Sushi Tei, Sydney CBD

Echoes of irrashaimasen follow us to our table. I find myself bowing at the waitresses, grinning in delight at the hearty welcome that reminds me of the trip to Japan.

We are in the heart of Sydney, being shown to a table at Sushi Tei, the international Japanese Sushi Restaurant Chain which originates from Singapore. Located in what was once known as the Qantas building at Chifley Square, the restaurant size is deceptive, following the curve of the building’s façade and hugging the top of Hunter street.

We pass by the long chef’s table with eager diners tucking their chopsticks into the freshly-prepared sushi and the more intimate tables facing the windows. Although it is only 6.30 pm on a Friday night, the place is running at almost full capacity. We proceed towards the rear of the restaurant where we are shown to a comfortable table by the window.

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Over Sapporo beer, we study the mega-sized menu complete with decorative photographs of the food. The choice is extensive and our waitress is patient with us. We move on to the sake, after asking for a recommendation on a dry and cold variety. The Go-Shu Nama Black Label Sake is suggested and we soon discover that it is surprisingly Australian, made in the suburb of Penrith. The bottle isn’t well-chilled and the flavour not too intense so we give it a mere pass. The trip to Japan has certainly spoilt our palates with regards to good sake.

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Food starts to arrive, a combination of the hot and cold dishes all served at once.

The baked salmon maki is as tasty as it presents, the six pieces of rolled sushi holding their shape when picked up without being too dry.

Sushi Tei, Sydney CBD

Makajiki Sword Fish has a fresh and clean taste. A squeeze of lemon is sufficient to bring out the flavour of the sea.

Sushi Tei, Sydney CBD

Garfish Sashimi is one of the specialities on the day, one that earns a nod of recommendation from the table beside us. The dish wins on presentation, freshness and taste. We are tempted to order another.
Sushi Tei, Sydney CBD

The Phoenix Roll made with unagi (eel), avocado, king prawn on a sushi roll is a house speciality and comes in an original presentation. Mayonnaise is used to hold it in shape to the plate but is best not eaten with the eel pieces.

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Salmon sashimi this good only needs a dip in soya sauce and a little smear of wasabi.
Sushi Tei, Sydney CBD

We tuck into the Ebi Tempura, five prawns cooked in tempura batter and presented in a fan-like pattern with a little mountain of horseradish.

Its cousin, the Harasaki Ira Tempura or squid tempura is just as good. We ignore the mayonnaise sauce and dip it into the tempura sauce from the ebi dish.
Sushi Tei, Sydney CBD

When the hotate misomayo or grilled scallops with miso and mayonnaise sauce is served, it elicits cries of admiration. We like the freshness of the  plum scallop with the creaminess of the sauce.
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The Soft Shell Crab is also cooked tempura-style and packs a crunch with the delicate flavour of the crab.
Sushi Tei, Sydney CBD

At this point in time we feel rather satiated. Although we would like to try a dessert, we have run out of time. We need to be at the Sydney Opera House for a concert that starts in fifteen minutes. As we pay the bill near the entrance and take our leave, there is a queue forming outside the door.

Like any restaurant that leaves a positive mark, Sushi Tei makes you want to return.  The service is fast, friendly and efficient without the kind of rush that reminds you that others are waiting for your table. The extensive range of sushi, sashimi, seafood, meat and noodle-based specialties on offer is worth at least another visit.

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Sushi Tei is featured in our guide to Sydney’s Best Japanese Restaurants.

Sushi Tei
1 Chifley Square
Sydney, NSW 2000


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About the author

Corinne Mossati

Corinne Mossati is the Founder/Editor of popular online magazine Gourmantic and Cocktails & Bars, a website dedicated to cocktail culture and the discerning drinker. She is named in Australian Bartender Magazine’s Top 100 Most Influential List since 2013, is a member of The Academy responsible for judging the World’s 50 Best Bars. She has also judged the inaugural Australasian Whisky Awards and various national cocktail competitions.