Matsuzushi

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I’m sure by now you have hear about the $25 omakase at Matsuzushi. Given the rising prices in the city, $25 for an omakase is definitely hard to come by. I’m guessing the main reason for the low price is due to the location. Located in Port Moody, just down the streets from where the breweries are located, Matsuzushi is run by just a husband and wife team. Decor is minimal if not barely any, and service is on the slower side as only the husband prepares the sushi while the wife serves the food.

 

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Try to make reservations in advance if possible, although the restaurant was pretty empty when we visited. However, if you want to sit at the bar to get the full omakase experience, then you should call in advance and let them know. The chef will have some fish cut ahead of time while he is not too busy so it makes things quicker given he’s a one man show. If you sit at the bar, then he will serve you each nigiri one piece at a time and also brush the soy sauce for you. If you sit at the tables away from the bar, then he will serve the sushi all at once or in two parts in a tray and you’ll need to dip your sushi in soy sauce yourself.

 

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As noted, you can also order a la carte. But given you can get 11 pieces plus a hand roll for $25, the deal for omakase is much better. Of course, the chef’s choice of fish will change daily, so you might not get what you want. I also like how you can order rolls and other appetizers here and all are quite reasonably priced.

 

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I can’t quite remember what all the type of fish we got were as the chef did not really explain what we got as he placed it down on our plate. However, if you ask, he will tell you. I just didn’t really bother asking as he seemed quite busy.

 

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Tuna

The Tuna was among my favourites. It was fresh and had a melt in your mouth texture.

 

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Hamachi (Yellowtail Tuna) 

 

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Ebi (Shrimp)

 

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Ika (Squid)

 

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Heart Clam

The Heart Clam was one I’ve never tried before. Very interesting and has a very strong seafood taste.

 

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The rice to fish portion was just right and I thought they were very well constructed.

 

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Mantis Shrimp

I’ve also never had Mantis Shrimp for sushi before so this was very interesting. The shrimp was very chewy and reminded me of dried squid. I think I much prefer having this fully cooked and flavoured like at Hong Kong restaurants.

 

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Heart Clam

For some reason, we got a Heart Clam again and this ended our omakase with only 9 pieces instead of 11. Either I forgot to take a picture, but I’m pretty sure he just missed two pieces. My friend had ordered a la carte, while the other two of us ordered omakase, so I think he got confused with which number we were at given he serves piece by piece and he was trying to make sure my a la carte friend had something to eat every time. We probably could have said something, but I was actually pretty full already and didn’t want to make a fuss. If one of your diners are going to order a la carte, I would suggest sitting at the table so the chance of him missing a piece is lower since he will present all the sushi at once at he table.

 

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Negitoro Hand Roll

To finish, he handed us over a Negitoro Hand Roll which was absolutely delicious! The toro was very fresh and the seaweed was very crispy.

Overall, I was really pleased with the quality of sushi at Matsuzushi. The omakse also includes a bowl of miso soup. Although I wished we had toro and uni like I saw other diners had, it really depends daily so hard to guess what ingredients you’ll get. However, given the whole set is only $25, it’s really hard to beat this price given the quality. Service is also a bit slow, but the chef is very friendly despite his lack of English. It’s quite a drive out if you don’t live nearby, but worth checking out at least once or if you happen to be in the area.

Pros:
– Good deal for $25 omakase
– Fish taste fresh and nigiri are well constructed

Cons:
– Service is slow

Price Range: $25 per person for omakse

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 4.5 Service: 2.5 Ambiance: 2.5 Parking: Meter parking along the street Overall: 4

 

Matsuzushi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 

Masayoshi

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Located on Fraser Street, Masayoshi offers only three choices of omakase on their menu. You must also make reservations ahead of time and seating is only available at 6pm or 8pm. The restaurant had won the 2018 VanMag’s Best Japanese cuisine award, so of course I had to come check it out.

 

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We arrived at the 6pm seating on a weekday and it wasn’t too busy. The restaurant is quite small with only three tables of for larger groups, and the remaining seats are at the bar.

 

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We requested to sit at the bar when we made our reservation to ensure we could watch the chef prepare the sushi. This is the best way to truly experience your omakase.

