four gracious plants, fourteen gracious plates

Still in Sydney, and L was insisting I try out one of her Japanese sushi recommendations out Chatswood way. I wasn’t going to argue – I love Japanese food, and it’d been a long time since I got my sushi or sashimi fix.

Sagunja placemat

We had the choice of two places, but I decided that Sagunja would be more than adequate for me. On the placemat, it says sagunja ‘means the four gracious plants (plum, orchid, chrysanthemum and bamboo – that captured the hearts of the noble intellectuals) which are the foundation and true nature of the Eastern fine arts. I found that very poetic but the sushi chef kitty is also pretty cute.

Sagunja is a sushi train restaurant, and for this reason, I was initially worried only because the morsels passing by on the conveyor belt were very likely to induce me to commit the gustatory sin that is indulgence. In fact, L and I amassed fourteen empty plates at the end of our sitting and somewhere around the very tail end of the lunch rush, we were politely asked to vacate! Here are some of the highlights we were able to nom on. Flame-grilled salmon sushi. I liked how small their sushi was generally, as sometimes the glutinous rice is a little too filling for me. The chefs used actual butane cans for flame grilling each piece of sushi before placing them on the belt for consumption.

flame-grilled salmon sushi

I couldn’t go past some of the more traditional items like tuna sushi, salmon sashimi and some intricate variations of California rolls. Again, not too stodgy as they used very small amounts of rice. Kept them light and flavoursome. Next photograph has an example of standard sashimi, but look at the seaweed gently spliced into the sushi, and the colourful take on the California rolls coated in roe.

more Sagunja sushi train items

Lastly, some glazed flame-grilled salmon sushi, flame-grilled scallop sushi, and maki roll topped with seaweed and glass noodles. The texture of the latter was just divine!

Sagunja sushi train

I found the prices very reasonable here and there seemed to be lots of Japanese folks coming in and arranging their own takeaway lunchboxes straight off the train. Despite there being so much staff, it wasn’t always easy to find out what a particular dish was – we did eat a couple that looked good or interesting, but we weren’t fully sure what they were exactly. However, this place easily kicks arse over any sushi train place I’ve ever been to in Melbourne. Everything is so delicately prepared. If you’d like to see more photos of what was eaten, you can find them in my Sydney Flickr set.

Sagunja on Urbanspoon

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