It’s not the only weird sushi this conveyor belt restaurant has created. 

When people in Japan think of sushi rolls, images of round, seaweed-wrapped makizushi slices usually come to mind. Overseas, California rolls — like an inside-out makizushi, with rice on the outside and a spiral of seaweed on the inside — might come to mind instead, but they tend to get a bad wrap by sushi purists who say they’re not technically “Japanese sushi” as they were created recently for American consumers.

However, at Japanese conveyor belt chains, California rolls are more than welcome to reside on the menu. In fact, over at Kura Sushi, they’ve taken the unconventional roll and, well, rolled with it, by pairing it with even more unorthodox partners as part of a new series of dishes, starting with one called the “Dotonbori Takoyaki Roll“.

Priced at 264 yen (US$2.11), and available only at the global flagship store at the Tokyo Skytree, the new takoyaki sushi might have the word “roll” in its name, but according to online buzz about the new product, they don’t look anything like the sushi rolls we’re used to seeing.

▼ So we made our way over to the Skytree location, home to the largest Kura Sushi store in Japan, to try the rolls in person.

Sliding into a counter seat at the 277-seater restaurant, we placed an order for the takoyaki sushi rolls, although we also saw a few of them roll by on the conveyor belt while we were waiting for our order.

Looking at the menu, in addition to the takoyaki rolls, there were three other types of weird and whacky rolls on offer so we decided to go all out and try them all.

When they arrived at the table, we didn’t know where to start because every plate looked like no other sushi we’d ever tried before. Clockwise from the bottom right of the photo below, we have Prawn Tiger Rolls, Crunch Rolls, Red Dragon Rolls and Dotonbori Takoyaki Rolls, all priced at 264 yen per plate.

We decided to start with the takoyaki rolls, which looked like ordinary fried octopus balls sitting on top of individual mounds of rice.

▼ Yes, they looked like takoyaki, but…where’s the sushi roll? 

For some reason, we thought a takoyaki roll would look like a Califonia roll, only with takoyaki ingredients inside. These balls certainly had octopus inside them, as seen in the photo below, but takoyaki on rice just wasn’t what we were expecting.

Feeling defeated, we lifted the takoyaki to try it, but that’s when we caught sight of the rice beneath it, which turned out to be…a mini California roll!

▼ So that’s where the roll was hiding!

Our spirits lifted with this discovery, and we felt bad for having doubted Kura Sushi’s ability to think outside of the box with their weird offerings. That’s when we moved over to the Prawn Tiger Rolls, which looked enormous, thanks to the raw and fried tempura prawn topping. Peering underneath, we saw that these too, contained individual sushi rolls beneath the weirdness.

The Crunch Rolls were particularly unusual, as they simply had a generous sprinkling of fried bread crumbs on top of the sushi rolls. Like the tempura, these were wonderfully crunchy and a totally decadent way to eat California rolls.

Finally, we tried the Red Dragon Rolls, which added a layer of crispy tempura batter to the tuna-topped California rolls. This was a fantastic idea, as it provided the palate with a wider range of textures that had us convinced we should add crispy fried bits to all our sushi from now on.

We were pleasantly surprised by the fantastic taste and textures of each and every dish, and Kura Sushi won us over with the way it embraced the unconventional nature of the California roll by pairing it with equally unconventional partners.

At this rate, we don’t know what’s classified as “real sushi” anymore, but when it tastes this good, we’re certainly not complaining. It’s the kind of boundary-breaking behaviour we’ve come to expect from Kura Sushi, the chain that also offers sushi crepes at Harajuku!

Store Information

Kura Sushi Sky Tree Oshiage Ekimae Store / くら寿司 スカイツリー押上駅前店
Address: Tokyo-to, Sumida-ku, Oshiage 1-8-23
Hours: 11:00 a.m.-11:00 p.m.

Related: Kura Sushi 
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