Saturday, April 2, 2011

Introducing the Balmain Bug

Ever heard of the Balmain Bug? Neither had I. And that was why, despite the other temptations on the menu at Sushi e such as the Wagyu Roll with flamed Wagyu beef slices, and the exotic-sounding maki featuring salmon, baby capers, mixed cress and Spanish onion, I chose the Balmain Bug Roll.

Also known as the butterfly fan lobster, the Balmain Bug is a species of slipper lobster that lives in shallow waters around Australia. The waitress had to explain to me what it was; and I was but a mesmerized tourist, questioning and learning and feeling grateful that such a ritzy place was friendly and welcoming to someone dressed in casual garb and hiking boots, as I had just concluded a tour in the Blue Mountains.

The Balmain Bug order is not a cheap one, eitherA$21.50 for this eight-piece cut roll that's no bigger than your average California Roll. However, anything in the lobster family has never been inexpensive, and although the roll was top-tier in taste overall, it didn't seem extraordinarily unlike any high-grade sushi roll with fried shellfish inside it. The rare "continental cucumber" inside, however, did have a soft and velvety texture to it, unlike the rough and crunchy, cheap variation most places stick in their rolls as a filler ingredient.

Ironically, Sushi e was recommended to me by heaps of bogans I had chatted with at the Ivy Bar, and therefore I had not expected an ambience quite as upscale as the one I encountered at this palatial Japanese dining hall. The "e" stands for "establishment," the name of the trendy hotel and nightclub inside which Sushi e is located.

Sushi e closes the deal with a complimentary dessert: a thin vial filled with Vanilla Panna Cotta and Raspberry Coulis.

Sushi e
Level 4 of establishment
252 George St., Sydney

Next blog: Sushi in Melbourne

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