 

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The plate and chopstick holder were very pretty and on the side (which is not pictured) is a holder which has a damp cloth. This is used to wipe and clean your fingers because the chef highly recommends you to eat the sushi with your hands. This traditional way of eating sushi was actually very enjoyable!

 

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Echigo Koshihikari Rice Beer

For drinks, we shared the Echigo Koshihikari Rice Beer. I have never seen this beer at the BC liquor store, but it was light and refreshing. Perfect to pair with your sushi if you don’t want sake.

 

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Miso Soup

There are three omakase sets available: a 14 piece nigiri set ($80), a 16 piece nigiri set ($110), or a 7 course meal which includes both cold and hot dishes ($120). I noticed many people getting the 7 course meal as you get a variety of dishes, but we really just wanted nigiri so we chose the 16 piece set. Included in the set is Miso Soup which was a great way to start our meal.

 

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Spinach Gomae with Enoki with Peanut Sauce and Snapper’s Roe with Ikura

The set also includes an appetizer and that day, we had Spinach Gomae with Enoki in a peanut sauce. A light refreshing start for the meal. On the right was Snapper’s Roe topped with Ikura. The texture of the snapper’s roe was quite interesting and had a bit of salty flavour.

 

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Tai

I won’t go into too much detail of all the nigiris as I can’t remember exactly some of the names of the fish I ate. However, the fish tasted fresh and the amount of rice for each nigiri was just right. The nigiris were well made and didn’t fall apart. I liked how the chef brushed a light soy sauce on top before serving so it was just the right amount.

 

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Hamachi (Yellowtail)

 

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Ika (Squid)

 

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Maguro Blue Fin Tuna

The Maguro was one of my favourite! Included in the omakase was also Toro Blue Fin Tuna but I forgot to get a picture of it. The toro melted in my mouth! So fatty!

 

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Japanese Sea Bream

 

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Missed the name of this one!

 

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Saba (Mackerel)

 

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Tiger Prawn

We watched as the chef skewered a fresh prawn from Japan and took it to the back to cook. The prawn was large and had a bouncy texture!

 

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Hamachi (Mackerel) with Kelp on Top

 

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Red Snapper with Yuzu Zest

 

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Scallop

My favourite scallop did not disappoint! Extremely fresh.

 

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Uni from Hokkaido

The uni was extremely fresh and even my friends who don’t usually eat uni because of bad experiences in the past really enjoyed it. The uni were tiny pieces but very sweet!

 

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Geoduck

The Geoduck was cooked to tender and not chewy at all. Loved the texture!

 

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Sea Eel (Anago)

The Sea Eel was not my favourite at Masayoshi. I usually really enjoy it but I thought this one didn’t have enough of a grilled flavour. I prefer the one at Sushi Bar Maumi.

 

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Tamago

The last piece was Tamago but it was a very different style. It was a bit more spongey than the typical tamago where there are layers. Still, this was a sweet way to end the meal.

 

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Tofu Cheesecake

The set also includes a dessert to finish and today’s dessert was the Tofu Cheesecake topped with some fresh berries. It was sort of like a mousse and I liked how it wasn’t too sweet.

Overall, I quite enjoyed the omakase at Masayoshi. I found the service to be much more enjoyable than many other omakase sushi shops. I find they are usually too strict and it feels really unfriendly. However, the chef although quite quiet unless we chatted with him, would often smile at us and the dining experience felt quite relaxed. I do find that the price of the omakase to be on the steeper side though, but you do get much more pieces of nigiri than many other shops which offer the set at a lower price. Overall, this would be a good meal to celebrate special occasions.

Pros:
– Fish is very fresh
– Service is friendly and ambiance is nice

Cons:
– Price is on the steep side

Price Range: $110 per person for 16 pc omakase set

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 4.5 Service: 4 Ambiance: 3.5 Parking: Street parking Overall: 4

 

Masayoshi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 

Tetsu Sushi Bar

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Tetsu Sushi Bar is now one of my favourite sushi spots in Vancouver. The restaurant opened up earlier this year and is located on Denman near Robson. The spot is quite small and can only fit around 15 diners so be sure to make reservations in advance.

