Located in a relatively quieter part of Orchard road, Hana is a Japanese restaurant that offers several daily promotions to the discerning customer. On Mondays, the restaurant offers a $30++ omakase dinner promotion which E and I got to try recently. We were just fortunate to be around the area on a Monday night and decided to opt for the omakase since we were both quite hungry. We chose to sit by counter (or rather I did) so we could have a better view of the chefs. It turned out to be a wise decision since it allowed for a closer interaction with the chefs and I got to learn more about the dishes that were placed in front of me as the omakase progressed.
Minced fish with sesame sauce – this was one of our first appetizers. Aesthetically, it was not very appealing and while tasty, I felt that it was all right and a little underwhelming as a first dish. You know, the first dish should be the one that says “yes! I want to keep on eating!” Unfortunately, this first dish suggested that I should be bracing myself for a mediocre meal ahead instead.
For our second and third dishes, we were served fried fish skin and a dish of seaweed and cucumber. I thought the fish skin was a bit of a throwaway. It was neither something I really cared for nor did it feel like a lot of thought had gone into the dish. On the other hand, while I’m usually a fan of seaweed and cucumber, it felt more of like a complement to a main dish rather than a dish on its own.
White tuna/ Salmon/ botan shrimp served carpaccio style with red wine jelly. I think that it was only from here on that I started to get a bit more excited about the food. The carpaccio vinegar gave a hint of sweetness to the seafood which contrasted with the sourish taste of the red wine jelly. This was quite an interesting dish for me, combining Japanese and European elements.
Scallops in a shell. Nothing like a little fire on the dish to get the customers excited and nice way of using the scallop shell as a makeshift dish. The seafood broth was really delicious. One of my favourite dishes.
Teriyaki chicken charcoal grilled – we thought the chicken was well done, the charcoal aromas came out nicely. E’s comment was that the chicken was not as hot as it could have been. It felt like it had been left out for a while before it was served to us.
Bara chiraishi with tuna, salmon, pickles and turnip. This was served two ways, the one on the left was diced while the one on the right was minced. Interestingly, the flavour of the tuna and salmon was more dominant in the minced version. When we told the head chef this, he looked a bit disappointed as the diced tuna/salmon version was supposed to be the one with the stronger taste. Turned out that the diced version had been overwhelmed by the pickles and the radish in it. In all honesty, despite knowing, it did not really bother us since we enjoyed both dons equally.
$30 is really a good deal for omakase, and you do get what you pay for. As mentioned, I felt some of the earlier appetizers were rather forgettable. Their a la carte omakase ranges from $80 – $120. I’m pretty sure that the quality of the food served in those omakases’ would be much better. Even though the restaurant was relatively quiet on a Monday night, at times, it felt quite difficult to catch the attention of the wait staff. I also felt that the staff were not used to explaining the dishes to the customers which I felt was quite essential in an omakase setting. Often, the head chef had to provide a further description of the food we were served as the other chefs would just give us a very general description of the food in front of us. At times, I also had to prompt the chefs to tell me what was the dish in front of me.
Add: #01-17 Forum the Shopping Mall, 583 Orchard Road