Rice cola, fish patties and rice buns make for a very different sushi experience.

As one of the country’s most famous conveyor belt sushi restaurant chains, Kura Sushi is known for its expansive and reasonably priced menu, with everything from sushi to curry rice, noodles, and fries available, all priced individually at well under 500 yen (US$4.47).

Now, the chain will now be adding two surprising new items to the menu, and they’re being introduced to the masses with a limited-time pop-up store created in their honour.

▼ That’s right — Kura Sushi now has burgers on the menu. 

Called Kura Burger, the two-storey eatery has a minimalist design that extends to the menu, with only three items available to choose from. There’s the Meat Kura Burger, the Fish Kura Burger, and Shari Cola.

▼ We stopped by and ordered everything on the menu, which came to a very reasonable total of 720 yen.

While they offer a takeout option, we decided to enjoy our meal on the premises, so we took our tray up to the second floor dining area.

The space was decked out with a brand new pale wood interior and furnished with some standing tables and a counter around the walls of the room.

▼ We found a spot at the counter and set our meal down to admire it in all its glory.

The first thing we noticed with these were the “shari” buns, which have been carefully crafted using rice flour and vinegar, in order to reproduce the same flavour as “shari”, which is the vinegared rice used in sushi.

Inside the meat burger was a single patty slathered in mayonnaise and tomato sauce. Beneath it was a leaf of iceberg lettuce, while on top there were a couple of tasty looking tempura onion rings.

Just as there was beauty in the simplicity of our surroundings, there was beauty here in this simple burger as well. It might look like a no-frills hamburger, but it had certainly been elevated to another level in terms of taste, thanks to the novel addition of tempura onions and rice flour buns.

▼ Next up to the tasting plate was the Fish Burger.

After peering in between the buns, we were immediately confused by the dark-coloured patty and wondered if maybe we’d mixed up our meat and fish burgers by accident.

The staff assured us that this was no mistake, as the Fish Burger actually has a darker patty, due to the fact that it’s made with a variety of ground fish like tuna, after the select parts have been removed for use as sushi. According to the company, a whopping 20 percent of every fish used in Kura Sushi stores used to go to waste, despite being edible, as only 40 percent of the fish is used to make sushi.

▼ The new fish burger is made with parts of the fish that would otherwise go to waste.

The Fish Burger, which uses only 100-percent domestically produced fish, promised to be a novel experience, as signs around the store recommended adding some pickled ginger and a dollop of wasabi, two condiments often eaten with sushi.

▼ First, we added a clump of the pickled ginger…

▼ …and then a touch of wasabi.

This gave us a combination of lettuce, fish patty, tempura onion rings, teriyaki sauce, shari rice buns, wasabi and ginger. And as soon as we took a mouthful, we were completely sold. Despite not usually being a fan of fish patties, this was incredibly moreish, and rather than being overpowering, the fish flavour was beautifully balanced out with the sweet richness of the teriyaki sauce.

However, the real clincher for us was the addition of ginger and wasabi, which added a slight heat and saltiness while providing a wonderfully refreshing flavour to the whole burger. Once you’ve had pickled ginger and wasabi inside a fish burger, you’ll never be able to enjoy one without them again!

▼ And to wash everything down, we had the Shari Cola.

Taking its name from the “shari” used in sushi, this is a fantastic cola which has a delicious flavour, distinctive rice aftertaste, and an interesting backstory. According to the company, this drink is made from an amazake (sweet non-alcoholic sake) produced by a renowned Kyoto sake manufacturer and created with quality Japanese rice, malted rice and water from a famous water source in Kyoto said to have been used by legendary tea master Sen no Rikyū.

It was a perfect complement to the unique rice-based meal, and one which we’ll definitely be seeking out again. While the pop-up store is only open until 3 March, the good news is these three items are now available at all Kura Sushi restaurant locations nationwide. And with so many locations around Japan, Kura is now the fourth biggest hamburger chain in Japan, which is a rebranding they’re happy to embrace, particularly given the bad publicity they’ve received recently.

Store Information

Kura Buger / くらバーガー
Address: Tokyo-to, Shibuya-ku, Udagawa-Cho13-9 KN Shibuya 2 Building “n_space”
東京都渋谷区宇田川町13-9 KN渋谷2ビル「n_space」
Hours: 11:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m.

Photos © SoraNews24 

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