Anyone who’s been to Japan knows there’s nothing better than a proper Kaiten-zushi train restaurant. The lights, the interactive games, those little slots where you drop your plates. The way your salmon nigiri whizzes out to you at breakneck speed. Before you know it you’re 10 plates deep and are heading back to the beer robot for a refill. The whole thing is just great fun.
There aren’t a heap of places in Melbourne running Kaiten-zushi (or ‘conveyor belt’ sushi as it’s known), but we’ve tracked down the best. All aboard! These are Melbourne’s best sushi trains.
The newest train conductor on the block, Emporium’s Tetsujin boasts a bright, industrial space with unparalleled views of Melbourne’s skyline. iPads (and extremely sick neon-lit train handles), accompany every table. Choose from the rolling selection of fresh sushi, or if you’re an impatient eater, have your favourites delivered straight to your station, along with a great selection of wines and beers. To make sure you walk away as plump as their tuna rolls, hot dishes (like the to-die-for juicy gyoza) are also available.
Recently opened Sushi Hon slings contemporary Japanese sushi for Melburnians looking to up their sushi train game. Think grilled scallops with seafood stick ‘n avo, or crispy chicken with mayo and mustard sauce… delish! A compact, industrial space in Melbourne’s Emporium, brace for hungry, salmon-deprived lines at peak hour.
A sushi train institution in Melbourne, Sakura Kaiten has been operating out of a hole-in-the-wall for years. Home to some of the best-grilled scallop nigiri and fresh sashimi in Melbourne, Sakura Kaiten boasts upmarket, first-class sushi that will get your tastebuds tooting! The compact space features sci-fi wall art, polished timber benches and sleek black finishes. But let’s be honest, you won’t really be paying attention to anything un-sushi related.
The interior of Sushi Hotaru might not be much to look at, but with $3 sushi plates every day there’s hardly reason to complain. Simple, fresh dishes is the script here, with lobster salad gunkan, spicy seared salmon nigiri and soft shell crab rolls among the top picks. Classic side dishes (like edamame beans—a dish of marinated soy beans) are the ideal snack... in-between sushi face stuffing, that is.
A relatively new addition to the Swanston St strip, popping up between Flinders Ln and Collins St. The interior is a step up from your average sushi train dive bar, and the trains come thick and fast, loaded down with spicy tuna Maki rolls, mushroom inari, salmon dragon nigiri (now with extra dragon) and assorted seaweed salads. Our pick is the soft shell crab roll. You’ll be lucky to snag one off the train—they tend not to hang about.
Hungry for more? Check out our list of Melbourne’s best sushi.
Image credit: Jenna Fahey-White