Sunday, 15 July 2012

Sushi Tei, Gurney Plaza

Another new Japanese cuisine establishment in Penang; Sushi Tei is an international restaurant chain which branch in various countries including Singapore, Indonesia, China and even Australia. After hearing good commentary on the Sushi Tei outlet in Singapore from my buddy, Eleanor; I decided to try it for myself and here’s what I think of Sushi Tei.

Readily available plates, saucers, pickled ginger, wasabi, shoyu, nitsume and chilli powder

Green Tea @ RM1.00 per person

A variety of dishes ordered:
Chuka Lidako @ RM6.80

An extremely common appetizer in Japanese restaurants, the seasoned baby octopus is quite tasty served with crunchy slices of cucumber and radish. Common and nothing much special; an ordinary appetizer.

Salmon Sashimi @ RM10.80

5 slices of salmon sashimi; chewy and extremely fresh. The sashimi slices are rather thin and does not have a strong fishy smell probably due to it’s freshness. Definitely recommended! There are also other sashimi combos which are of better value.

Inari Kani Mentai Mayo @ RM5.40

A small amount of rice stuffed in pockets of sweet bean curd skin with crab meat and smoked cod roe mayonnaise. Those the menu states crab meat, it is actually shreds of filament sticks. Quite an interesting combination which brings out the sweetness of the Inari pockets and saltiness of the cod roe mayo that fits perfectly with the plain taste of Japanese rice.

Soft Shell Crab @ RM15.80

3 pieces of deep fried soft shell crab served with a bowl of dip. The soft shell crab is bland and plain with not much taste and seasoning while the dip tasted like a mixture of shoyu and vinegar bringing a hint of sourness and a strong taste of saltiness. The soft shell crab lacks crispiness and was not as fresh as expected. The taste could be adjusted based on the amount of dip used.

Hotate Teriyaki @ RM9.80

6 extremely small scallop on 2 skewers served with teriyaki sauce. The scallop was hard and chewy; small and had no other taste but saltiness with a hint of sweetness. Not really worth the price paid as the scallops were just as big as a 20 cent coin and overcooked to an extent that it is hard and chewy.

Mini Phoenix Roll @ RM15.80
A piece of fallen unagi and avocado; clearly poor quality control on food presentation

A great combination; unagi (eel) with tempura prawns, avocado and sushi rice. This roll brings out an interesting flavour. However, this dish lacks a balance as the taste of the tempura prawns completely overpowers the taste of the unagi. Literally, you wouldn’t even know there is unagi in this dish if you were to eat the roll blindfolded. The avocado was also too ripe and was extremely soft. As you can see in the second picture, the mini phoenix roll lacks presentation as the staff was not even bother that the unagi and avocado had fallen off the roll. This disfigured roll was still served to us. *thumbs down*

Kaisen Kaminabe @ RM26.80
Paper hot pot using flames from ignited petroleum jelly

An assortment of seafood and vegetables in a Japanese paper hot pot. There is a choice between miso or spicy soup and I went with the choice of spicy soup as I wanted to try something out of the norm. Indeed, this hot pot lives up to it’s name of spicy soup as I would rate the spiciness to be about 7 out of 10. The heat from the petroleum jelly keeps the soup hot for about 45 minutes until it burns out. The hot pot includes salmon, prawns, scallops (tiny ones), zuwai crab, mushrooms, chinese cabbage and also lots of onions. The soup is definitely a must try!

Crispy Ebi Mentai Mayo @ RM13.80

A plain dish that consist of prawns, shitake mushrooms and cod roe deep fried together in a batter. Not too oily; it is rather bland as shitake mushroom and prawn both do not have a strong flavour hence the taste of the Crispy Ebi Mentai Mayo came mostly from the cod roe mayo. A rather overpriced dish.

Umaki @ RM13.80

Simple omelette which wraps a tiny piece of unagi between it; the omelette has a strong egg fragrant and the unagi completes the rest of the flavour. Caution; it was extremely hot when served and I burnt my tongue taking a bit into it.

Hotate Mentaiyaki @ RM16.80

The most disappointing dish ever! The baked scallops were extremely oily and they were UBER SALTY as though a whole bottle of salt was poured into this dish. The scallops here were much larger and the half shelled scallop topped with either miso or cod roe with mayonnaise. I opted for cod roe and to my disappointment, the sauce was like pure sodium on top of the scallops. Although the scallops were quite fresh, the entire dish is ruined by the sauce. SALTY and OILY! Avoid this dish at all cost; simply not worth paying!

Tempura Ice Cream @ RM 10.80

A scoop of black sesame ice cream deep fried with tempura batter and served with syrup and fruits. Besides the beautiful presentation, there is nothing special about this dessert. The ice cream has not melted although it has been deep fried but this is nothing more than just a simple plain fried ice cream. Not quite worth the price and the syrup and chocolate sauce completely destroyed the authentic taste of the black sesame ice cream.

Open sushi bar with a fusion of Japanese and contemporary deco

Sushi Tei like any other newly opened restaurants would be a popular choice as many would queue to give the place a try. This dining place has a fusion of modern and traditional Japanese decor giving out a feel of serenity while dining with instrumental music playing over the speakers. However, it is rather disappointing that the music played were instrumental versions of Chinese songs instead of Japanese ones.

As for their service crew, it is quite a let down. There are 3 rows of tables and a row of seats at the sushi bar, but the crew was not attentive and often I had to raise my hand for 5 minutes before someone actually sees it. Perhaps, a buzzer or bell should be placed at every table so that the crew can take note of customers needing their attention. The lack of common sense was simply annoying. Though kaminabe (the hot pot) was ordered, none of the waiter or waitress bothered to bring a bowl and a spoon. So was I suppose to drink the soup from the paper hot pot itself? *rolls eyes*

Besides, no one actually clear the empty plates on the table. Although my table was right at the corner, this was definitely no excuse to receive a third class treatment.

Overall, the food is average with some dishes completely below par and some absolutely heavenly. An expensive Japanese restaurant that lacks customer service. Not a place I would recommend strongly but is still worth trying for its wide variety of sushi and dishes. The sashimi and Kaisen Kaminabe is a must try! Be ready to burn your wallet as everything is rather pricey.

Gurney Plaza is noted in blue
Sushi Tei is located inside Gurney Plaza (Lot 02-02) on the second floor of the old wing; 2 floors right above the main entrance, beside a few sports equipment store. It opens from 10am to 10pm like any regular store in the mall. Parking is easy as there are ample of space in the multi storey car park inside Gurney Plaza and a stretch of off street parking along Persiaran Gurney (Gurney Drive).

Food rating: 6.5/10
Service rating: 5/10
Ambience rating: 9/10
Overall rating: 6.5/10

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