 

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The restaurant is known for their omakase which is reasonably priced compared to many of the other omakases in Vancouver. You can also choose to have chef’s choice of sashimi or sushi and can have this with or without the appetizers, udon and ice cream.

 

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They have a daily special menu depending on what’s fresh. At first, we thought that they only have this menu along with the omakase, but turns out they have an extensive menu with sushi rolls, dons, and appetizers. I was definitely surprised by the large menu.

 

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E decided to get the omakase set with 7 piece premium sushi for $62.75. First, you get 3 appetizers. The first was Black Cod Sperm. Yes, this was extremely weird to hear but I was curious to try it. It looked sort of like brain and didn’t really taste bad or anything. I honestly can’t really explain what I ate, but worth giving it a try if it’s part of the set anyways.

 

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The second appetizer was Sea Snail in a light broth with pea snaps. The snail was very tender and not tough at all. It sort of reminded me of escargot but had very clean flavours.

 

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The last appetizer was the Grilled Sablefish. The skin was crispy while the meat was super soft and moist. Buttery smooth! So good!

 

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K and I both got the Chef’s Premium 7 Piece Sushi for $42.75. The only difference with the premium vs. regular set is that you get Hokkaido Uni and Bluefin Tuna Kamatoro. E’s omakase set also came with the exact same pieces since he chose to get the 7 piece premium option as well. The majority of the fish were white fish but I always enjoy trying these as I would never normally order them on my own. From left to right: Bluefin Tuna Kamatoro, Bonito, Ika (Flying Squid), Masai (Sea Bream), Sardine, Spanish Mackarel, Hokkaido Uni. The sardine was probably my least favourite as it was more fishy but the ginger really helped. The favourites for me were the sea bream which melted in my mouth and of course the two premium pieces. The bluefin kamatoro which I believe the waitress said was the cheek area and is from Nova Scotia was definitely among our favourites as well. The fish was so buttery and creamy and just melted in my mouth! And of course the Hokkaido Uni was a no brainer. Sweet and fresh with a tiny bit of wasabi. So good if you are a uni lover. All the fish already come brushed with some light soy sauce so no need to dip any additional soy sauce on top.

 

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Since K and I did not get the omakase set, we decided to share the Inaniwa Udon which you can choose to have hot or cold. We chose to have it with the cold dipping sauce which was very refreshing and I can imagine this being perfect in the hot summers. I really enjoyed this thin and chewy type of noodles which the waitress said they order from an area called Akita in Japan and these are handmade in Japan. If you love udon, you must try this! I want to come back just for the udon!

 

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E also got to choose between the cold or hot Inaniwa Udon as part of his omakase. He chose to have it in hot soup and he said it was raelly delicious as well. I think the portions for the omakase are half the size though.

 

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To finish, E’s omakase also came with his choice of green tea or black sesame ice cream. Nothing too special with the green tea ice cream, but of course it’s nice to finish your meal with some ice cream!

 

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Overall, we were all very pleased with the food at Tetsu and cannot wait to come back. The highlights were definitely the nigiris and udon and I like the fact that you can order a la carte and also order rolls. Service was also extremely friendly and our tea was always filled up. I noticed there are quite a few regulars here so I really hope this spot is here to stay!

 

Pros:
– Really good nigiri and udon
– Service is very friendly

Cons:
– Very small spot

Price Range: $40-60 per person

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 5 Service: 4 Ambiance: 3 Parking: 3 Overall: 5

Tetsu Sushi Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Maruyama

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Maruyama opened last year in East Vancouver by Chef Yoshiyo Maruyama who previously worked at Blue Water Cafe as the raw bar chef.

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The restaurant was is small but the simple black and wooden decor makes the space look very elegant. There are only 4 seats at the sushi bar if you want to watch the chef in action. It would be best to make reservations ahead of time to secure a spot.

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Maruyama is famous for their omakase tasting menu which features one of the more affordable prices in Vancouver. You can also order a-la-carte and their fish is supposed to be shipped from Japan daily.

 

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They also have homemade udon, tempura and various appetizers. The restaurant is fully licensed for liquor so they have some good options of sake, beer, and wine.

