’s CBD is always fascinating on weekdays. It’s quiet yet slightly menacing – like a hippo on sedatives. Jaws’ website ordering isn’t the slickest, but it does the job and probably saves them cash by not having to host it via a fancy third party.
There was an extensive range of nigiri, aburi, gunkan and roll sushi, and some noodle soups and hot sides like gyoza, takoyaki and teriyaki chicken.
As well as old favourites, Jaws catered for Japanese ex-pats and sushi connoisseurs with dishes like una tama (bbq eel and omelette), ahi (horse mackerel) aburi and tobiko (flying fish roe).
My young kids are sushi neophytes, but they enjoyed the avocado mini rolls (six for $4.50) and cooked tuna and avocado (two for $3.50).
I had a taste and the tuna was especially good with the avocado just the right firmness.
The fine panko crumbs sprinkled on top added a lovely texture. They were a simple addition, but helped differentiate it from the litany of sushi rolls I’ve eaten before. The standout dish for me was the salmon sashimi ($8.50): it was great value with several thick, glistening slices of fish.
It tasted super fresh and they hadn’t skimped on the juicy salmon. A lovely fresh interlude to some of the more full-on sushi.
Following close on its heels was the teriyaki beef roll ($5 for three).
The beef was excellent quality with a lovely spicy mustard-style coating. Sounds like a given, but all the sushi was well constructed and didn’t fall apart when you lifted it up.
I’ve lost count of the times sushi has been overloaded with too many fillings and ends up a deconstructed mess on your plate.
Another sin is too much mayonnaise; leaving you feeling a bit queasy and thinking “I thought sushi was meant to be healthy?”
We finished off the meal with some spicy raw tuna roll and raw tuna nigiri (both three for $5.80).
The red sauce on the spicy tuna had a serious kick, satisfying my chilli junkie habit, and the nigiri was tasty without hitting the same heights.
Jaws still delivers on the takeaway front and hopefully its sushi train will rise from the ashes like Godzilla on viagra.
323 Hay Street, East Perth
by STEPHEN POLLOCK