Nothing pleases me more than eating good food. Nothing. The effects of a good meal far outweigh the effects of the calories ingested with it. So when my number one son (as in the first one – not because I think he’s superior to my other son, that would be favouritism and against my Communist values) asked if he could take me out to lunch, I said absolutely. Even though he is a teenager, I knew that he had been through the kitchen nightmare that is Grazza’s apprentice and therefore knows that to offer me a poor dish is to be struck from the will.
He chose Sushi Train. Now after a few years of snacking on this and that, I have come to learn that there is Sushi, and then there is Sushi. I had heard good things about this little place in the back of Redcliffe – which let’s be honest, is really backwater country if it’s the “back of Redcliffe”! So we journeyed on. Well, he drove and I glanced furtively for anything he might run into. He’s on his ‘L’s.
Arriving at our destination, unscathed, we locked the car and thinking that it may be the last time we ever saw it again, gave it a loving pat as one would a faithful steed outside a bar before walking through the batwing doors. We walked through two glass sliding doors to a tiny café with wooden stools placed around the central counter, upon which, ran a French diesel train pulling at least ten carriages laden with ricey goodness.
We made up the last two of the eight patrons there at the time, although by the time we had finished, they had a waiting list. Sadly for those waiting, there was no bar to languish by and the closest thing to standing room, was the alley way outside. Never mind, I didn’t care, and neither did my offspring as we chopsticked our way through 11 plates of deliciousness.
I started with an inside out sushi roll with avocado, cream cheese and chicken all rolled in sesame seeds. Now, you know that sometimes you can have sushi and it’s as dry as a nun’s nasty and you spend the thirty seconds after the first mouthful trying to scrape it off the roof of your mouth? Yeah, this was nothing like that! For starters, you could see the sushi rice being made fresh – as with all Sushi Trains – but the sushi on the train was rotated regularly so it wasn’t sitting there for more than 3 go-rounds of the train.
My joy was increased when a giant plate full of chicken karage came around, steaming hot. It was made the right way, with just a slight brushing of breadcrumbs on the outside and deep fried to perfection. It wasn’t tortured to death by drowning in a hard paste of concrete breadcrumb mixture then fried so hard that you break a tooth chewing it up. [Note – It could have been quite embarrassing for my boy to have his mother break into a sweat of ecstasy over some chook, if he was not doing the same. We’re like that in our family. It’s everyone or no-one.]
After eight dishes of rice with pork, rice with chicken, rice with tempura vegetables, we decided to forgo the rice and just choose the huge plate of tempura vegetables. Bliss. Sometimes, I’ve found that tempura vegetables can be limp and oily. Much like an old man after a happy ending massage. This happens when the oil isn’t hot enough and it softens the batter and the vegetables instead of just crisping up the tempura batter. If you have properly iced your batter and have your oil at the correct temperature, your tempura should come out crisp and golden, and the vegetable inside should be hot and al dente. Not at all like an old man after said massage.
By this time, we were pretty full. The son asked if I wanted another one and I said that I might see what comes by. My final undoing was what I like to call – the monster. The monster came along on the train, seemingly innocuous. It initially slipped past my notice until it held up a big red flag saying “I bet you can’t eat me”. Well, nothing pleases me more than food, we’ve established that, except for food throwing down a challenge. Just before it moved out of my reach, I grabbed that plate of rice monstrosity and I made it mine. It was about three times bigger than a normal sushi slice, and there were two of them! They were filled with rice, avocado and teriyaki pork, then wrapped in a very thin crepe and lovingly drizzled with Kewpie mayonnaise. Aooohhhhhhh the stuff of Gods.
After that, I was done. And the monster had done it to me, but I wasn’t going to tell it that! Since it was his shout, my son paid the dues – we offered money but the Japanese chef wanted to take him out the back and flog him, so we went with that.
And, to top it off, we walked outside into the bright light of day, and our car still had all its tyres!