 

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Goma-ae

We decided to go with the $40 tasting menu as you get to try a bit of everything. This five course menu is pretty good value, as it includes 5 pieces of nigiri. This starts off with a Spinach Goma-ae Salad, with peanut sauce and freshly roasted black sesame. One of my favourite appetizers at Japanese restaurants.

 

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5-Piece Nigiri

Next up was the 5-Piece Nigiri set which was what we really came for. The omakase set will change daily depending on what type of fish is fresh. That night, our omakase included: Bin Toro (albacore tuna belly), Warasa (wild yellowtail), Houbou (red gurnard), Hirame (flounder), and Isaki (threeline grunt). I had not heard of many of these fish, but they all tasted fresh and there were none that I disliked. My favourite was the toro as it was very fatty and the flounder which had a buttery texture and melted in my mouth. Interesting that the chef features mostly white fish in his omakase though as it would have been nice to have a mix. When you place your order, you will be asked whether you want wasabi or not in your sushi.

 

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Cold Udon

Next up were their homemade udons. You can choose between hot or cold. Half of our table got the cold and the other half hot. The Cold Udon comes with a separate sesame base sauce with you can then pour onto the noodles. The noodles come with green onion, cucumber, seaweed, egg, and assorted mushrooms. I really liked their handmade noodles as they had a nice chew. They sort of remind me of the ones at Kinome.

 

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Hot Udon

The Hot Udon comes with assorted mushrooms, wakame, tempura bits and a dashi broth. Both the cold and hot udon are special in their own way and I would highly suggest to try both.

 

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Jumbo Prawn Tempura

A perfect pair with your udon is the Jumbo Prawn Tempura which comes with a small zucchini tempura as well. The prawn was large and bouncy but I did think that the batter could be a little thinner.

 

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Matcha Ice Cream

To end your meal, the tasting menu finishes with a Matcha Ice Cream with a side of sweet red bean paste.

 

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Overall, we thought that the Maruyama $40 omakase menu was a pretty good deal given we were all full and got the chance to try a variety of their dishes. However, if you are looking to only eat nigiri sushi, then you can try their nigiri-only omakase which goes for $35, $60, or $75 depending on the number of pieces you get and how premium the fish is. They also have some pretty good lunch deals, so I will definitely be back again.

Pros:
– $40 omakase tasting menu is pretty good value
– Handmade noodles were solid

Cons:
– If you order a-la-carte, the prices can be pretty steep

Price Range: $40 (omakase tasting menu)

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 4 Service: 4 Ambiance: 4 Parking: 3.5 Overall: 4

Maruyama Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sushi Bar Maumi

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Extreme late post, but for my birthday this year, S took me to Sushi Bar Maumi for dinner. They are known for their fresh fish which is imported daily from Japan and what most believe is as authentic of a sushi bar in Japan as you can get in Vancouver. The restaurant seats only 10 people each time slot and you must reserve the specific time slot in advance. Because the restaurant is only run by the chef and one waitress, they only take reservations from 3-5:30pm. In fact, S said they were extremely strict on the phone stating that they don’t serve any alcohol, that you must order from their omakase menu, and that you better arrive a bit early because latecomers will be frowned upon. They only have 3 seatings: at 6pm, 7:30pm and 9pm.

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Because the restaurant is very small and intimate, I tried to avoid taking too many interior pictures. Essentially, the chef stands in the middle and the seats form a half circle around him. Apparently, this is very different from what it was like a year ago, when you could order off the omakase menu. Now, the nigiris are served one piece at a time. However, we were surprised that all the fish is cut in advance. I guess this saves time so that the service can be done as quick as possible. At the same time, some may find this is not as authentic as what you would experience in Japan. However, for the price point compared to the ones in Japan, I can’t complain.

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Fresh Kisu Tempura

Other than sushi, they do feature some soups and appetizers. We decided to try the Fresh Kisu Tempura, which comes with one silver whiting and three pieces of assorted vegetables. The batter wasn’t too thick but I thought this was quite expensive given how little and thin the vegetables were sliced. I would skip this next time and focus on the nigiri.

