We were hanging out in Chatswood with a couple of friends of ours when we decided it was time for dinner. We decided on sushi at Makoto as it was a safe option for my friend who has coeliac disease.
Upon arrival, the staff were very friendly and we were quickly seated. The sushi belt was impressive and there were plenty of staff behind the counter so everything looked good, despite the harsh lighting.
When it all started to go wrong was when we heard the kitchen-staff talking to each other in Korean and mocking the way that Japanese sushi restaurants enthusiastically greet new customers.
The rice used for the sushi was gluggy and lacked seasoning. I watched as the cooks took the steaming, hot rice straight out of the cooker without any cooling whatsoever and whacked it directly onto the sushi!
I was looking forward to the Eel (one of my favourites) and it looked alright here so I grabbed one. The eel was fishy and rather sweet. I suspect they don’t use the best eel so they try to cover it up with extra marinade. All this does is give the eel a kind of slimy texture that leaves a trail all the way down your throat. Not the most pleasant experiences I’ve had.
The Prawn Tempura was ok. To be fair, it’s pretty hard to mess this up. The prawns were decently sized and I liked the visual effect of the seaweed flakes on the mayo. The short tails made the last little bit of prawn hard to get to.
The Nasu Roll was an option that I have not seen before so I thought that this might be what set Makoto apart from everywhere else. I was sorely disappointed. The eggplant was overcooked to the point of mushiness and was too salty. It was hard to tell it was actually eggplant. With the mushy rice, the only redeeming feature of this sushi was the crispy seaweed.
The Lobster Roll just did not taste fresh at all. The flavour was just a little bit off, enough to make you think the lobster” was not fresh. The texture was ok but this was not the best I’ve ever had.
It was at about this time that we asked the service staff for a second cup of water and more sushi. The waiter wrote it all down, confirmed with us, then disappeared into the ether. The sushi came quickly but the water never did. It seems to Makoto, if there’s no profit in it, it’s not worth doing.
The Avocado Maki came out small but they gave you 6 pieces (we ate 2 before this photo). Without the seasoning in the mushy rice, there was not much to redeem this roll. The avocado was ok but lacked any real texture or flavour which really let this roll down.
The Seaweed Roll was alright but nothing to write home about. There was just an overall lack of texture in the roll however it was nice to see the seaweed was fresh, not frozen.
I expected a lot from the Soft-Shell Crab Roll, especially if Sushi Hub in Wintergarden, Wynyard is anything to go by. In this case, there was not much soft-shell crab and the little I did taste lacked any sort of crunch or flavour. I think I’ll be going back to Sushi Hub for my soft-shell crab sushi fix.
Another unusual vegan option we tried was the Mushroom Inari. To be honest, we weren’t expecting much from this dish after what we experienced so far. It was an odd combination to have rubbery mushroom with mushy rice and soft tofu skin. I don’t think I’d order this one again.
The Aburi Ebi Nigiri sushi was actually quite nice. The crunchy garnishes and sauce matched the well-cooked prawn perfectly. It was over too soon!
To round of the meal, we each had a Vegetable Tempura Hand Roll. This was very oily and not much else. I found that the oiliness of the vegetable tempura overpowered any texture or flavour offered by the veggies. The rice and seaweed did little to cut the oil. A really disappointing finish to a less than average meal.
On a side note, our friend ordered the Chashu Ramen. The feedback was that it was “alright” but not much was said of the dish afterwards. He seemed satisfied enough from it.
This was not the best sushi train I’ve been to and the quality of the dishes was disappointing. I would recommend checking out Hotaru in The Galleries, Town Hall for quality sushi or Takumi in Market City, Haymarket for the best value sushi for money. For $46, I couldn’t help but feel Makoto lacked in both aspects. I think moving forward, I’ll continue to walk past Makoto without a second look.
Payment: Cash and cards accepted