Although Alissa and I have been living in the Bateman for almost two years, we have been slow to explore the suburban restaurants of Willetton. Perhaps owing to the close proximity of our regular local favourites Kai and Kitchen Inn combined with the fast food chain-centric nature of the shopping centre precinct but, Alissa and I rarely crossed Karel Ave until recently realising just how close Southlands really is. One of the instigators for this recent branching out was chasing down a lead we were given by a diner we met at Formosa Vegetarian Eating House in Kardinya, who strongly recommended that we try a Japanese restaurant in the Southlands complex called Silver Sushi.
Not sure what to expect, we were surprised to find a modern and surprisingly spacious interior, filled with ample tables and nice comfortable chairs - a far cry from the often crowded and slight ramshackle appearance of our beloved Kai.
The menu was surprisingly extensive, with a main fold over menu and two additional specials cards. While some of the bowls looked very appetising, we decided to go with a selection of their sushi with some sides since their Uramaki rolls looks particularly impressive, and our source specifically recommended them. First to the table was the Uramaki Spicy Tuna Roll, served here with raw tuna instead of the cooked tuna more commonly served in lower level sushi joints. The first thing we noted was how huge the serving size was - the photo above does not do justice to how large the maki pieces were. I've always though Uramaki defies logic by putting the seaweed wrapper on the inside, however the rice was cooked perfectly here, striking a perfect balance between being cohesive enough to hold together without being an overly starchy mess. The tuna wrapped within was nice and fresh, and its soft texture and flavour was well matched with a generous quantity of equally fresh avocado. The Japanese 7 spice on top was a welcome touch, although the spicy mayonnaise quantity could possibly have been upped a bit - like the ridiculous quantities we were served at the similarly Maki-centric Koh Grill & Sushi in Singapore.
We ordered the Shime Saba Nigiri from one of the specials cards, being vinegar and salt cured mackerel artfully topped with finely mince ginger and thinly sliced spring onion. As with the Uramaki that preceded it, the rice was cooked perfectly, and we really enjoyed the good ginger hit. The real star though of course was the nice and delicate pickled mackerel, which had a pleasing sourness due to the pickling and a surprising juiciness for what can be a very dry fish. This would definitely be a repeat order, and would make a good side to share along with two mains.
The Agedashi Tofu was also one of our source's recommendations, however I have to say that I found it to be a bit of a disappointment. When I order Agedashi, I really want an extremely soft, silken tofu - the kind that is so soft you question how the chef was able to even hold it together when frying it. The type used here was more like regular soft tofu, and as such did not have the right flavour and texture. Thankfully, it was served with some decent if not incredible tempura vegetables that went nicely with the sauce, but even the sauce was not as umami as the best Agedashi Tofu I have eaten. Decent enough, but definitely not my favourite.
The Kani Cream Korokke fared better. Filled with corn and creamy crab meat (presumably, since that is the traditional filling, though it may well have been prawn instead), these were nice and crispy with a deliciously gooey interior, and served with a spicy marina-esque sauce. The frying itself was not quite as impressive as what we experience when we dined at Jun in the city, however these were more than fine examples of this Japanese croquette.
By this stage we knew that we had well and truly over-ordered, and yet we still had the Salmon Bloom Roll left to go. This Uramaki was ridiculously epic; to begin with, it was as large as the Spicy Tuna Roll, and somehow managed to be even more deluxe with its filling of tempura prawns, raw salmon, tobiko caviar and avocado. With so many different components and each piece being larger than a single mouthful, it was impossible to get a bite with all the components in. Instead, it was best to try and treat each bite as a different experience, sampling all the myriad facets bit by bit. And they were all uniformly excellent - the tempura prawns that were still warm from the frying when it was served, the freshness of the raw salmon, the popping richness of the tobiko and the return of that pleasingly creamy avocado and the skilfully cooked rice.
Finally, we had some Miso soup to wash the meal down. Ordered at the beginning, this was totally unnecessary given how much we ordered however this was a nice, well made miso soup that was thankfully not too salty.
The Verdict: Very Good
Silver Sushi was the second of the recommendations made to us by the diner from Formosa that we had followed up on, and as with the Fish Wings at Bateman Eating House, his recommendation again lead us to a pleasant surprise so close to home. I may not have loved everything, and I disagreed with him about the tofu, but the Uramaki and the Shime Saba Nigiri were far better than the average suburban Japanese, teetering towards Excellent but falling just a little shy of our next grade up. A word of advice however - do not underestimate the size of the Uramaki. Where a pack of sushi may not compare to a full bowl of rice and Teriyaki Chicken at other restaurants, the Uramaki here is definitely a main course size. Alissa and I will definitely be back, however we will probably get two Uramaki and a Nigiri plate to share instead - that'd be a more reasonable size order.