In Short: Gou Sushi in Surry Hills is like hopping a bullet train directly to Tokyo from Sydney for truly top notch Japanese cuisine. Sushi master chef Aoki Rio surprises with great quality and flavours that instantly transport diners back to the streets of Japan.
For me, sushi is more than just food. It represents memories of walking Tokyo backstreets in search of a local sushi master and his four-seat shoebox restaurant, or snowy nights in Sapporo supping on that day’s insanely fresh catch, infused with the essence of the Sea of Japan. So, measuring up to authentic Japanese benchmarks can be a big ask for a Sydney sushi spot, but Gou Sushi in Surry Hills was more than up to the task.
While Gou Sushi is centred around a traditional sushi train experience, being those annoying food blogger types, we head straight for a window seat where the soft evening light is perfect for a few happy snaps. It’s allllll about the pictures, ya know?!
Right away it’s clear that Gou Sushi is no run-of-the-mill sushi experience. If you’ve ever witnessed the skill of a genuine sushi master, then you know it when you see it. Chef Aoki Rio displays the unmistakable focus and dexterity that only a Japanese trained sushi master possesses. Realising we’re in good hands, we settle in to be transported back to our foodie spiritual home of Tokyo.
Now, many sushi diners pay little attention to the ubiquitous cup of Japanese green tea that is a staple on any sushi restaurant table. To be honest, most times I don’t blame them. It’s usually not the best quality sip, but Gou Sushi surprises with a complex and deep tea that is clearly a cut above the usual fare.
Menu muscle memory forces us to order up the Agedashi Tofu. While the menu describes it simply as fried tofu in dashi broth, it’s so much more. When done right, Agedashi takes its benign ingredients to a place that defies their humble origins. A crisp, yet chewy, coating gathers up the rich dashi broth into a mouthful that is both at once light, as it is decadent.
Can’t decide which of the hundreds of sushi varieties to try? That’s why the 8-piece Mixed Sushi Plate exists with the Chef’s own selections. My mouth is too full to list off all the amazing creations fresh from master Roi’s hands, but trust me, every single one was a taste of Tokyo, to me.
Love this little package from the sushi plate. The balance of attention to aesthetics and taste make it a bite to behold.
How do you follow up a top act like the sushi plate? Well, with more delicious fish, of course! Truly fresh, bright sashimi is a show-stopper for any lover of Japanese cuisine. A rainbow of colour, tastes, and textures, carefully selected by an expert, make sashimi a class in curating the natural bounty that the ocean offers. Gou Sushi clearly has an inside man at the fish markets!
Time for a beverage break! A glass of Yuzu Ume-Shu served over ice is just about as perfect a sip that I could think of to punctuate this delicious tasting experience. It’s light and sweet with floral notes and matches the setting sun streaming through our window.
Now, I know it’s a bit crass, but JFC (Japanese Fried Chicken), as it’s known in blogger circles, or more correctly, Karaage chicken, is one of my comfort food go-to plates. Many a chilly winter’s eve I’ve sat in the window of a Tokyo or Osaka izakaya with a warm bowl of Karaage chicken and the bustle of the street as entertainment. Gou Sushi’s rendition with chilli mayo takes me back instantly.
Chef Rio has one last duo of creations to wow us with. This first is a killer combo of salmon and mango sushi. The tart, freshness of the mango plays perfectly off the tender salmon that becomes a mouthful of sweetly savoury satisfaction.
As if to punctuate the feast with one last exclamation mark, a spicy tuna plate arrives with a burst of measured heat that accents the perfect fattiness of the succulent tuna.
Gou Sushi is like hopping the shinkansen directly to Tokyo from Sydney, and the beauty of it is that it’s only a few minutes from the CBD. Chef Aoki Rio and the rest of the Gou Sushi staff should be proud of their creations that uphold the honour of great Japanese cuisine. Doumo arigatou gozaimasu!
- * Coco & Vine dined as guests of Gou Sushi and Ompty Media.