The Toko sushi train in Paddington has been around way before Toko or Tokonoma in Surry Hills became uber-trendy. People are so obsessed with the latter two, and rightfully so. But if we go back to its roots, Toko first started up as a simple sushi train. It's understandably more economical than its Surry Hills counterpart, yet it's still high in quality. The Toko sushi train is admittedly miniature in comparison, but it serves some similarly superb sushi. If you're however looking for a more upmarket version, pay a visit to Toko or Tokonoma on Crown Street instead, where the cocktails are divine and the Japanese dishes (not just sushi) melt in your mouth.
Part of the Yes Food group, which has opened many successful Japanese restaurants like Ramen Kan and my personal favourite Wagaya, Sushi Hotaru is a relatively new sushi train found at The Galeries Victoria. Open since February 2011, this sushi train is not only affordable, but also convenient and of high quality. Most sushi plates cost only $3. If you'd like them at the freshest, order the sushi instead of just choosing them off the moving train. Quite a special one is the edamame (soy bean) sushi, which are served with mayo. Also available are omelette hand rolls.
Makoto has been around since 1999, which is probably longer than most of the other sushi trains on this list. Makoto knows what it's doing - the sushi is fresh and tasty. Situated on Liverpool Street, this outlet attracts a big crowd despite its small size. It only seats 50 people (at the counter and at surrounding tables). If you're here on a weekend night, be prepared to write your name down, take that little stub of paper with your number on it, and wait for a good 45 minutes to an hour. For those unwilling to wait, Makoto also does takeaway.
4. Sushi Inn
This little gem is one not to miss in Randwick Junction. A chef from Toko in Surry Hills opened up Sushi Inn in 2008, and it's been slowly growing in popularity ever since. It's a great sushi train, especially for the Randwick vicinity. The sushi here has a similar style to Toko and is of a comparable standard, but of course it's cheaper. Look out for the duck and coriander sushi. And in the non-sushi dishes part of the menu, I recommend ordering the Agedashi Tofu.
I dare say that Sushi Choo underneath Ivy is the most stylish sushi train in Sydney. Furnished with a white marble counter, red stools and lanterns, this sushi train is easy on the eyes. I also like how they use a stamping card - like at a yum cha restaurant - for every sushi plate you order or take from the conveyer belt. But on top of that there's also the irresistible All You Can Eat deal for earlybirds. From 6pm on weekdays you can chow down an unlimited number of your favourite sushi plates for only $20. What a bargain.
This Singaporean chain has branched out to Australia and now has restaurants at Chifley Square and Liverpool St. You're likely to be seated at a table, and not at the sushi train counter, but you can order sushi from the table anyway. Other than the sushi, Sushi Tei also has lovely ramen and soba dishes. I'm fond of the restaurant's warm atmosphere, thanks to its use of light wood for its interior design. This is true of the Sushi Tei chains in Asia as well - I've been to a fair share of those too.
I've written about Takumi at Market City before (see my Cheap Restaurants in Chinatown article), but it's definitely worth a quick mention again in the sushi train category. Takumi, like Sushi Hotaru, is also part of the Yes Food group. Open since January 2007, Takumi is cheaper and smaller than Sushi Hotaru, but still very good. Like Sushi Hotaru, the plates here are only $3. But what's even better is that showing the cashier a Student ID will make that $2.50 a plate. Alternatively, if you've parked at Market City you'll get the same discount. If you're up for something different, order the hamburger sushi, which is my favourite sushi plate here.