Monday, January 30, 2012

Sushi Express @ Citylink Mall

Time to debunk the myth about conveyor belt sushi - not every restaurant with a kaiten belt serves substandard, poorly prepared sushi. Not Sushi Express, at least.

Unlike many other sushi chains which originate from Japan, Sushi Express was brought in from Taiwan. Unlike other restaurants with confusing plate-to-colour price-matching systems, Sushi Express made it easier for customers by pricing everything at S$1.50++, from sushi to dessert items to canned drinks. But before you dismiss the quality and authenticity of the sushi the relatively new restaurant serves up, you've got to tuck into one of their freshly prepared sushi items before you cast your vote.

Therefore, to avoid jumping to conclusions just because my first visit there had been a pleasant surprise, I visited the restaurant not once, nor twice, but THRICE within a short span of 1 month.

My verdict? You have to try it to believe it.

The first burst of surprise came in the form of broiled salmon belly sushi (above), which I was lucky enough to nab just as the chef was placing a new batch onto the conveyor belt. By subjecting the fatty piece of salmon belly to light charring allowed the piece of fish to be glossed with a thin layer of oil, while the underside of the fish slice remained tender. Do grab them before they turn cold, though; the oily smell does get a little overbearing on cooling down.

Apart from the luscious servings of fresh salmon sashimi and sushi generously topped up by the chefs at regular intervals, one can look out for little deviations from the standard menu. On my third visit with the family, I singled out a plate of sweet beancurd skin stuffed with rice and topped with dried shrimp and corn bits. The bright red shrimp bits tasted like the BBQ pork jerky eaten during Chinese New Year, according to Dad, and went well with the sweet beancurd skin.

Another "chef's special" was the mini dons, which came in bowls approximately the size of your palm. I chose the white fish don, while Mum had the raw salmon don. The don came topped with fish, corn and fresh seasoned seaweed. Awesome burst of flavours in your mouth. The chefs were generous with the salmon in the salmon don, but do keep a lookout for those tiny fish bones.

On a side note, Sushi Express got the thumbs-up for their generosity - free flow of teabags, small sachets of wasabi that will never go stale, as well as pickled ginger.

Do look out for these gems which usually go unnoticed: -

Mango pudding

Lightly dusted mochi (also comes in green tea) - filled with sweet custard.

Lady's finger wrapped in sweet beancurd skin - a refreshing alternative

The chefs were efficient in terms of topping up the supply on the belt, as well as attending to queries from customers (on one particular visit, I witnessed a woman who repeatedly asked the chef what was in the sushi). I appreciated the attentiveness of the service crew there, who were always polite and efficient. Strangely, they reminded me fondly of the stellar service I received from the food outlets on my Taipei trip.

And I'm wondering if you'll be able to resist this all.

Reminder: The crowd burgeons during the weekends, especially dinner. As a measure to ensure that all customers get seats as soon as possible during peak hours, a 50-minute time limit is imposed upon getting seated. If the queue dies down before your time limit is up, you can continue dining. :)

Ambience: 4/5
Food: 4/5
Price: $ (depends on your appetite - I've seen a family of 3 devouring 50 plates)
Service: Poor/Satisfactory/Good/Excellent

Eat where:
Sushi Express
1 Raffles Link, #B1-23 Citylink Mall, Singapore
(Nearest MRT station: Esplanade)
Opening hours: 11am to 9.30pm
S$1.50++ per plate

P.S: this entire entry's photos have been captured using my 1-week-old Samsung Galaxy S2. My darling Canon 600D will return in the next entry.

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