Why is it that Melbourne’s sushi train restaurants are characterised by either run-off-the-mill food or uninspired locales (read: shopping centres)? Brace yourselves Japanophiles: Ganbare Kaz on the Windsor end of Chapel Street is set to become your new destination for creative, top-shelf sushi, with low prices and a fitout that will impress the fussiest of hipsters. No matter where you plonk down along the large bar that curves around the sushi train, you’ll have a good view of the chefs flexing their impressive knife skills. Pricing is based on the failsafe colour-coded plate system: $3.50 for white, $4.50 for black, $5.50 for blue and $6.50 for beige. An iPad at each table is used to order drinks and hot food (think izakaya mainstays like gyoza and octopus takoyaki), or a particular kind of sushi that hasn’t yet docked at your station. The plates are your first clue that these guys are detail-orientated. Instead of cheap plastic, here they use polished, hand-painted ceramic versions to hold your makis, nigiris, aburi and gunkans. They also embrace the garnish, with each piece decorated with herbs, flowers or a smattering of seeds to add colour, flavour or texture. With so many plates whizzing past, how does one choose? Be led by your stomach – it’s all pretty good.
Small serves, artful presentation and the nostalgic joy of being served by a model train means you can have your salmon and eat your octopus too. So grab trackside seats and watch the dishes roll by.
Want something else for lunch? Try one of Melbourne's 40 best cafés.