Sushi-e is a small, unobtrusive sushi restaurant located on the fourth floor of Sydney’s Establishment Hotel. (The Establishment is also home to a first floor bar that is known to be something of a meat market, and the more sophisticated, upstairs lounge, Hemispheres). There is little more to the restaurant than the seating around the sushi bar that dominates the room. Atlhough there are two small, more traditional tables, they cannot accmodate more than a couple; as such, I would recommend restricting your visits here to parties of four (try to sit at a corner of the bar, it makes conversation easier) or less.
The quality of the fish, and the artistry of the sushi chefs here is amazing. Particularly delectable (and spicy!) is the spicy tuna roll, not prepared as most are used to it with a spicy mayonaise, but with seven different types of dried hot peppers folded into the roll. The texture this provides truly elevates the dish. The signature Establishment roll is also very good, and, as it is a good deal milder, much more accessible. While the highlight of Sushi-e is, of course, its sushi, traditional cooked Japanese dishes are also available. While their miso soup is the most expensive I’ve ever had (A$14), it’s also the best. Their tempura was also light, flakey and not at all oily.
Sushi-e’s service is also impeccable, being attentive without being cloying. The sushi chefs are friendly and happy to converse with you (it’s clear they have good relations with their regulars), but are equally happy to leave you to quiet contemplation. This is also an excellent destination for dining alone.
Sushi-e lacks a dessert menu, but sweets are available at Hemispheres (located on the same floor and run jointly). Additionally a small japanese custard is provided complimentary with the check, and is really the perfect conclusion to the meal. I should also note the range of cocktails available. Particularly notable is the applesinthe (A$17), a cocktail of absinthe, apple and pear juice topped with shredded carrot. I know it sounds ridiculous, but the taste combination complements the flavours of Japanese cooking perfectly, and it’s a lot of fun to order a cocktail that isn’t even legal in the States.
Reservations are not that hard to get, but strongly recommended. Additionally, all of the Establishment restaurants and bars have a dress code – no jeans. And be sure to keep your eye open for celebrities as it’s a popular, under-the-radar destination for Australian stars.