Apparently, my colleagues LOVE Sushi Tei. Every call for L.A. Lunch at Sushi Tei would necessarily result in my inbox immediately being inundated with RSVPs, and I can always count on an overwhelmingly popular turnout. I've noticed, though, while reviewing the receipt, that prices have risen slightly since last year. If only our wages increased like inflation.
To usher in Spring, Sushi Tei has rolled out a number of seasonal promotional dishes featuring Japanese pork from the Kagoshima prefecture. I honestly can't tell the difference with the usual pork but what the heck, more variety is always a good thing!
The Sunrise Meatball ($8.50) is a minced pork ball with a whole salted egg yolk inside. The mince is wonderfully textured and moist, juxtaposed with a crusty exterior. Of course, anything with salted egg yolk is already a plus point my book.
The Ton Tama Roll ($10) is great for people averse to raw fish in their sushi. This Japanese version of the French crepe has fatty pork belly rolled into it with cucumber and red lettuce.
The Kagoshima Pork Hamburger ($8) is an absolute must-try on the seasonal Spring menu. The burger is dripping with delicious juices, and enhanced with a velvety brown gravy.
The Kagoshima Katsu Toji ($12.80) was another popular hit, with crispy pork cutlet dunked in an onion-sweetened dashi broth on a sizzling plate with wonderfully fluffy scrambled eggs.
The Kagoshima Pork Tonjiru ($7) was a heart-warmingly comforting sliced pork and vegetable miso soup.
We also ordered a whole bunch of sashimi from the main menu. The Biei Sashimi Moriawase ($42) with 5 types of seafood comprising salmon, scallop, swordfish, tuna belly, and sweet prawn. These were fairly fresh and sweet, sliced thickly to enhance your enjoyment of the raw fish.
The Tokachi ($32) with 4 kinds of sashimi, anticlockwise from top right: salmon, tuna belly, bluefin tuna, swordfish.
We had additional pieces of our favourite sashimi, the Salmon ($8) and Otoro ($28).
The Nama Hotate ($11), scallop sashimi. Mild and creamy.
One of Sushi Tei's signature creations, the Golden Roll ($16), is stuffed with a fried king prawn and wrapped in sweet mangoes and topped with a dollop of fish roe for a burst of seafresh flavours.
The Dragon Roll ($14) is the avocado version of the golden roll above. I preferred the golden roll for its fruity sweetness to the dragon's powdery avocado texture.
The Chawanmushi ($4.20) was a delicate, baby-bottom smooth egg custard that evoked happy childhood memories. This was laced with shitake, crabmeat and chicken chunks for texture.
The Soft Shell Crab Maki ($6.50), another crowd favourite, delighted with its crunchy crustacean stuffing.
I liked the Chuka Wakame ($3.80), with chewy tendrils of bright green seaweed, for its clean and clear flavours. It made for a welcome palate cleanser.
The Spicy Tuna Maki ($6) was contrasted with refreshingly clear cucumber.
The Unagi Tofu Ankake ($10) was slathered in a silky oyster sauce gravy laden with enoki, green peppers and sweet onions and carrots.
Ah, the piece de resistance here and possibly one of the cheapest lobsters ever, Sushi Tei's Lobster Mentaiyaki ($30.75 for a half), grilled to a smoky perfection with moist sweet flesh that's easy pickin's.
We also loved the Gyuniku Roll ($10) grilled beef rolled with enoki mushrooms and served with a brown gravy. Hearty and scrumptious.
The Hotate Teriyaki ($8), grilled scallops brushed with sweet teriyaki, were a little puny but fresh nonetheless.
No one does fried stuff like the Japanese. They manage a lightness that's so uncharacteristic of deep fried foods. The Hanasaki Ika Tempura ($6) squid tempura, makes for an extremely addictive snacker if you're not careful.
The Soft Shell Crab Tempura ($12) was another lovely seafood. Also finished in seconds.
The Ebi Tempura ($10), prawn tempura, was sweet and juicy and sumptuous.
My favourite dessert here is the Yuzu Sherbet ($3.40), a refreshingly light citrusy sorbet with bits of chewy yuzu.
The Nama Chocolate Ice-cream ($4.80) in bite-sized pellets, was creamy and sweet, but still nuanced and light.
20 Cross Street
China Square Central
Tel: 6223 0070
Open daily from 11.30am to 10pm (last order 9.30pm)