Sushi Hotaru, Melburne
For a great value sushi train experience, it’s hard to go past Sushi Hotaru, located upstairs in one of the random Chinatown arcades. I believe it’s a chain approach, as I’ve been to one in Canberra as well with the exact same setup. At $3.30 per standard plate and everything is pretty shareable and well apportioned so you get a taste of everything.
Most of the dishes we had were ordered from the mightily convenient screens at each table. That does make it a deal more easier to get what you want and get it fresh and potentially made in front of you since most of the spinning options get a bit samely. It was nice being able to pace our bites and get everything pretty quickly and I guess that’s true of any sushi train experience. There was more than a decent queue to get in and seating especially isn’t comfy with most parties being on stools. There only three tables for four and good luck getting those.
The food quality is excellent and I enjoyed my combo of agedashi tofu, karage chicken, seaweed salad and sushi with the hand rolls being a winner and a clear recommendation. I avoided all the seafood options, but that adds a lot more variety and the soft shell crab hand roll was good I’m told. It’s a bustling setup and even eating like wild cats still ends up pretty economic.
Pro tip: pay cash by not splitting the bill and hitting the minimum amount and you save 10%. Also, keep it to a small group. May not be always worth the wait.