Thursday, 28 April 2016

Sakura Sushi @ Pandan Indah

I thought I found the cheapest sushi at Sushi Mentai.  I stand corrected.  I have now found an even cheaper sushi, Sakura Sushi @ Pandan Indah.

I noticed the place gearing up to open when I was dining across the road at Tokyo Yakiniku in late March.  It's not a sushi chain or a sushi's a stand-alone sushi place (for now).  The restaurant design looks better than Sushi Mentai's, even the facade looks classier.

At first glance upon stepping in, I was pleased to see that the conveyor belt sushi goes round all the tables in the entire restaurant.  In Sushi Mentai, there is a row of tables that the conveyor belt doesn't reach and it becomes rather annoying when the customers decide to cross over behind you to get at the sushi.  Well, too bad they got such seats but they can actually order their sushi to be brought to the table.  I guess most are impatient and prefer not to wait...and have no qualms about infringing on others.  So glad that I don't have to deal with that here as the owner of the place was farsighted enough to ensure that the sushi belt reaches every table.

There are just two prices.....RM1.70 (for the blue plates) and RM2.70 (for the red plates).  Again, due to the prices of the sushi, you know you have to lower your expectations when it comes to the quality of the sushi. It's another option for those staying in the area looking for some fuss-free, simple and cheap sushi.  So, don't come with great expectations.....and you'll do just fine here.

Overall, most of the sushi I tried tasted freakishly similar to the ones in Sushi Mentai (albeit wishing for a bit more mentai on the sushi but, then again, the amount of mentai on Sushi Mentai's sushi has also been slowly decreasing over time).  Here were some of what we had starting with the RM1.70 plates....all acceptable!

Tamago (Egg) Mentai Sushi

(and I can never stop at one)

Tamago Mentai Chu Maki 
(another version with crunchy cucumber)

Kani (Crab Stick) Sushi

Egg Mayo Sushi

Tuna Mayo Sushi

Corn Mayo Sushi

Inari (Beancurd) Sushi (plain)

Inari Sushi (with tuna)

Chuka Idako (Seasoned Baby Octopus) Sushi


And these were some of the RM2.70 plates we managed to try......all decent!

Whole Baby Octopus Sushi
(with a bit of added crunch from the thinly sliced cucumber)

Unagi Sushi

(we usually have more than one)

Salmon Mentai Sushi

And one plate is never enough, of about four? :D

Ebi (Prawn) Mentai Sushi

Hotate (Scallop) Sushi
(better tasting than the ones in Sushi Mentai)

(don't stop at one!)

Tako (Octopus) Sushi

Shiro Maguro (Butterfish) Mentai Sushi

Inari Sushi with Tempura Prawn, Ebiko & Mayo

Breaded Prawn Sushi with Mayo
(this one may not be all that crispy if it's been circulating on the conveyor belt for a while)

Japanese Potato Salad
(this one had crunchy bits of carrot, cucumber and onions in the potato mix...and was smoother than the one in Sushi Mentai)

Gari (Japanese Pickled Ginger)
(super thin and nice, again better than Sushi Mentai's)

But what stood out for me was the taste of their a la carte dishes which tasted better than the ones in Sushi least the ones I tried! ;)

The Takoyaki Ball @ RM4.50 (for 5 pcs) comes from the a la carte menu (which was great) assuring us of piping hot balls from the kitchen every time.  Filled with a small piece of octopus inside, the takoyaki balls were served with a drizzle of takoyaki sauce and Japanese mayo and topped with a sprinkle of nori (dried green seaweed) and katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes).

The Chawanmushi @ RM3.90 with bits of fish cake, shiitake mushrooms, chicken, crab stick and gingko nut was fair in taste although execution and presentation-wise the colour was slightly darker than the norm (probably a tad too much dashi or soy).

Next, I saw this dish whizzing past me and, attracted to it, I ordered one too.  The Salmon Head Shioyaki @ RM10.90 was grilled with just salt (there's also another version with teriyaki sauce if you like).

Although you wouldn't think the salmon head would have much flesh to eat, it wasn't all that bad.  There was quite a fair amount of meat below the head and under the gills.  Especially awesome was the meat in the fish cheeks (actually just one cheek since it was only half a salmon head)...the best! ;D  Sucking on parts of the fish head that was well charred gave rise to the smoky flavour I love so dearly...and the fin was edible too coz it was grilled till crispy.  I would certainly order this again.

