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Soki Sushi Train, which officially opened last Saturday in the former Sal’s Pizza space on Shotover St, boasts a custom-made miniature bullet train which travels around the restaurant, delivering special orders straight from the kitchen to diners’ tables.
Owner Ting Li says it’s not only Queenstown’s first sushi train, but it’s the first restaurant in New Zealand using the "bullet train" concept.
He was formerly Queenstown’s Aotea Gifts senior ops manager, but Covid saw Li up sticks and move to Auckland, working as a residential building project manager.
But Li and his wife, Maggie, kept an eye on Queenstown business opportunities.
‘‘When we saw the advertisement [for] this space, we thought, ‘ah-ha, good’, because we always wanted to open a restaurant that can give customers a very good dining experience in Queenstown,’’ he says.
Soki Sushi Train’s equipped with its own railway and custom-made wooden fish-shaped lights.
While sushi favourites revolve around the venue on a classic sushi train carousel, special orders, like sushi, ramen, and udon, and appetisers like oysters, karaage chicken, and edamame can be placed via a tablet for the bullet train to pick up from the chef.
While Li is still on the hunt for staff — ‘‘at this stage it’s only me: waiter, security, everything’’ — he feels ‘‘very lucky’’ to have secured former co-owner of Minami Jujisei, Koji Honda, as head chef.