Please donut love me, I have no fillings for you.
(For on the go food-ing, check out my Instagram: @witwhitt)
Published May 8th 2012
It was actually by complete accident that I stumbled across Yamato Kaiten Sushi. With growling tummies in tow and the craving for something new, a friend and I wandered around Claremont Quarter with high hopes.
Upon first glance, the restaurant was quite packed and we were quickly ushered into two side by side seats in front of the revolving train. I would have preferred to sit in a booth as there were two empty ones in sight upon entering the restaurant, but it turned out to be not a big deal at all as we were both in ideal grabbing sushi distance of the seemingly never ending relay of coloured plates. Like a few other sushi trains I've dined at in Perth, I've discovered that Yamato also includes dim sum in towered bamboo baskets that accompany the plated sushi on their rotation around the train. Upon seeing this, I'm left thinking, but why? After the initial perplex, we surveyed our sushi options. We note that it is fairly priced by Perth standards, and even more so because we are in Claremont.
This was delicious. And the tobiko (flying fish roe) that coated the exterior of the sushi was generous and practically falling off the sushi in small mounds on the plate. I really enjoy the texture and taste of tobiko, so this delighted me greatly. I enjoyed this one so much that one serve was just simply not enough and my greedy paws quickly poached another off the train.
This was interesting, as the crab's ever present claw made the dish stand out amongst the other sushi rolls. I have an immense love for soft shell crab and there was no question about this sushi roll being my next choice. The sushi was garnished with chilli flakes, so I expected a spicy taste. This is exactly what I got. The sushi roll definitely had dramatic presentation, but the taste was questionable due to the inclusion of a julienne of raw carrots tucked in with the crab. The carrot had an amazingly crunchy texture, which counteracted against the crab; the taste and texture of the crab seemed to be lost amongst each bite I took. (Props must be given regardless though, it is a very attractive looking sushi roll)
Raw salmon or raw tuna with avocado is definitely one of my favourite flavour combinations, and they both work together so well when the fish and the avocado are both fresh. In this instance, Yamato Kaiten definitely got it right. The salmon was amazingly fresh (well picked with hawk eye in place) and I found the entire bite melting away in my month amongst my condiments of choice, pickled ginger and a touch of soy sauce. It's always nice when you order a sushi staple like avocado and salmon and a place gets it right.
Oh. And another thing I take note of when I'm out having Japanese, is pickled ginger. It's one of those condiments that I enjoy so much that a sizable tupperware of it sits in my fridge at all times. I almost clapped my hands with delight as I realised that along with the other revolving items, there were small pots of ginger in which you could help yourself to as much as you please. I like that in a Japanese restaurant, as I am an avid pickled ginger eater, to the point where one may wonder, "Would you like some sushi with your pickled ginger?"
Having said that, there are a few downfalls with dining at Yamato, and most lay with the selection of dishes they had on offer. Not all the plates of sushi were fresh; I would have wanted to enjoy some tuna nigiri, but the colour of the fish could be likened to fair day cotton candy rather than the bright hot coral colour that I usually look for in my sashimi. I've decided on a rule of thumb after dining at a few sushi train restaurants, and that, is to steer clear of sashimi that is presented on a revolving train. Chances are, it's been sitting there for quite awhile. There was also a drinks list provided to us at the beginning of the meal, with an extensive list of your usual canned and bottled beverages, as well as a few other Japanese teas and fizzy beverage choices. Which was all very well, but it would have been nice if they listed the prices of these drinks on the menu.
Overall, the experience at Yamato Kaiten was surprisingly pleasant. The restaurant is clean and boasts a modern appearance. I would come back, and enjoy myself again given that I am able to experience fresh sushi again. Something to note is that they also have a separate ala carte menu which, although we did not order from, looked quite appetising and included dessert, so it may be something I will try in future. Not bad for an unplanned food adventure.