I love ADOs. That fluffy feeling you get when you look at next week’s roster at work and see that you have a day off in the middle of the week...priceless. Working for the public system, we get one accrued day off every month. I usually spend mine sleeping in, lazing about watching daytime TV (something I rarely get to do), going for a coffee and a stroll, meeting a friend for lunch in the city.
This month I met up for lunch with my sister, and we decided to try Hanabishi’s which was located near her office building. I’d had a hankering for good sashimi for awhile now, and my trip to Japan is not happening until July...
Now, Amy used to be a chef, and she’s done a whole lot more traveling – so her appraisal of the food is often a lot more critical than mine. However, we both agreed that Hanabishi’s didn’t live up to its name as one of the best Japanese restaurants in Melbourne.
We were keen to try the sashimi, and also decided on a couple of other entree sized dishes – unagi and soft shell crab. I of course wanted to try one of the desserts.
Sashimi Chef’s Selection (entree size)
Crispy Soft Shell Crab
Green Tea Creme Brulee with fresh seasonable fruits
While the food was good, there wasn’t anything exceptional or spectacular about it. I was quite disappointed with the tiny green tea creme brulee – for $15, it was much too pricey for such a small ramekin, and although it was beautifully presented, the green tea flavour was lacking in this dish. It was rather like a normal creme brulee that was green in colour.
The sashimi was decent, but I’ve definitely had better. Ditto for the unagi and crab.
Now, perhaps this assessment may be a bit too harsh – I think it was because we were expecting to be wow-ed, and it didn’t happen. None of the food was bad at all, but it failed to live up to the high expectations we had coming in – I feel this dampens the dining experience sometimes.
The restaurant had a more modern upmarket feel, rather than the typical Japanese set up (a la Shoya) – very elegant, but a tad too stuffy for my liking, especially for lunch; it didn’t help that we came for an early 12pm lunch, and were virtually the only people there for the first half of our meal. However, as lunch hour progressed, it did gradually fill up – lots of business suits and the like.
One thing about the menu which impressed me was that they had a special section for vegetarians – not a lot of Japanese restaurants cater for vegetarians (usually even the seemingly vegetarian options have dashi sauce or bonito flakes or something), so I thought this was quite good.
Overall, a decent Japanese restaurant – I’d like to try some other items on the menu such as Wagyu steak, Kurobuta pork, tempura, gyoza and agedashi tofu. A bit on the pricey side (even their lunch boxes are higher priced than what you typically expect), so this has to be taken into consideration. The location is a bit out of the way of my usual hang-outs, hence I’m not sure it’s worth the effort to come back, since there was no wow-factor...
Ratings (based on my own experience, on this occasion):
Food – 7 / 10
Service – 7 / 10
Value for money – 5 / 10
OVERALL CONSENSUS: 3 bags (out of 5)