Aisuru Sushi along William Street is fast becoming a popular eatery with long queues on the weekends for inside seating. With its large glass windows, Aisuru looks and feels very polished, signs of a restaurant that is both hip and modern. Last Friday, my workmates and I decided to try it out as it has been very well mentioned on both the internet and by word of mouth. Stepping in to the restaurant, we were presented with a choice of waiting for 20 minutes for an inside seat, or an immediate sitting outside. What strike immediately me was the missing feel which I would normally get in an authentic Japanese restaurant. But what does it matter? Nowadays, chefs with culinary skills of a different culture is becoming increasingly common.
Seated outside, we were soon told that we had to go in and place our order before paying on the spot. It was not the best type of service but we kindly oblige. Also, the waitress seems stingy on the menu, giving us only 2 to share among the four of us. I really did not know paper was that hard to print. Nonetheless, after looking through the menu, we ordered a few dishes to share.
The first dish to reach the table was the Caterpillar Roll
The Caterpillar is essentially an Unagi roll with flying fish roe, avocadoes with a dash of soy and a mayonnaise. The rice was good on this one, but when one calls Unagi, he expect to taste it. Unfortunately, the Unagi was minimal in this sushi leaving the taste job to the soy and mayonnaise which is naturally an already good condiment? My take? I wouldn’t have paid $10 for 4 pieces. RIP OFF.
Next came my workmate’s choice for us to share, the torched scallop roll
In this roll, it was hard to fault the scallops and the rice, but what disappointed was the avocados which could have been more ripe as it left my palate with a hint of rawness. Nonetheless, the sweetness of the torched scallop mellowed well with the rest of the element for a tasty bite. Perhaps more attention to detail the next time! For $11 bucks.. I shall not comment.
What we had next was the winner for the night. One which truly satisfies.
The black velvet for me was a nice reinterpretation of luxury rolls. With tuna, Tamago, caviar and a tempura prawn running through the rice, it was spot on. Spicy mayonnaise was decadent and avocado good. All in all, this tiny morsel of food was so yummy we regretted not ordering a full serve. $12 for 4 pieces.
The next roll was the Dynamite Roll. The roll had teriyaki chicken, tamago and avocado with hot sauce. The chicken while not being as moist and well cooked as Kanta, was helped by the sauce which left my tongue wondering what in the world was this sauce made of. It did not feel like your usual spicy sauce. In fact, it did not taste Japanese unless it was one that has skipped my taste buds. Over all, this was pretty OK!
The next roll was one that I chose, the Plum Flower Roll which is $9 for 4 pieces.
Let me ask all of you, what is wrong with the food in this picture? Holy jesus. Please do not open a Sushi Shop when you intend to serve me something like that. While the sushi on the left was ACCEPTABLE, what the HELL are those three on the Right? It’s like a scene so obscene where anyone can call themselves a chef because money is too easy to earn in this city of iron. Sticky, gluggly, overcooked, broken. This was crap beyond belief. Any sushi chef who rolled this would have known that he had messed it up. To serve it? I shall rest my case now.
What astounded the table the most was the pricy appetizers that came at a very inappropriate timing.
For our appetizers which came after 4 serves of sushi, the tempura popcorn @ $9.50
This is definitely one of the highlights of the night without a doubt, it felt buttery and within each bite is that lovely burst of corn flavour. This one of the better things that night.
Next was the spicy shrimp @ $15 for 5 pieces.
Yes these are prawns and typically, the Australian “King Prawn” size which are about the 1/3 the size of the king prawns in Malaysia. Nonetheless, 5 prawns for $15 is such a slaughter. It’s battered, it’s fried and yes it’s been drizzled with decent sauce, but seriously? Just last week I had a meal at Tsunami, Mosman Park where 10 prawns and 1 soft shell crab all deep fried with a drizzle of spicy mayonnaise had only costed us something like $19 bucks. This I am not lying! In an atmosphere that was almost romantic only to be destroyed by our youthful bunch, Tsunami @ Mosman Park puts Aisuru to shame. This is no lie, just check this link out to Tsunami’s Menu.
Another thing we ordered was the soft shell crab salad.
Unlike what I had at Bonzai, this is something anyone could easily do. Fry the crab, pull out a bag of salad and magic. That is $19 saved. This was nowhere near what I expected as I have always been impressed at how the Japanese make me eat my vegetables. At Bonzai, there was innovation and that concoction of mayonnaise, and that other sauce they used really created a chemistry that I appreciate. The wanton skins itself in the Crispy Chicken Salad at Bonzai also brings the salad to a whole new level. This salad at Aisuru in contrast is just depressing. $19.
At the end of the meal I had 6 pieces of sushi, 1 prawn, a few popcorn tempura and some salad with 1/4 soft shell crab. My bill for the night was $28. Feeling hungry, I left to Koko Black for some dessert before meeting up with some lads at the Imp for more drinks. How would you feel? Seriously, is this a sign of how things are about to unfold for the food scene in Perth? Sometimes, eating in these mediocre restaurants make fine dining feel cheap. To be honest, I did not feel that way when I was there before. Perhaps it was the friends that made it a whole lot enjoyable. However, reflecting on my meal there last week, I should have been a whole lot unhappier. I rarely dish out negative reviews but this is really a put off. Mediocre food, poor service and an expensive price tag. Sick. Perhaps now I better understand the look on my colleagues face when she ask me whether I would return.