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Sushi Circle

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Q 7,16 68161 Mannheim

Color coded plates, topped with eye pleasing, intriguing bite sized morsels of food, steadily move down the line as patrons watch with amazement.  Even passers-by take a few moments to peek in through the windows to take in the show.  Is this some sort of assembly production line?  No!  It’s the conveyor belt at Sushi Circle, where sushi train style of service is implemented.  With the widespread popularity of sushi in Germany, it was only a matter of time before conveyor belt sushi made its way here.

To my surprise, Sushi Circle was incredibly hard to find.  I was literally walking around in circles, going around the Q block in Mannheim, trying to find this particular sushi bar.  The problem is that the adjacent building is currently under construction.  Thus, the restaurant front is obstructed by scaffolding and made even more unattractive by the presence of a Porta-Potty.  The pedestrian sidewalk is also made narrower right in front of the place.

With all of these minor setbacks, Sushi Circle is like a hidden gem tucked away from plain sight.  The interior is modern, well designed, and well lit.  The conveyor belt and surrounding counter seats are rightfully positioned in the center of the restaurant.  At each polished wooden seat, there is a graphic placemat presenting all of the featured types of sushi, along with their respective prices.  Bottles of Kikkoman soy sauce – original and sweet – are positioned all along the line.  Plates with sliced pickled ginger and dollops of wasabi are free and can be picked up off of the conveyor.  Sitting in one of the wooden seats, you are easily within reach of any plate.  The conveyor belt itself moves at a slow pace in a counterclockwise direction, making it easy to grab them.  In order to simplify the entire process, each plate has a specific color signifying a particular price.  For instance, food items on plates with a blue rim are 0,95 €, red plates are 1,95 €, and yellow ones are 2,95 €.

The mere idea of a rotating conveyor belt with plates of well-presented sushi is truly a sight to see and definitely something to experience.   If you are not big on sushi, Sushi Circle still offers something for you.  Here, you can find soups (Miso soup or Udon noodles in soup), salads, yakitori, egg rolls, and samosas.  With the exception of the soups, which must be ordered separately, all of these items can be found on the conveyor.  If, for some reason, you are unable to find a particular type of sushi (perhaps another guest took the last plate), you can simply ask one of the sushi chefs behind the counter.  For dessert, there is a fruit salad plate, sesame balls, and also various muffins.  Muffins?  That’s right, Sushi Circle offers chocolate and vanilla muffins on the line.

 

If the thought of a moving line of Japanese food still doesn’t appeal to you, Sushi Circle also has a special lunch menu for the extremely attractive price of 7,50 €.  Included is your choice of soup, 3 plates of any color, and unlimited tea (either green or Jasmine tea).

The chicken Udon noodle soup is served extremely hot.  The chicken broth is clear, but only mildly flavored.  Adding a little hint of soy sauce will provide that extra jolt of flavor.  The udon noodles are firm and cooked well.  Obviously, they aren’t homemade, but acceptable.  Included in the soup are small chunks of chicken breast, chopped green onion, and pieces of crisp red, yellow, and green bell peppers.  Overall, this udon noodle soup is decent, but you can find a more traditional bowl elsewhere.  It just tastes a bit westernized.

 

Some of the sushi plates include various types of Maki, nigiri, inari, and inside out rolls.  Unfortunately, the Sushi Circle here does not have any California rolls.  The Inari sushi had to be ordered from the sushi chef, but he was happy to make it.  Watching the sushi chef make it, you can see that the fried tofu skin pouch has been marinating in a dark soy sauce mixture for a while.  Although the inari isn’t as sweet as I had preferred, it is still delicious nonetheless.  Being freshly made makes it even better.

 

One of the inside-out sushi rolls has cress herbs all around the outside, with crab meat and avocado stuffed in the center.  The combination is interesting and the flavor follows suit.

You can also find yakitori – grilled chicken skewers, glazed with a thick teriyaki sauce and garnished with sesame seeds.  Although 4 pieces may seem small, the flavor is concentrated.  The sauce is more savory than sweet and the sesame seeds add a wonderful dimension to the chicken.  One drawback is that the chicken is rather cold – it would be amazing served hot off the grill.

 

For dessert, you might want to try the sesame balls.  These little globes are made from rice flour and stuffed with a plum paste.  The inner core is only slightly sweet; the strawberry jelly and custard cream decorating the plate supplies even more sweetness to this treat.  Unlike some places, where they skimp on the filling, these pastries are fairly well crammed with delectable plum paste.

 

The service at Mannheim’s Sushi Circle is remarkable.  The German server is extremely attentive and always has a smile on her face.  She even visits a few times during the course of the meal to ask if everything is going well.  The Japanese sushi chef is also friendly and free to chat.  Today’s visit probably ranks as one of the best overall experiences in Germany in terms of service.

One potential problem associated with having prepared foods, including raw fish, sitting on a conveyor belt is the health hazards.  Sushi Circle addresses this by using a coded system, ensuring that food items containing raw fish are not kept longer than 2 hours on the line.  This guarantee is somewhat assuring, however for the other items, such as the chicken yakitori and even the sushi, it can still be a concern.  When the restaurant is not brimming with guests and there isn’t a fast turnover on the plates, the items can start losing their quality – the sushi can eventually become dry and the chicken even colder.

Nonetheless, Sushi Circle is well worth the visit.  Not only is the food exquisite and the service flawless, but the price of the lunch menu is unbeatable.  With the large variety of plates to sample, another visit is definitely foreseeable in the near future!

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Summary:

With 18 restaurants located all around Germany, Sushi Circle is a growing chain of sushi bar restaurants featuring rotating conveyor belt sushi.  In addition to a large assortment of sushi, Sushi Circle also serves other Japanese food, including soups, sashimi, yakkitori, salads, desserts, and tea.  Exceptional service, attentive staff.

Hours: Monday – Saturday: 11:00 AM to 11:00 PM,
           Sundays & Holidays:  4:00 PM – 11:00 PM

 

Overall – 4.5 stars

  • Chicken Udon Soup – 3.5/5
  • Inari Sushi – 4/5
  • Yakitori (Chicken) – 4/5
  • Inside Out Sushi (Crab Meat) – 4/5
  • Sesame Balls – 4/5
  • Service – 5/5

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www.sushi-circle.de/

Written by geschmack

April 12th, 2010 at 11:50 pm

Posted in Mannheim

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