Saturday, 5 January 2013

Sagunja, Mandarin Centre, Chatswood

Generally, I loathe sushi. Cheap sushi, anyway. And by cheap, I mean those dodgy sushi trains that claim to charge you $2.90 to $5+ a plate with the majority of sushi offered falling within the upper brackets of their price list. The sushi served is often poor quality with dry rice and tough nori.

Sagunja, on the other hand, is different. There is no price hierarchy, which means that it's easier to budget for, the portions are great for the price, and the food is a lot tastier. I've been coming here since they opened yearssss ago, back when all plates were $2.50. Since then, they have raised their prices in increments all the way up to... $2.90. It's distorted billing a little bit, as $20 happily bought you 8 plates. Nevertheless, they allow for split bills, and $2.90 is still a steal in comparison to places like Sushi Bar Makoto.

The number one thing I look forward to is their scallops. They have two types - raw and half-grilled. The raw scallops aren't marinated with anything, so the seafood taste can be a bit too strong for my liking. The marinated half-grilled scallops, on the other hand, are amazing. Every time I go, I stuff my face with at least 4 plates of them and scan the food preparation area eagerly for any activity involving blowtorches.

Raw scallop on rice
Half-grilled scallops

The half-grilled salmon below was served with chopped Spanish onion and the same sauce used with the cooked scallops. As with the scallops, the proportion of meat to rice is excellent. 

Half-cooked salmon
The salmon sashimi is fresh, but I tend not to eat more than one plate of these, as my taste buds tire of raw food easily. It wasn't too fishy, but I would prefer that they squeeze some lime or lemon over the top.

Salmon sashimi

The slices of salmon below were attended to by the blowtorch and garnished with Japanese mayonnaise and nori furikake (seaweed and sesame seed mix). The garnishing added a welcome touch of salt.

Half-cooked salmon

Just as a note, if you're like me in the late 2000s and had sashimi-obsessed friends but was unwilling to risk contracting something from the consumption of raw fish, Sagunja does offer a range of cooked dishes. These include takoyaki (octopus balls), plates of teriyaki/ chilli chicken strips, chicken schnitzel sushi, gyoza (dumplings) and deep fried prawn wontons.

Sagunja on Urbanspoon

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