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Flounder

When we visited, there were only two omakase menus to choose from. A 10 piece nigiri omakase for $45 and a 12 piece nigiri omakase for $60. The difference is that the more expensive menu comes with Bluefin tuna and Bafun Uni from Hokkaido. We decided to go for the latter to get the best experience. The fish change daily depending on what the chef believes is fresh, so you may get different items from what I experienced. In addition, the chef will ask you if you want wasabi inside or not. In Japan, most restaurants would have wasabi inside already, but I guess they are catering to the clientele in Vancouver. Our first item was the Flounder. I loved this as it was oily and melted in my mouth.

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Amaebi (Spotted Prawn)

Next was the Amaebi (spotted prawn). I usually don’t like this as I find it quite slimy, and if not fresh, it can have a weird aftertaste. However, this was extremely fresh and sweet.

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Fried Amaebi Heads

In Japan, they don’t waste any of their ingredients. This meant that the heads of the prawns were lightly fried. We looked around and everyone was eating the whole thing, so we did the same! I guess it’s like soft shell crab, but I honestly wasn’t very used to eating the shell.

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Surume Ika (Flying Squid)

Next up was the Flying Squid, which was lightly brushed with soy sauce. I’m not usually a fan of squid for sushi because it can be too chewy sometimes, but this was actually very tender.

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Bluefin Tuna

Because we paid for the more expensive option, our menu included the Bluefin Tuna. This was seriously the best part of my meal. The tuna literally melted in my mouth! I highly recommend trying this, but don’t eat too much since this type of tuna has been overfished!

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Hotategai (Scallop)

Onto another favourite and must order of mine at all sushi restaurants is the Scallop nigiri. I love a good fresh scallop, and this was perfect with a subtle sweetness of the sea. Apparently, this is fresh from Hokkaido. I love it paired with the wasabi underneath.

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Buri (Japanese Amberjack)

An unfamiliar fish to me was the Japanese Amberjack. To be honest, I am not very adventurous with my sashimi and usually stick to the typical tuna, salmon, and scallops. I was suprised that the Japanese Amberjack was more of a deep red as I always thought it was more of light pink flesh colour. However, paired with the light soy sauce, it was delicious.

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Aji (Japanese Horse Mackarel)

I’m usually not a fan of Japanese Horse Mackarel because I find that it can be quite fishy sometimes. However, this was very fresh and along with the ginger and green onion, it complemented the fish very well.

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Big Eye Tuna

Another favourite of mine was the Big Eye Tuna which is a cut from the red tuna. It was brushed with soy sauce so it was glistening! This is not the melt in your mouth type of cut, but I actually really enjoyed it. You get more texture from this.

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Kanpachi (Greater Amberjack)

I’ve never had Kanpachi, so this surprised me. It was very fatty and high in oil content and therefore melted in my mouth. So creamy!

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Bafun Uni (Sea Urchin)

I love Uni! Not something for everyone because S tried it for her first time and absolutely hated it. I can see why as it does have a strong sea flavour and can taste funny for first-timers. However, I loved how it was paired with wasabi to bring the sea flavour out. The bafun uni comes from Hokkaido which is the most prized due to the kelp and clean water that they feed on. Absolutely delicious!

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Saba (Mackarel)

Similar to the aji, the Saba came without the garnishes and was also not as tender. It was meatier and had more of a chew.

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Anago (Saltwater Eel)

To finish our omakase, we had the Saltwater Eel, which had a more delicate texture than your typical unagi. It was my first time trying this, and although I usually dislike unagi, I fell in love with anago! The chef torched the eel slightly and therefore the eel just melted in my mouth! A great way to end the meal!

Overall, S and I were very impressed with the quality of sushi at Sushi Bar Maumi. I definitely cannot afford to come here all the time, but it is a nice treat once in a while if you want to experience what a Japanese omakase would be like. Keep in mind that there is a time limit, so it’s not a place to stay long and chat after and your conversations should be kept quiet. Also, after your omakase, they present you with a menu with all the nigiris you can order (many of which are not on the omakase). Each piece is quite expensive but you can try many fish that you might not be able to find elsewhere.

Pros:
– Fresh cuts of fish and skilled chef
– Focuses on high quality nigiri

Cons:
– Wished we could watch the chef cut the fish in front of us!
– Can get quite pricey

Price Range: $45-60

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 5 Service: 4 Ambiance: 3.5 Parking: 3 Overall: 4

Sushi Bar Maumi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato