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Published June 24th 2013
A taste of Japan in South Bank
Sushi is fairly ubiquitous these days and being a sushi lover (how is seaweed and rice so good?) I am on a constant quest to find the ultimate dish. Ginga Japanese Restaurant on little Stanley Street, South Bank is definitely a contender. Selling not only sushi but a wide variety of delicious Japanese cuisine in a peaceful eastern atmosphere, Ginga beckons you to pull up a chair.
The affable staff show to your seat inside or outside the restaurant. I recommend inside this winter as it is comfortably warm. Accompanying the restaurant is a small take-away sushi and drink area if you are on the go. The first thing I tried was the Maki (sushi cut into bite size and chop stick friendly pieces) Prawn Tempura Roll ($9). Though a bit awkward to eat for the unskilled, the flavour was soft and very delicious. This was not something I could find in the sushi shops that are riddled throughout the city. The sushi had a lot more flavour and the prawn was a particular stand out. Six pieces was not enough.
Knowing that one sushi alone would not satisfy my appetite I also ordered a Teriyaki Chicken Hand Roll ($5). The ratio of rice to chicken was not too favourable but the chicken was good quality. The flavour, however, did not stand up to the Maki Sushi. If I try a hand roll again I may order the California Hand Roll ($6.50) that seemed to be much more filled. Both sushi dishes came with a dangerous amount of wasabi for you risk takers and pickled ginger. I found the taste was invasive but it may please some.
Come prepared for chop sticks. If you have fumbling fingers like me, do as I do and try and pick a corner table where the mocking will be minimized. However, several menu items are relatively easy to get your chop sticks around. One such dish was tried by my partner. A slightly spicy and hot Chicken Karaage. Think Japanese chicken nuggets with a dash of class, a slice of lemon and resting on a blade of lettuce. Even on a frozen June night the sushi sated me. However, if you venture here in winter, I recommend one of their soups or a hot plate dish ($25) that comes out in a puff of smoke still sizzling to keep you warm.
The menu also offers you various Sashimi including Sake (Salmon and $16) and Tako (Octopus and $12). There is a full spectrum of sushi available. Simple rolls vary in price from $5 to $8 and include scallop ($6), tuna ($6) and prawn ($6.50). Several Maki sushi are also available including Salmon and Avocado (six cut for $8) and the California Roll (six cut and $8). Hand rolls are also available and are good to fill the last empty space in your stomach. These range from $5 to $7 and include the Lobster and Tobikko Salad Hand Roll ($7) and the Tuna Salad Hand Roll ($5). Side dishes include salads and soups. A few tempura dishes are on the menu ranging from $10 to $24. Also on your menu is rices and noodles. Bento is also on offer and is great to split between two and to spoil your taste buds. Ginga also have options for vegetarians including Steamed Mixed Vegetables and Tofu ($10.90) and Agedashi Tofu ($8.90). I found that the prices may vary by a dollar or so from the website and the menu.
A very wide variety of alcohol and beverages are available including special Japanese cocktails and sake. Perfect for a full Japanese dining experience. Other drinks include: iced coffee ($4.50), iced tea ($3.50), liqueur coffee (all $9), soft drinks ($3.50) and spiders ($4.50). Though several patrons appeared to be on Friday night dates a few families were also enjoying their meals.
Ginga has three establishments: the restaurant, a sushi bar and emporium in fortitude valley and Ginga Sushi Bar and Fusion (located immediately next to South Bank cinema).You may recognize its name from the tedious advertisements at South Bank cinema. Further establishments are opening in Carindale and the Portside Wharf. For more information venture over to the Ginga website. Doors open at 11am for Lunch. Lunch hours remain open until 5pm where it melds into the dinner hours that go from 5pm to 10pm. With 120 seats you need not be worried that you will not be welcomed. Experience quality Japanese cuisine in South Bank.