Attendees: Mele, Sam, Triton, Tess, Dougie, Cristi
Mele - The Gouger Street Sushi Train takes no bookings and no prisoners. It does give numbers, though. Our quick-thinking, clever friend Tess took one (number 96!) and we popped around the corner to a bar instead of waiting it out with the 20 (yes, twenty) people in front of The Train. Sam and I joined our fellow diners Dougie, Triton and Tess at the Hilton lounge, a venue that provided much entertainment:
The Hilltop Hoods being incredibly un-Hilltop and being at the Hilton. I stared at them for ages, thinking they were the Beastie Boys. I mean, come on, there’s only so many ‘Old white rappers’ I can remember. Sam and Triton papped them for the blog.
A school formal with hordes of teenage girls posing endlessly for photos. Dougie and Tess did a Statler and Waldorf with a running commentary from the balcony seats.
The Hilton is supposed to be fancy, but it is daggy and outdated; a little like Adelaide itself. The foyer is a time-capsule from the mid-eighties. Most of the clientele are the flotsam and jetsam of the night, stragglers whiling away the time (like us). There’s no old money in the bar; it’s even a bit of stretch to say that the clientele are new money (come on, it’s The Hoods).
Right, back to the business of Sushi Train, which is so rock star popular that The Hoods don’t even know about it. An hour after being issued a ticket, Tess hustled her way in and we crammed into a small booth. It was so small that I was literally forced to hug Dougie to stay in it.
Dearest blog readers, l pose a controversial question: is the Sushi Train a novelty restaurant? Should it go (excellent food notwithstanding) the daggy way of apricot chicken and the Hilton? While I loved the food, I didn’t feel comfortable or relaxed in its claustrophobic environment; it was like eating in a mosh pit, with everyone trying to push closer to the stage.
Is Sushi Train worth waiting hours for?
I’d say yes, but just barely. I know that Sam’s review will be much more glowing, but when he hears the word ‘sushi’ he throws the ‘critique’ part of reviewing out the window, much like David Stratton reviewing animation. I can’t be a saucy-minx like Margaret Pomerantz on this one and chuckle huskily that it was ‘a bit of fun’. I’m going to be David savaging a Kate Hudson rom-com and mark the place down on atmosphere.
Say it with me now: Su-shi! Su-shi! Su-shi! You’re a great crowd. Thanks for coming out.
Mele is right. There is nothing bad I can say about sushi.
When it’s slowly coasting past me on enticing little platters, there’s nothing I can do to resist. I’ll even go so far as to say that I’ve actually had better sushi, but not so far as to claim that I know what makes good sushi good and so-so sushi so so-so.
Still with me? No? Maybe I’m a little high on iodine.
I’ll carry on the Movie Show vibe and put my best Margaret growl for the rest of this review:
Oh David! Atmosphere is what The Train is all about! You’re supposed to stand at the door with an elbow ready for queue-jumper’s ribcage*! The bright lights and fire and Engrish is why people go to sushi restaurants! Nobody expects to go to an eatery with the words ‘sushi’ and ‘train’ in the title to experience something quiet and intimate**!
*Cue equine cackle*
But enough of Margaret.
Sushi Train is, however, mostly atmosphere. Once the last slice of swordfish had been devoured (by me) and the waitress was tallying up our plates, there were no lasting loves. Everything was good, nothing was great. Nothing induced fugu poisoning either, so the place was a resounding success measured on those levels.
The Sushi Train is a great place to go if you want a cheery night, good times and questionable photos of your friends.
Good god, the photos of the bar we went to afterwards is another thing altogether. In Tess’s words, this monostrosity was so uncool it was ‘the pure opposite of Melbourne’.
* This was one of the available dishes.
** Except for Dougie and Mele.