Hey, I’m guessing you’re as much of a Japanese food lover as I am. In this post, I will share my experience and review one of my favourite sushi trains in Sydney – Sushi Hotaru.

Sushi train has become a part of my weekly tradition as a Sydneysider. I used to work on George Street, not too far from The Galeries, where Sushi Hotaru is located. Every lunchtime, I walk across the busiest street in Sydney and enjoy an hour of satisfying fresh seafood feast.

Sushi Hotaru sits on top of The Galeries in the heart of Sydney CBD. Naturally, there are lots of foot traffic and it is one of the busiest areas for eateries on George Street.

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Sushi Hotaru

Address: 500 George St, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia (open on Google Map)

Service

This Japanese restaurant has a very systematic structure to keep everything organised. There’s a waitlist outside the door, where most customers are required to put their names down to get a number. Usually, the busiest time is lunchtime, where wait times could be up to 30 minutes.

Staff are busy but very attentive when called. They run super efficiently with the help of iPad orders. Chefs stand in the middle of the conveyor belt, preparing food that is made-to-order right in front of your eyes. Customers always get an enthusiastic ‘welcome’ and ‘thank you’ in Japanese, bringing that authentic cultural experience to every table.

Self-service takeaways are available at the front counter. Simply pick or order your food and pack them in the containers. Help yourselves with wasabi, napkins, chopsticks etc. and pay at the counter.

Sushi trains are not the most baby-friendly places to bring infants, but when one of the staff saw me with a baby, they kindly reserved the seat next to me to allow extra room. It’s the small gesture of kindness and consideration like this, that keeps me a loyal customer to Sushi Hotaru for years.

Sushi Hotaru Conveyor Belt Sushi Train in Sydney Review
Watch your food being made

© Photos by Kida


Pricing

While most other sushi trains have colour coded plates, Sushi Hotaru has a set price of $3.90 for everything on the belt, including hand rolls. We all know Japanese food is known for its small portions, so I love this pricing scheme where I don’t have to calculate the bill subconsciously all the time.

In my opinion, it’s one of the most affordable Japanese restaurants considering the variety you get for the same amount of dollars elsewhere.


Food

Food safety is a major concern when it comes to raw seafood. At Sushi Hotaru, all the plates on the conveyor belt go through a UV lamp to sterilise the food. I have never had a problem with the freshness of their seafood.

There is an abundance of selections to choose from. What I love the most is some of the seafood here are not commonly found in other sushi trains, such as sea urchin and scampi, two of my favourites.

Both authentic Japanese alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks are widely available. Yummy desserts are within reach for the sweet tooth, and they often have their own specials.

Water, ginger and wasabi are free of charge.

© Photos by Kida


Facilities

Like many Japanese restaurants, this sushi train is jam-packed with customers sitting almost shoulder to shoulder. Some people don’t mind that though. Who knows, you might just meet someone and spark a conversation!

Small tables are available for groups at the back of the restaurant, but they’re usually full. You can always ask and request to be seated at the table, but to be honest, they’re not that much more comfortable.

This special sushi train is one of the few places where you can get all the services from an iPad. Each iPad serves two tables, so make sure you select the correct table number. They offer three language options and the ability to modify your orders. You can call staff right from your fingertips.

Sushi Hotaru iPad Menu Technology Best Sushi Train Sydney Review
iPad Menu

© Photos by Kida

As perfect as Sushi Hotaru is, there’s no bathroom inside the restaurant. The nearest public bathroom is located around the back of the restaurant, which can be pretty busy during peak times.


Count your Victories!

It’s a great centrally located place to de-stress after a tough day or recharge after a workout. However, it’s super easy to get carried away and eat more than you need.

With almost everything at a set price and fresh seafood rotating in front of your eyes, here are my top 2 tips to keep your wallet afloat.

Hot Tip

  • Unless you’re going for the challenge of ‘who can build a taller tower’, a tip is to pile up the empty plates and stop tapping away on the iPad when the plates are starting to block your view.
  • If you’re waiting on made-to-order food, don’t browse the menu just because there’s nothing better to do. Let your appetite settle before ordering more. I know, it’s hard!
Sushi Hotaru Plates Best Sushi Train in Sydney Review
Beat me!

© Photos by Kida

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