Monday, May 9, 2011

Sushi Train

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.

They were so upset when we asked them for a chorus of 'Sabotage'.

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The Hilton is supposed to be fancy, but it is daggy and outdated; a little like Adelaide itself.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.

Stupid hordes.

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.

Or tentacles.

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.
On another site, this photo would pay for our meal.

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’.

I'd want to choke a Treasurer here too.

* This was one of the available dishes.
** Except for Dougie and Mele.


  1. Apricot chicken is daggy? Someone needs to inform ben.

  2. Mele, I'm with Sam - you'd have me at the word 'sushi' and yet I'm not sure why or who or what makes great sushi compared to OK sushi.

    Hilltop hoods at the (yes, very daggy) Hilton? Don't they come from Adelaide and if so, why aren't they at their mums'?? (perhaps their mothers' homes aren't daggy and homely enough?)

  3. Dan - We've already told Ben.
    A couple of times ...

    Kath - Su-SHI! Su-SHI! Su-SHI!

    I maintain that the Hoods were just drinking at the Hilton, instead of just staying there. Maybe the Crown'n'Anchor wasn't open yet ...


An explanation of The Joy Division Litmus Test

Although it may now be lost in the mysts of thyme, the poll below is still relevant to this blog. In the winter of 2008, Mele and I went to live in Queensland. In order to survive, I bluffed my way into a job at a Coffee Club.
It was quite a reasonable place to work: the hours were regular, the staff were quite nice, it wasn't particularly taxing on my brain.
There were a few downsides: In the six weeks or so that I worked there, there was about a 90% staff turnover (contributed to by my leaving). This wasn't seen as a result of the low pay, the laughability of staff prices or the practice of not distributing tips to staff, rather it was blamed on the lack of work ethic among Bribie Island's youth.
However, one of the stranger aspects of the cultural isolation that touched our lives during our time "up there" was the fact that nobody at my work had heard of the band Joy Division.
The full explanation is available here.
But please, interact a little further and vote in my ongoing poll. The results are slowly mounting up, proving one thing: people read this blog are more well-informed about Joy Division than anyone who works at the Coffee Club on Bribie Island.

Have you heard of the band Joy Division?

Chinese food, not Chinese Internet!

Champions of Guess The Header

  • What is Guess The Header about? Let’s ask regular “Writing” reader, Shippy: "Anyway, after Franzy's stunning September, and having a crack at 'Guess The Header' for the first time - without truly knowing what I was doing mind you - I think I finally understand what 'GTH' is all about. At first I thought you needed to actually know what it was. Don't get me wrong — if you know what it is, it may help you. I now realise that it's more Franzy's way of invoking thought around an image or, more often than not, part of an image. If you dissect slightly the GTH explanatory sentence at the bottom of his blog you come up with this: “The photo is always taken by me and always connects in some way to the topic of the blog entry it heads up.” When the header is put up, the blog below it will in some obscure way have something to do with it. “Interesting comments are judged and scored arbitrarily and the process is open to corruption and bribery with all correspondence being entered into after the fact and on into eternity, ad infinitum amen.” Franzy judges it, but it's not always the GTH that describes the place perfectly that gets it. “The frequent commenters, the wits, the wags and the outright smartarses who, each entry, engage to both guess the origin and relevance of the strip of photo at the top (or “head”) of each new blog and also who leave what I deem the most interesting comment.” It generally helps if you're a complete smartarse and can twist things to mean whatever you feel they should mean - exactly the way Franzy would like things to be twisted." - Shippy Blogger and GTH point scorer.
  • Nai - 1
  • Lion Kinsman - 2
  • Will - 2
  • Brocky - 2
  • Andy Pants - 2
  • The 327th Male - 3
  • Mad Cat Lady - 3
  • Miles McClagen - 4
  • Myninjacockle - 4
  • Asheligh - 5
  • Neil - 5
  • Third Cat - 5
  • Adam Y - 6
  • Squib - 6
  • Mele - 6
  • Moifey - 7
  • Jono - 8
  • The Other, other Sam - 14
  • Kath Lockett - 15
  • Shippy - 19
  • River - 32