Try and forget for a minute that you are standing in a food hall.
Sure, it's one of the best food halls in Perth, with an excellent reputation, but it's still a food hall. We are standing in front of Oishii Japanese in the Cambridge Forum (aka International Food Court). Red lanterns hang above a glass display case packed with brightly coloured sushi rolls ($6.50-$8.50). Glossy picture-boards of menu items cover many of the remaining walls and surfaces. A shelf of the ubiquitous Meneki-neko 'welcoming cats' sit below what is presumably an artificial bonsai tree.
There is not a stainless steel bain marie in sight, and it is one of the reasons why Japanese food is such a firm favourite of mine. For the most part, it is cooked fresh to order. Its delicate nature means it cannot be made in advance (sushi excepted), and often you will receive your meal faster than traditional 'fast food'.
Oishii, meaning delicious or yummy, is one of a dozen or so food outlets in the Cambridge Forum, and while you can certainly eat your meals there (there are plenty of tables, an indoor playground for kids, big screen TVs and the entire place is BYO – they even provide wine glasses) it is just as easy to take your meals home.
The menu has all the usual suspects and you can order them as a stand-alone dish with rice (such as yakitori, teriyaki, chicken katsu, tempura) or you can order a 'bento' meal, which comes with rice, sushi, salad, miso soup and fruit for only a few extra dollars. We have tried many of the dishes over the years, and apart from one order of sashimi being watery and cold (I suspect it may have been thawed rather than fresh) all dishes have proven to be tasty and fresh.
The teriyaki salmon ($16 bento set) was a generous serving of lightly battered and marinated salmon slivers, served on a bed of rice and bean shoots.
The shichimi pepper beef ($13 bento set), also generous considering its price tag, came with a flavoursome pepper sauce, and enough carrots, onions and buk choy to satisfy your mum that you are eating your vegetables, without offending meat-eating men who need lots of protein.
A side dish of takoyaki or deep fried octopus balls (not as kinky as it sounds - $8) were served up with two perky mounds of mayonnaise, a drizzle of takoyaki sauce and on a bed of crispy noodles. Even our two year old loves these interesting dumplings of cubed octopus, tempura bits, ginger and onion.
If you order the bento sets and 'dine in', they come in custom compartmentalised trays, with space for all the courses. Similarly, if you order takeaway, your meat, rice and soup comes in one special container, and your sushi, salad and fruit in another. If you prefer, Oishii also offer a range of udon and ramen noodle soups ($11-$13.50). The meals are filling, comprehensive and very reasonably priced.