We’ve been wanting to try this restaurant for a while. Mr Akio Hosokawa, part owner and sushi chef, used to work in Sono (Portside) and branched out to open his own restaurant. Every time we were going to go there, something came up and we never had the chance to try it.
So finally we went for lunch. Luckily we made a booking as when we arrived, there were no free tables. We were curious to try their bento boxes to see if their anything like the Sono bento boxes. However you need to order these in advance (and of course we didn’t know that!).
We ordered the korokke mori (mixed croquettes) to share as a starter ($12). I love korokke and was curious to see what their versions would be like. A small plate came out with three different types of korokkes. The first was a cream crab korokke – slight hint of crab flavour and super creamy potato consistency. There were a few corn kernels to add some sweetness and the skin was nice and crisp. Yum. The second one was a beef curry korokke – this one was quite pleasant with curry flavour but didn’t go with the bulldog tonkatsu sauce that came with it (tangy dipping sauce – a little like concentrated wocestershire sauce). The third was a plain korokke with a teeny bit of beef in it. This went very well with the dipping sauce and there were a few chunks of potato amongst the creamed potato. A pleasant, homely start to our meal.
Mr Ana ordered the large sushi mori platter ($32) and as I had a view of the sushi bar, I watched Mr Hosokawa make his nigiri. All one handed as you would expect from a seasoned sushi chef and it didn’t take him long to make the nigiri. When it came out we could see that the sashimi was generously served and they were not thin slivers of fish. Mr Ana happily consumed his sushi and gave me a nibble of his tamago – this was clearly made onsite and was slightly sweet – just the way I liked it. I tried the salmon nigiri. The salmon was very fresh with a lovely texture, and the rice was well made – just the right balance of sweet and sour and not too firmly packed. But then I felt something in my mouth… It was a bone. Oh dear. This is the first time I’ve experienced this, and to be honest, I wouldn’t have picked Hosokawa to be the place I’d get bone in my salmon.
I chose the chirashi sushi for my meal ($18.95), and it came out beautifully arranged. A large variety of seafood, more generous than I usually get. No bones in the salmon this time, two cuts of tuna, and thick slices of hamachi. More tamago (yay!), plump prawns, salmon roe, other fish, and even abalone. The hand grated wasabi was a good touch, as it is less harsh than the pre-prepared wasabi that most places use. The sushi rice was very very good (and yes, this makes a huge difference!). I enjoyed the chirashi sushi. I also received a miso soup, which while basic, tasted the way I expect it to taste.
While paying Mr Ana pointed out that Mr Hosokawa was professionally trained in Japan during the Showa period – and his experience is clear in his technique. Handy that Mr Ana can read Japanese huh??!
Brisbane really has picked up its game in the quality of sashimi available at a number of places – and Hosokawa is certainly one of those places. However I have to say that the service seemed a bit disorganised – when ordering our meals, we asked for some water. It still didn’t arrive by the time the third and final dish came out so I politely asked for our water. It never arrived and I was parched by the time I finished my meal. Also I found a bone in the slice of salmon – this is a BIG no-no. Out of the hundreds of times I’ve eaten salmon sashimi – whether that be in a fine dining restaurant in Japan, at home prepared by Mr Ana, or in a cheap alleyway in the Gold Coast – this was the first time I experienced having a bone poke around my mouth.
One further observation – while paying I noticed someone delivering frozen dumplings to the restaurant. So the dumplings are not made from scratch on site – they are made elsewhere. This doesn’t mean that they won’t taste nice – but they are not necessarily unique either.
I do recommend trying Hosokawa. Despite the bone and disorganised service, they serve well made sushi – more sophisticated than other places I have tried in Brisbane of late.