Eating in Sydney – Restaurant & Cafe Reviews

Sushi Hotaru – Sydney CBD, Japanese Restaurant Review

Sushi Hotaru - Sydney CBD

For a few months now, my work colleague had been telling me of this mythical Japanese restaurant, in Sydney’s CBD, where you could get plate after plate of fresh sushi for only $3 each. That’s right, $3 per plate. Bollocks! At first I didn’t believe him, but then he educated me on their unique business model where if you carry the 1 and round off the decimals, it actually does seem feasible.

Well the time eventually came last Friday, when we finally walked through the doors of Sushi Hotaru. And then promptly walked right back out to wait in line. Dammit! After what could be best described as a nightmare week at work, all I wanted was to stuff myself with delicious Sushi. But alas, I would have to wait another 20-25mins until our number was called.

Oh well, this gave me some time to admire the restaurant itself. Sushi Hotaru, located in The Galleries Victoria, houses one of the longest sushi trains I have ever set eyes upon. In fact, it can seat a total of 80 people! Wow. The interior of the restaurant is ultra modern and chic. It kinda reminded me of Sushi Rio on Sussex Street – which I later found to be owned by the same owners.

Once seated the Sushi ambush began…

Sushi Hotaru - Sydney CBD


It’s hard not to order gyoza. It’s just one of those beautifully simple starters that get the palette going. These ones didn’t disappoint as they packed plenty of juicy goodness.

Sushi Hotaru - Sydney CBD

Soft Shell Crab Hand Roll

Yummy! I absolutely love Soft Shell Crab, which you can probably gather once you notice three Soft Shell Crab dishes in this one review! The addition of the spicy mayo made this one all the more delicious.

Sushi Hotaru - Sydney CBD

Chicken Karaage

Another one of my must order dishes. Although, I have to admit that this one left me a little disappointed. It didn’t seem as fresh and juicy as the ones I’ve had at other restaurants. Shame, because I was really looking forward to it.

Sushi Hotaru - Sydney CBD

Lobster Salad Gunkan

This dish sounded a lot better than it tasted. Average at best.

Sushi Hotaru - Sydney CBD

Salmon Salad Gunkan

I’m a big BIG fan of salmon and I found this dish to be especially delicious! So fresh I could have eaten another 5 plates.

Sushi Hotaru - Sydney CBD

Clockwise from the top: Soft Shell Crab & Omlette Hand Roll, Squid Nigiri, Octopus Nigiri and Soft Shell Crab Salad

As I’ve mentioned before, I love Soft Shell Crab, so I found both the hand roll and salad to be beautifully tasty. It was my first time trying Octopus Nigiri and I didn’t mind it, although I do prefer the Squid instead. Apart from the above, we also had Grilled Salmon Nigiri, Grilled Scallop Nigiri and Scampi & Omlette Hand Roll, all of which were really tasty!

All in all I was quite happy with the quality of Sushi at Sushi Hotaru. It wasn’t mind-blowing great, but for the price you pay, it was definitely on the better side. Despite the 25min wait to get inside – which is expected at a popular restaurant – the service once seated was great also. All the staff were very attentive and friendly. Here are a few more photos of the buzzing interior.

Sushi Hotaru - Sydney CBD

Love the Japanese city backdrop on the wall. It creates a wonderful ambience that takes you right into the streets of Japan.

Sushi Hotaru - Sydney CBD

The rice rolling machine looked like a cool robot! :)

Sushi Hotaru - Sydney CBD

Count the empty plates… That’s right, we ate 18 plates of sushi between the two of us. Yikes! Ah well, it was Friday night after all, and one can always be excused for their misadventures on Friday nights :)

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  • Food 8/10
  • Ambience 8/10
  • Service 8/10
  • Value 9/10

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  1. Carmine says:

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on cheap. Regards

  2. Andrew Holt says:

    My wife and I go here often, but today one of the Chefs was unpacking some frozen Scampi and dropped one on the floor. He waited until he had emptied all of the box into the sink, then he bent down and picked up the one on the floor and threw it into the sink along with the others instead of throwing it into the bin. I don’t work in food service, but it’s the first rule isn’t it?…if food falls on the floor….throw it in the bin. It put us right off going again. We didn’t report it to the management, we just won’t go there again.

  3. Eating in Sydney says:

    Thanks for your comment, Andrew.

    You’re right, that is incredibly bad practice to do that! Hopefully it was a completely isolated case because it’s such a great place for sushi otherwise.

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