The new branch of Dozo! certainly looks the part: facing on to the tram terminus, it occupies a prime piece of Happy Valley real estate, turning commuter heads with its bright red interior, pierced from front to back by a gleaming steel sushi conveyor belt. And then there’s the name, which roughly translates as ‘please’, or ‘please come in’ – the folks here certainly can’t be faulted for not being polite.
We came off the tram, eagerly anticipating our date with dinner, to be seated at a high table near the entrance, from where we perused the proffered menu. Ordering at Dozo! is easy, with all of the sushi and sashimi platters on the conveyor belt colour-coded to indicate price (ranging from $14-$48). Or you can choose to order à la carte, and we recommend you do.
For one, there is simply too much food gliding by on the belt for the number of customers in the restaurant, which means that the food is no longer fresh – surely the calling card of Japanese cooking
(the cucumber in our California roll, $38, for example, was soggy). Not only that, but the usual meticulous presentation was missing, as we watched plates glide by with mismatched roll fillings, different widths of slicing, and generally slapdash plates. Now, while we understand that Dozo! is not serving traditional-style sushi, rather Western re-interpretations of a once venerated dish, presentation must surely still be key in any restaurant.
However, where the belt let us down, the menu picked up the slack. The overly-bready Assorted Tempura ($75) aside, the California-style Dynamite Roll ($38) was, well, bang on, while the Agedashi Tofu, $40, with its combination of crisp and smooth textures, was memorable. Meanwhile, the rice paper roll selection was a pleasant addition to the sushi repertoire, even though we were forced to send back the crispy duck ($48) because the duck wasn’t exactly crispy.
In sum, while the service was swift and efficient, and the style sleek and chic, the overall impression one left with was of a good opportunity wasted – but a restaurant that, we hope, might learn its lessons before it’s too late. Ou Runyi
21 Wong Nai Chung Rd, Happy Valley, 2891 2872, www.dozosushi.com. Daily noon-11pm. Meal for two: around $350.
|Venue name:||Dozo! (Closed)|
21 Wong Nai Chung Rd