Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Genki Sushi: iSushi Express!

Anybody remembers Genki Sushi? Ranking alongside Sakae and Ichiban, the brand was among the early ones to introduce conveyor belt sushi to Singaporeans, before disappearing all together a couple of years ago. Now, its back with a technological twist!

Its quite rare for me to write on such recent meals (this happened last Thursday!) but I thought given the store's location at Orchard Central, it would be better to post this quickly. The mall is another of those that I have no faith in attracting crowds, with eateries hiding in obscure corners and many original tenants calling it a day already. Weekday dinner was a sleepy affair as the place was barely filled up.

Green Tea ($1.50/person)

As with most conveyor belt sushi, green tea here is DIY refillable with a hot water dispenser at the side. The idea of providing green tea powder was good as it allowed us to vary the intensity level!

But as I gleefully turned to the belt to see what was making its round, all I saw was an empty lane with occasional advertisement plates. Huh? Erm.. now what, nothing to eat already?

Of course not! Each table actually had an iPad that was preloaded with the Genki Sushi App, serving as an electronic menu. Just scroll through, add selections your cart and send your order to the kitchen!

And how would the food arrive? There were two railway tracks on top of the conveyor belt, each had a cute bullet train-like carrier that would travel between the tables and kitchen, stopping in front of your table if it was your order. You would then take your dishes and send the train back to the kitchen with the press of a button. Fun and creative!

So technically, it was possible to intercept others' orders if your hands were quick enough, which somehow reminded me of the Mahjong term 截胡. Oh well, don't be evil and irritate the hungry people further down!

Salmon Aburi with Pollack Roe ($2.30), Unagi ($2.30)

One major advantage of the system was that food was, or at least seemed to be fresher. Both of these orders arrived warm as the salmon particularly stood out with its melting fatty bits and smokey roe. Unagi was good too as it didn't have the cold, rubbery chew.

Lobster Salad Gunkan ($2.30), Minced Tuna Belly Gunkan ($2.30)

Despite knowing that probably no real lobster meat was used, this was still one of my favourite sushi creations! The other sushi was the only one that we didn't enjoyed for the night as the raw, fishy taste overwhelmed badly.

Tuna Salad Gunkan ($2.30), Tamago ($1.80)

Two of the most common creations, though the tamago was the only one that came on a kiddish Hello Kitty plate.

Spicy Salmon Handroll ($2.30)

Nothing particularly outstanding, but at least it was decently fresh with a tinge of spiciness.

Petite Oyaku Don ($3.80), Deep-fried Soft Shell Crab ($5.80)

There were also a small selection of grills, deep-fried food and dons on the menu. Given its price, I thought the mini don was quite a steal with the juicy, crispy chicken cubes and slightly liquid egg with sweet onion. Comfort food!

The crab was better than what I would expect from sushi chains too, as it was meaty and thankfully not dripping with oil.

Torpedo Prawns ($3.80), Yasai Tempura ($5.80)

The girlfriend actually preferred the breadcrumb type over the tempura batter type, if she say so then! Vegetables were also very fresh as the mushrooms, brinjals and capsicums were chunky and juicy. I like!

Vegetable Fritters ($3.80)

Arriving in the form of a mini tower, the onion, carrots and potato strips were nicely fried with a thin coat of batter, reminding me of a layer of onion fritters in a hamburger but with more flavours and bite. Strangely addictive! Although I could have done without the tiny shrimps that cost slightly more.

Bill for two was $51.67 after taxes. Don't expect to get blown away by the food here, as it was after all, still an affordable sushi chain catering to casual diners. The meal was more fun with new technology in place and I was constantly amused by the busy train scooting passed me with sashimi and sushi on it. With some of the appealing items (Chilli Crab Mantou!) still unavailable, I am sure of a return!

Genki Sushi
#03-32, Orchard Central
181 Orchard Road
Tel: 62380900

Taken with Nikon D70


ice said...

Haha I watched the conveyor belt process on razortv before. If I remember correctly, the belt that sends you your orders moves much quicker than the other one to actually hinder other people from intercepting your orders.

"The mall is another of those that I have no faith in attracting crowds". I think with the exception of Cold Stone!

365days2play said...

Interesting concept, I think for once I would prefer to sit nearer the kitchen! So what happens if there are 2 orders on the system and it stops for the 1st one to be unloaded. Wouldn't you mistake the 2nd one to be yours if it happened to stop at your table?

It seems like a waste of technology though. Imagine how much the whole system costs vs hiring a few extra staff...

365days2play said...

Thanks to your post, I suddenly had a craving for tempura crabstick. Ended up eating at a Japanese restaurant for lunch today. Not Genki though. Hehehe.

Daniel said...

ice: haha yes, the belt does move fast enough for your hands to hit and spill other dishes when grabbing one. But if there is only one plate on the belt, I still think its possible to hijack!

Cold Stone drew crowds because of its own branding, not the mall's effort ahaha. Do you know there's a Marche-styled Mediterranean restaurant at the basement? I really hope it can hang in there!

365days2play: Ahh.. I think there will never be two table orders in one delivery trip. Seems to always be one dedicated trip for each table. I guess the technology is a novelty idea and in the long run, the sunk costs should be more cost-saving than manpower costs. But that is provided the "long run" actually materialize haha. The number of iPads alone is enough to pay months of salary already!

Haha! Maybe you will crave for dim sum after looking at my next post? =)

ai lien said...

"It was possible to intercept others' orders if your hands were quick enough..." =)) haha, bring ur little evil girl there, she may work well :P This sushi bar is so exciting huh. Ipad in each table sounds great!!!!

Daniel said...

Lien: haha! Just get a fresh order for you lah, don't go around stealing others' food! Come to Singapore and I will show you the place! =)