The Salmon Teriyaki Don @ RM14.50 featured grilled salmon with teriyaki sauce on rice.  The rice was a good portion and the salmon, though well cooked through, didn't exhibit dryness (like the ones I had in Sushi Mentai), indicating that they were fresh and nicely cooked.  The salmon fillets were nice and tender with flaky flesh...absolute yumsss!

comes with a miso soup

We had the Unagi Don @ RM20.90 (with tamago and cucumber pickle), served with a complimentary miso soup too, on a separate visit.

The unagi was certainly decent in taste and portion for the price we paid.  We certainly wouldn't hesitate to order this again.

Since we enjoyed the salmon so much, we ordered the Salmon Teriyaki @ RM12.50 again on another visit but this time the salmon turned out a bit overcooked causing it to dry out a little.

We also tried the Yasai Tempura @ RM6.50 with assorted vegetables tempura of pumpkin, sweet potato, eggplant and mushroom.  The tempura was more than acceptable with its thin and super crispy batter (though it could be lighter).  I wouldn't mind having this again as well.

Green Tea @ RM1.20 per pax which is refillable (even the green tea seems to taste better)
Orange Juice @ RM3.50 (not the fresh kind)

#Side Story
As I was tucking into my sushi, I couldn't help but feel that this was so similar to Sushi Mentai....right down to the concept of just two prices for their sushi, similar design of plates (just different colours), similar looking utensils and condiment containers...that I thought this must be opened by the same people but using a different name (so that they don't have to share profits with the franchisor)! ;P

At the payment counter, I managed to chat with the owner and he said that they are not the same or affiliated to Sushi Mentai in any way (though I think he's probably involved in some capacity with them in the a previous franchisee, perhaps?!) ;D

My Personal Opinion

Even though my initial visit to the place was two weeks after it first opened on 30 March 2016 (and I've been back two weeks in a row since), there was no such thing as a queue or maddening crowd like Sushi Mentai. Maybe because it's still new and not many people know about it yet...but so was Sushi Mentai when it started. I think it could be the location...Sushi Mentai is more visible to traffic (from the main road) where as Sakura Sushi is situated in a quieter area of Pandan Indah.

But, having said that, those wanting an acceptable cheap sushi with no queue (for now coz the size of the dining area is able to accommodate more people) will certainly welcome this second option for cheap sushi...maybe even making it their first option.

Though their per plate sushi may be cheaper, most other a la carte dishes (and drinks too) are just a tad higher compared to Sushi Mentai.  For me, I prefer the dining environment here for 3 reasons...a more spacious feel, less (or no) queue and the conveyor belt sushi reaches every table.  But, more importantly, I prefer the taste of their a la carte dishes more than Sushi Mentai's, so I don't have to confine myself to eating just sushi here.  

If you want just sushi, you may prefer Sushi Mentai but if you want more than sushi, then Sakura Sushi is the better option (which is now also my first option).  I can't wait to return to have more of their a la carte dishes (and maybe a bit more sushi too).  I now not only have one but two cheap sushi choices in my neighbourhood...double yay! ;)

Sakura Sushi
69 Jalan Pandan Indah 4/3A
Pandan Indah
55100 Kuala Lumpur


  1. That's what I thought. The amount of mentai here looks like what I got in Penang's Sushi Mentai (which is bordering on pathetic if not for the cheap price).

    I'm pretty sure the owner must have been involved with Sushi Mentai previously lah, if not where can the menu look so identical?

    1. To be fair to Sakura Sushi, Sushi Mentai's mentai (at my neighbourhood outlet) has also been decreasing over time! :(

  2. Lucky you to have two affordable sushi joints in your neighborhood. I am OK with those sushi at Aeon, so I guess I will be OK with these too. My first experience with conveyor belt sushi was at Sushi King and I just loved the idea of grabbing sushi as it whizzed past me hee..hee... How I wish there is one at my will see a big stack of plates next to me :D

    1. Fingers crossed that one will open in your area soon! ;)

  3. i'm eyeing the RM2.80 plates, since they have some of my favourite ingredients there, heh! :)

    1. Oops, there was a price typo error in my post (since corrected). Yeah, the RM2.70 plates are a better bet :)

  4. Double yay for you! I wonder whether this owner will start opening more outlets.

    1. I wonder too...if business continues to be good, perhaps.

  5. Definitely a good choice when craving for Japanese food but don't want to splurge too much :P If my memory serves me right, Sushi Mentai don't have unagi rice, don't they?

    1. I don't know if Sushi Mentai has unagi rice on their menu coz I stopped looking at their menu (after my initial visit). I just stick to sushi when I'm there.


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