07 July 2008

Hanami Japanese Restaurant

And so to the first Japanese dining experience on our journey: Hanami (which we are told means "The only Japanese restaurant on Beaufort St") is set back a way from the road and could be easily missed by the undiscerning eye. It is also not huge, as evidenced by the Sponge managing to ram Stinky’s pram into no fewer than 6 tables on the way to our seats (although this could also be testament to the Sponge’s amateur pram-handling status, or the fact that Stinky’s pram is the size and cost of a small car). However, what Hanami lacks in stature, it comfortably makes up for in service and food.

The advance party of the Brains, BOOTO, the Sponge and Stinky arrived first and established camp. As usual, the Deliberator was fannying about somewhere and arrived later on his own. Being an Asian restaurant, and despite her protestations that she wasn’t too well versed in Japanese cuisine, the Brains was in charge of ordering a plethora of dishes to share.

Starters comprised nicely cooked chicken yakitori skewers, a fried white-baity type concoction, tempura squid and octopus balls (taken from a uniquely well-endowed octopus – boom boom). All very nicely presented on little wooden bowls and served very promptly and with a smile.

Mains were beef tepinyaki, assorted sashimi (served on a Mt Fuji-esque mound of grated carrot), chicken teriyaki and mixed tempura. Other than the tempura (which was overbattered and a bit disappointing) all very impressive.

Service was very prompt and attentive, and a uniformed Japanese waitress seemed to be on standby at our shoulder at all times. (These same waitresses were offering exhibitions of paper-napkin crane making at the front counter – the fastest we counted in about 2.7 seconds.) Hanami is licensed too, at not too bad a mark-up.

As we said, Hanami is not huge and, despite being nicely decorated, has something of the feel of a lunch bar rather than a full blown restaurant (offset to some degree though by raised platform-like tables at the front into which tiny people can wedge themselves for the authentic dining experience. Needless to say, this option was denied the Sponge and the Deliberator.) The ambience seems to be slightly at odds with the food and service (and the price - $50 a head with a couple of beers and a bottle of wine), which are akin to a more upmarket venue, however not enough to detract from the experience.

Stinky had a particularly good time, and celebrated his first Japanese dining experience (and his second ever restaurant) by emitting periodic trouser-bombs and generally sleeping through the entire thing.

In all:

Service: Very attentive and polite.

Food: With some (minor and rare) exceptions, top quality.

Ambience: More attune to CBD lunch-bar than fine dining, but tastefully done.

Highlight: Once excavated from the carrot, the sashimi.

Lowlight: Over-battered tempura.

Rating: 3.8 octopus gonads out of 5.

Will we be back? Yes, and not just because it has cornered the Beaufort St Japanese market.

Details: Located at 685c Beaufort St, their number is 9371 9855. Dinner was $50 a head, including 4 beers and a bottle of wine (no dessert).

Coming up: Heading back to mop up Inglewood Pizza and Ankara kebabs. Walcott St looms…

NOTE: Since writing this, it has been brought to our attention that Hanami may not in fact be the sole Japanese restaurant on Beaufort Street open for dinner. If this proves correct, then the Deliberator has galantly offered to commit hari kari to preserve the honour of the Beaufort Street Blog.

Hanami on Urbanspoon


Mathilde said...

Ack! You went to Hanami without having the tempura prawn sushi or the sashimi tuna and avocado salad? Sacrilege!

Having said that, since moving to county WA, I really really miss good Japanese food, and this post just left me wistfully salivating at my desk. I sooo miss living right behind Planet Books!

Love your blog :)

Beaufort Street Bloggers said...

Hi mathilde - next time we return we will have tempura prawn sushi AND the sashimi tuna and avocado salad. It's hard to stay on top of the best dishes for every restaurant on the strip, but we will endeavour to do our best. If anyone else has recommendations for our upcoming eateries, please let us know.

Thanks for reading.


Roshy said...

Hanami is a great standby for those days when you forget to bring in your lunch (on purpose). Their chicken teriyaki lunch special is quite good.

There's a tiny hole-in-the-wall Japanese restaurant in an arcade near Exomod called "TanPoPo". Very cheap and worth comparing.

I love your work on this blog, and I'm looking forward to the rest of your coverage of the area around Walcott st!

Beaufort Street Bloggers said...

Hi roshy. You must be lucky enough to work on or near Beaufort Street - if that were the case for us, we'd probably average around 4 continental rolls per week from Antonio's - love that gear!

The Brains and The Deliberator recently had a quick bite at TanPoPo, ridiculously cheap and reasonably tasty. Might do a write up on it, even though we didn't have quorum.

Marz said...

At the risk of sounding just SO yesterday, TanPoPo is really good for doing platters of sushi. Mind you, anything is better than corn chips (barf!) and supermarket dips..... The sushi has the added benefit of soaking up the wine and therefore tricking you into believing that you've eaten....

David Cohen said...

Antonio's pizza bases are excellent. They do several flavours. Why not add a weekend post for your many readers by getting said bases and other ingredients from Beaufort St retailers and having a DIY pizza nite?

Beaufort Street Bloggers said...

marz - we totally agree on the sushi front. Eating sushi also tricks you into thinking you're doing the right thing by eating healthy snacks instead of chips, so that the extra 7 glasses of wine are entirely justified.

david - fantastic suggestion! DIY pizzas are about as complicated as it gets in the kitchen of the Bloggers. Thanks also for suggesting we have many readers.

Mandyleigh Storm said...

Great review of a great Japanese Restaurant. Been there a number of times and the food is always amazing.

Invertir en oro said...

Hello, i would like to read more about this interesting topic.