16 September 2012

Sushi Nagashima ~ Japanese - Hunter Connection Food Court [CLOSED]

Sushi Nagashima is one of the finest treasures in Sydney's culinary underbelly,  the Tetsuya's of the food courts.

[CLOSED MAY 3 2013]

Sushi Nagashima is a humble stall in the humble Hunter Connection food court.  Fellow Japanophiles need take only one look at the boss dude, and the steady stream of Japanese customers, to know this place is something extra special. This youtube clip describes the Sushi Nagashima experience far better that we could, a big thanks to whoever uploaded it.

Hiroyuki Nagashima is a master of the front counter, a master showman and a master chef. Kylie Kwong will back us up here, she gave him deserved praise in her most excellent Guide to Asian Food Halls. The food has that magic Japanese discipline and attention to detail that transforms a seemingly simple dish, such as raw fish on rice, into something far greater than the sum of it's parts. Every dish, apart from one or two side dishes, is prepared fresh to order. Even the sushi box and bento boxes at the counter are display only, these are made to order by the uber lovely kitchen gals.

Sushi Nagashima's star dish is the neo churashi, simply sashimi on rice (or brown rice for hippies, or salad for the carbo-challenged).

Tell chef how many and which pieces you would like and he'll whip up your chirashi as you watch. Don't feel that if you  have to get one of everything. Folks often order something like "three salmon, two egg." Better a few balanced choices than a mish-mash of everything. (Next time we're in for five each of scallop and kingfish, muhahahahha).

These fancy looking fellas are also for the chirashi.

Chirashi ($9.80), sashimi on rice (or brown rice or salad), with a cup of hearty, chunky vegetable soup on the side. Includes kingfish, tuna, squid, scallop, salmon roe  and tofu. On Mr Shawn's first visit, around 2pm, the joint is winding down for the day and chef apologises as there were only a few pieces of fish left. "I'll make something special just for you" says Chef. Chef works his knife in a very Japanese way: fast, rhythmic and efficient. It's a joy to watch. Mr Shawn danced all the way home on food-nerd sunshine after this.

Zuke - $10.80 - one of three winter churashi specials. Lightly dressed sashimi with a little cucumber, pickled ginger and egg. Also available on hippie brown rice or Richard Simmon's salad for the same price. Very happy.

Mini wakame salad - $2.50. A small side of garden and seaweed salad with the most wonderful sweet nutty dressing of crushed toasted sesame seeds and mirin (sweet sake). Highly recommended.

Sushi Nagashima also has a few bento boxes on display at the counter. These are display models only, order one and a fresh one will be made of for you, such as this sensational grilled salmon set ($10.80 with side soup). We've had a few bentos around town but none, repeat none, have transported us back to Japan like this. The grilled salmon was authentically dry and best with a dash of soy sauce. The side nibblies were superb, fresh and cooked with that pure Japanese attention to detail. Favourite bits were the wasabi glass noodles and the perfectly cooked potato croquette.

Grilled salmon with fish head - $10.80 (with side soup). Another bento box from the counter, made fresh to order. Chef says this dish is special and hard to find in Australia.

This is a real fishy flesh-fest, a salvo of salmon, a party of protein. There's a mound of salmon offcuts including spine, fins, and tail. We guess these are leftovers from the sushi making process. There's a lot of flesh, a great deal if your happy to pick out the bones.

At the very bottom there's a happy looking salmon head. Turn him over as there's lovely flesh in the cheek.

The chanko is that big pot of stew meat'n'veggie stew. You get a free cup of it with your churashi or bento box also. This stuff is excellent.

Mrs Shawn has no idea what a chanpon is, so he orders one. Wikipedia says a champon is a Chinese inspired dish and is from Nagasaki.

Champon $8.80 - of the various options chef suggests noodles with pork in a salt broth.  It's a plain and filling dish, very Chinese,  a bit boring at first.  But as often happens with noodle soups, all the flavours melded halfway through the bowl, the magic noodle soup moment we call it. The noodles are great, like spaghetti, and cooked al dente. There's enough slithers of meat to give the dish some oomph, and a handful of veggies. Not 'wow' dish, but a good, plain, healthy, hearty option if you're in the mood for it.


We get a takeaway chirashi each and have a romantic picnic watching demonstrations at Sydney university.


Mr Nagashima has three summer specials on the board, we give Cold Noodles with Salmon - $8.80 a spin before it disappears with the summer sun. It's a bowl of thin cold white wet noodles with assorted fresh veggies, a little seaweed, a slice of googie-egg-fish-cake-thingy plus salmon roe and salmon sashimi. Yum!

Mr Shawn pours the provided sauce over the top, it's ugly but it tastes good, it tastes like that Japanese sauce made by toasting sesame seeds, the mashing them and adding mirin. It's sweet and nutty and delicious. It does overpower the sashimi and roe though, next time we'll eat the fishy goodies before adding the sauce.

The bummer is that Sushi Nagashima is only open weekdays from 10am-3pm, accessible only to city office workers and self-unemployed bums like Mr Shawn. Try to get in before the lunch rush.

Sushi Nagashima is on the upper level of the Hunter Connection food court, F12B / 7-13 Hunter Street. www.sushi-nagashima.com.au/


  1. This post makes me wish that I worked in the city....or that someone would deliver to my office (hint hint Mr Shawn). I'll have a Salmon Bento Box please kind sir.

    1. OK, but it will cost you some fresh goodies from your garden!

  2. OMG! Chirashi sushi and salmon heads - my two all time faves! I am so there! I get a bit bamboozled in Hunter Connection - it's so amazingly noisy and busy - but I won't miss this place now!

    1. If you can get there around 11-11.30 it's quite calm.

  3. I want to fly to Australia from Kuwait just for this :(

  4. I'm on the verge of scoring the mother of all jobs, working in Newtown of all places. Now that's going to put me seriously close to all those wonderful food courts near near Sydney CBD. If I pull off this job I'll be in heaven. Revenge will be sweet. No more crappy Canberra food courts for me.

  5. One of my favourite places for a quick Japanese lunch in the city! The chirashi there is always amazing

  6. I was really impressed with the sashimi bowl so I had to go and try it out. My work is at Redfern Technology park therefore I had to catch train to Wynard and come back. It's totally worth the travel and I'm planning to visit again next week! Thank you so much Street food for sharing this, otherwise I would never know there is such a food heaven hiding in the city!

    1. Wow Jimz you are so dedicated to the search! Love your dedication to the cult of good street food.

  7. Just wanted to say this is an awesome find. I work only a few blocks away and had no idea about this sushi joint and now its part of my regular lunching spots. Hiroyuki is so friendly and enthusiastic - takes me back to the small eateries in Tokyo.

  8. not near my work :( so few places offer chirashi especially if it's diy! shame they're not open on wkends

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  10. Sushi Nagashima had their last day on Friday :(

    Accordingly to facebook Mr Nagashima is closing shop to focus on the catering business.

  11. Ohhhhh nooooo!!!!!!!

    I was ordering from the stall next door as they were packing up too, on their very last day, if only I knew - wwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!

    Thanks for letting us know....

  12. Dark days for the Sydney food world. I'd only recently discovered this place and couldn't get enough of it. So much to explore and such a nice guy.

    I wandered like a lost soul around Hunter arcade last week.... I wonder if he will supply the catering to my desk?

    1. same here. absolutely gutted.

      i wandered around like a kid who'd lost its parents.

      now i need to have a catered function every month to get my nagashima fix...this could get expensive.

    2. Maybe if we all chip in we could have an exclusive function for Nagashima tragics?

  13. now he's in neutral bay - http://komaru.com.au/


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