It's been years and I do mean years since Rose, Ronald and I visited Kobe Jones. When it first arrived on the scene many moons ago in 2003, the sushi was an instant hit with Sydney siders and the Volcano Roll and Number 1 special were items that we craved. Then other restaurants opened doing similar things and we moved on, urged by reported shrinking portion sizes and the fact that Sydney siders are spoilt for choice and we love the next, new shiny thing.
One thing that lured us back was the $25 all you can eat sushi lunch special making the rounds. For $25 you could have a platter including the famous volcano roll and an assortment of sushi. Only available on Monday to Friday for lunch it sounded almost too good to be true. So on a sunny Friday we find ourselves circling around Kobe Jones looking for a park which proves a fruitless task. There are only 4 car spaces on Lime Street that aren't loading zones so if you find yourselves in the same situation as us, parking is available at the nearby Secure Parking at a special rate of $10 (much better than the $35 we would have been charged otherwise).
The restaurant is very busy (perhaps as it's a Friday afternoon lunchtime). Two waitresses in black and white dresses frantically rush around the floor covering the whole restaurant. They're rushed off their feet and we feel rather sorry for them. One rushes past and then stops to take our order rather breathlessly. 15 minutes later, our platter comes out. It's certainly impressive looking with a range of rolls with different colour roe sprinkled on top, some nigiri and in the centre, the famous Volcano roll.
Volcano roll (normally $28 for a what we remember to be a larger portion)
The Volcano Roll features oven baked scallops layered on a crab salad and avocado roll with Kobe's special cream sauce and a sesame seed and shallot sprinkle. I remember this when we first tried it so many years ago and how much we loved the warm, thick and creamy sauce. It tastes like I remember it and the scallop pieces on this are quite generous. The serving is a little smaller than I recall although from looking around at the other tables, our Volcano Roll for 4 is the same size for Volcano Rolls on platters for 2 people.
Crunchy Roll Tempura prawn with crab salad and cucumber layered with smelt roe and tempura flakes $22
The sushi selection that accompanies the Volcano Roll changes according day by day and today we are lucky to get some of the better rolls. The Crunchy Roll is the table's favourite. The crunchy tempura crumbs and lightly tempura'd prawns provide a contrast between the crunchy and the soft. I make my usual mix of mayo and soy and dip this in.
Spider Roll Soft shell crab with crab salad cucumber and smelt roe sprinkle $24
Rose loves the Spider Roll which is filled with soft shell crab with crab salad, cucumber and smelt roe sprinkle. I don't particularly love the "crab salad" which is more seafood extender than crab.
Dynamite Roll Spicy Tuna and Cucmber $16
My favourite roll was the Dynamite Roll with pieces of tender raw tuna and a smear of chili sauce and matchstick thin cucumber batons. There is a sprinkle of chili flakes on our second serve of this but yellow roe on our first serve.
Caterpillar Roll $22 Unagi, crab salad, cucumber with avocado $22
This was a rich combination and good although again I'm not a huge fan of seafood extender salad masquerading as crab salad.
Nigiri Kingfish, Salmon and Tuna normally $4.50 each
The nirigi sadly has seen better times. the first lot appears dry. When our waitress whizzes past us and asks us whether we'd like another platter we nod yes but this time we get to choose which ones we want and the second lot of tuna nirigi upon closer inspection appears to have hairs on it. Of course they're not actual hairs but blood vessels from where the tuna is taken from the back of the tuna. From speaking to people in the industry, this cut of tuna is perfectly good to eat but many say that they would not have used that particular cut for sushi nigiri where the blood vessel's appearance is so apparrent. Ingesting hair happens to be one of my worst nightmares so I have to agree, whilst it tasted fine, it didn't look very appealing. Taste wise the nigiri is not as melt in the mouth as sashimi I've had. In fact the kingfish is chewy and reminds me of raw squid which is disconcerting.
Tuna nigiri with blood vessels
We can barely finish the second platter and we resort to eating the centres and leaving the rice. Wasteful we know but our eyes were bigger than our stomachs.
So tell me Dear Reader, what is your favourite sushi?
29 Lime St, Sydney NSW
Tel: +61 (02) 9299 5290
Open: 7 days
3 points earned per dollar spent for Qantas Frequent Flyer members
$10 parking available at Secure Parking. Have your ticket stamped at Kobe Jones and then proceed to B4 at the parking station to get the extra tickets to exit the parking lot.