Aisuru Sushi, Subiaco
My first Aisuru Sushi experience a long time ago wasn’t exactly a positive one. It may have been the high expectations with all the positive experiences many people have had, but my friend and I weren’t prepared to spend more money to fill up our bellies. We ended up going to Korean BBQ for a second dinner, when we went for the first time to the original Northbridge restaurant. A year had passed and I decided to give the second branch in Subiaco a go, as a special lunch with my boyfriend, before I was due to fly out to Seoul that afternoon.
Aisuru Sushi isn’t your average sushi bar. Their renowned sushis are almost a work of art. Their interesting mix of ingredients blend together to create delicate flavours. You’ll be wow-ed at pretty much anything on their large sushi menu. They also do an a la carte menu that ranges from teriyaki beef, to chicken karaage, to delicious fresh Japanese salads for starters (and more), as well as yakitori! Their Subiaco fit-out is similar to their Northbridge branch with the white walls, dark floors, blue fluorescent lighting, and an open dining space, which is gorgeous in my opinion – you don’t always need to fill spaces in a restaurant (especially in typical fast food Japanese restaurants) with more tables and chairs.
There wasn’t a huge wait for lunch, so we managed to get a table straight away amongst the other diners. We ordered straight away as my boyfriend had to get back to work in precisely 50 minutes. My boyfriend opted for the a la carte meal, as he is not a huge fan of sushi and he doesn’t eat seafood. As it was just me eating the sushi, I decided to pick two flavours in sampler portions (four pieces). I am a huge fan of sweet sauce with sushi so I couldn’t pass up on the special plum sauce that was featured in one of the sushis… yummmm!
My sister always raves about agedashi tofu… On and on and on about it. I had my first taste of agedashi tofu when my sister, brother-in-law and I went to Japan a month earlier in this almost-dodgy-but-totally-authentic restaurant in Shimbashi, Tokyo – no one spoke English, we could only refer to the menu by pointing at the pictures, and the first thing my sister said was “agedashi tofu” when we attempted to order (which they understood, of course). And oh my lord, it was some seriously good tofu. Now I order it every time I have Japanese, so when I saw it on the menu at Aisusu Sushi, I had to order it straight away.
This agedashi tofu was a single serve of golden brown deep fried tofu, served in a tentsuyu broth ($8.50). The tofu was crispy on top, and moist on the bottom after sitting in the sweet, sweet tentsuyu broth. The tofu itself was silky smooth – so good. The broth had dashi, mirin and sho-yu (Japanese soy sauce), which was sweet yet salty, the perfect flavour to go with the bland taste of the tofu. So darn delicious. I could drink the tentsuyu broth alone.
My Plum Flower Roll ($9) came out first, which had chicken teriyaki and avocado wrapped in nori and shari, wrapped again in tamago egg wrap, and drizzled with special plum sauce. It looked gorgeous with the plum sauce drizzled all over the tamago. I tucked straight into it and polished the plate off. Everything was so fresh. The rice was moist and held together with every bite. I absolutely love tamago. The sweetness in the egg coupled with the savoury flavours of the chicken teriyaki, was tender and delicious. All the flavours balanced out. Asian dishes do so well because of their fusion of sweet and savoury flavours, even if it’s their desserts as well – and this dish is a perfect example of those sweet and savoury flavours working together to create a party in my mouth.
Did I have to eat this?? How gorgeous does it look? This is Aisuru Sushi’s Spider Roll ($11.50), which has fried soft-shell crab, cucumber and lettuce, wrapped in nori and shari, topped with black sesame seeds and drizzled with wasabi mayonnaise. I foolishly overlooked the “wasabi mayonnaise” on the menu, as I stopped reading at “fried soft-shell crab”, so I received a mighty surprise when I had my first bite (as I can’t take chilli at all). Even though this sushi looks as if it’s some kind of sushi mutant, it tasted pretty amazing. The fried soft-shell crab was just perfect – soft, crunchy, moist, fleshy. The other components of the roll – lettuce and cucumber – had the right amount in there, so that the fried soft-shell crab was still the star of the roll. Whilst the cucumber and lettuce provided the extra crunchiness of the Spider Roll, the outside was lightly rolled (or even just gently sprinkled) in the black sesame seeds providing that gorgeous contrast against the white rice. And the wasabi mayonnaise? The wasabi was a little subtle, however I am still not a fan of wasabi, so I tried to scrape off as much as I could.
My boyfriend wanted something a bit more substantial (plus he’s a huge fan of beef teriyaki), but he decided to get something different this time. He had the Chicken Karaage dish which came with marinated and fried tender chicken thigh with spicy mayonnaise sauce, served with steamed rice, salad, and miso soup ($15.50). He didn’t enjoy it that much, saying that it was nothing special and not worth the $15.50 price tag. He stated he would rather go to Taka for a cheaper and better tasting meal. My boyfriend isn’t a huge fan of miso soup as well, but I love it, so I was more than happy to have his. The soup was okay. It had the usual salty taste, nothing much to rave about.
Aisuru Sushi is not for the average wallet, as it is priced more on the expensive side for Japanese food. The sushi is what Aisuru excels at – their ingredients are fresh and their flavour combinations are perfect. I wouldn’t go if you’re starving, however it would be a nice place to have some dinner before a show at Regal Theatre (just a few doors down), or a movie at Ace Cinemas next door, or for a special dinner date. I would recommend the sushi rather than the a la carte menu. Their service is friendly and attentive at times (unlike the first time I went in Northbridge, the waitress asked us if we were ready to order literally – no joke – every 30 seconds, and after the 6th time, no one came for 15 minutes…). However there was somewhat of a language barrier as well, and they were quite keen to take my plate away when I was clearly still eating, which is what people have been complaining about according to reviews on Urbanspoon. I think Aisuru Sushi is a wonderful addition to Subiaco as I find there is a lack of decent restaurants in the area. I would visit again but not all the time as I find paying more than $10 for four slices of sushi is more than what I am prepared to pay. However it’s a nice place if you want to impress someone special, or to take some visitors to Perth and show them a different side to Japanese cuisine.
Rating: 6.5 out of 10
Address: 480 Hay Street, Subiaco WA 6008
- Aisuru Sushi in Subiaco is open every day for lunch at 12pm until 2:30pm, and for dinner from 5:30pm until 9pm, except Friday and Saturdays closes at 9:30pm. Closed on public holidays.
- They take reservations on 9381 2919 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org (the Northbridge branch doesn’t take reservations), but does not do take away (yet the Northbridge branch does).
- Their Subiaco store seats about 120 people, great for groups.
- Their full size sushi plates come with 8 pieces, and their sampler comes with 4 pieces.
- For the vegetarians and vegans – they have sushi rolls you can eat!