The rub with Sushi Bar Hiro is that you had better appreciate premium grade sashimi for just less than half that of the CBD price, because unless you actually run service for your table it’s going to be a very long night. Perhaps if Chef Hiro, formerly of Sushi Bar Rashai, brandished his sushi knife at his wait staff as well as he did with the food my score tonight would have been far more representative of the merits and precision of his knife work. You may reasonably ask is the food really worth the effort and the answer is probably yes, but definitely only whilst the quality and value is so obviously tilted in your favour.
The assorted sashimi platter ($19.30) for two is a prime example and could realistically feed three or four at a stretch, but who’s complaining when quality meets quantity and the house wasabi has such a well balanced heat note. The only miss is texture of the squid, but the tuna and salmon is so exceptional I can forgive that and happily move onto the scallop self marinated by a thin slice of lemon which provides just right piquancy. Unfortunately, the Gyoza ($7.90) that follows, whilst fried correctly, is not sufficiently interesting enough on this occasion to exist for any other reason than to just test out the quality of the soy. The highlight of the Tataki ($9.70) next is undoubtedly the citrus sauce which cuts perfectly across the more than generous slices of rare beef. The same can be said of the spicy teriyaki sauce that accompanies the slightly under grilled Octopus of the Tako Teriyaki ($7.90). Sadly, it is served with an uninspired and bland coleslaw salad that unfortunately appears with far too many dishes on the menu for my liking.
Establishing any continuity of service however proves to be the most challenging part of the experience with sadly only vigilance and persistence on my part keeping the food moving. Frustratingly, no glasses in my vicinity are topped up and water is not offered to our table at any point despite wait staff conflabing for extended periods whilst a frustrated Chef is running dishes to the tables. Two visits and nothing changes in this respect with most diners just improvising in hope of better.
Fortunately, the deep fried QLD soft shell crab protruding like towers from the sea rolls for just $5.50 strike a welcome redemptive note! Similarly with the Dynamite rolls ($5.80) of spicy tuna and shallot which have a lovely mouth feel. The real surprise is the Ebi Shumai ($7.90), succulent deep fried prawns which clearly is the best cooked course tonight. Shumai ($7.90), or steamed dim sim, is just adequate in comparison. The two disappointments of the night however were the Shogayaki ($13.90) where the shortcomings of the grilled pork were plainly evident despite the pleasing ginger teriyaki sauce and the Ikateri ($7.40) where a copious dousing of the same could not disguise the textural issues of the grilled squid.
Whilst contemplating the hits and misses, the noise from the close proximity to King Georges Road fortunately is not overly apparent and the ambience of the interior is suitably restrained enough to avoid being kitsch. Sushi Bar Hiro, now in its twelve year, clearly thrives primarily on the delivery of exceptional seafood by an accomplished Sushi Chef at pretty extraordinary prices. Ultimately, it should deliver a more complete experience, but if you can accept the glaring service shortfalls there is some decent payback on the plate.
498a King Georges, Beverly Hills
Tue-Fri 12pm-2pm, Tue-Sun 6pm-10pm
Licensed / BYO ($2 corkage per person applies)