WITH interest rates higher than Cheech & Chong and the astronomical cost of living smashing pay cheques, the Voice was on the hunt for a quality budget lunch.
The Claisebrook Cove-end of East Perth might not seem like the most likely candidate, but up on Royal Street, away from the inlet, there are some cheap and cheerful eateries.
Sushi at Royal seemed to fit the bill perfectly – it had a small inconspicuous shopfront and got good reviews online.
The inside was pretty anonymous – plastic tables and chairs, some bench seats, a lonely drinks fridge in the corner and a display cabinet crammed with sushi.
It was super clean, but austere and to the point, with the food and quick service doing the talking.
The wall-mounted menu, behind the counter, had a small range of beef, chicken and fish bowls with salad and rice or as a combo with sushi. All the favourites were covered including beef rendang, karaage chicken, teriyaki salmon and beef curry.
There was also a nice range of udon/soba noodle dishes including agedashi tofu, vegetable curry and chicken.
Beside the till was a massive display cabinet with a huge range of sushi rolls including reverse style with the nori on the inside.
But with the rain pelting down and the wind howling, I was in the mood for something hot and went for the Teriyaki Beef bowl with salad and rice, which was very well priced at $14.50.
I arrived at Sushi at Royal at 12pm on Tuesday and five minutes later the place was absolutely heaving with local office workers wanting their sushi and katsu lunchtime-hit.
It made for a lively atmosphere and every few seconds a frantic staffer in a mask would rush out the kitchen and shout out a number like a demented bingo caller.
“55!” was mine and he dashed over with my teriyaki beef.
No frills here with the meal served in a plastic bowl (handy come summer if you want to eat down at the waters edge or back at the office).
My bowl was piled high with thinly sliced beef, rice and salad.
Sometimes teriyaki beef can be tougher than a leather jacket from the 1970s, but this bad boy was decent quality and had been nicely cooked.
The other main offender is the beef being fatty or stringy, but again no complaints and there was plenty of meat and it was decent quality.
The dish really came to life when you combined the beef with the sticky rice and salad, which had some shredded cabbage in it, adding a bit of texture.
There was also some tomato and shredded carrot and lettuce in there too.
Rounding things off was the spicy mayo on the side, which kept your palate on its toes.
An excellent value teriyaki beef which was both filling and tasty. Perfect for a cold, wet day.
I couldn’t resist the super-fresh sushi in the display cabinet and took an assortment home to share for dinner – cooked tuna ($6.50), reverse avocado ($7) and chicken katsu ($8).
They all hit the mark and I liked how they were traditional with no giants rice wheels or fusion concoctions that defeat the simplicity and purity of sushi.
If you’re after a quick, cheap, good-quality lunch in East Perth, then check out Sushi at Royal – my own little quirky tribute to Her Maj.
Sushi at Royal
131 Royal Street, East Perth
by STEPHEN POLLOCK