Anyway Hako is next door to my office and we've always talked about trying having read the odd article about it. Our expectations were that it should be good but perhaps not mindblowing.
We were greeted warmly at the door and shown to a table. It's very dimly lit by flickering candlelight and offers a very serene and tranquil atmosphere so a good place to feel far away from my desk!
Having taken some friendly advice by the manageress we ordered about 6 small dishes and shared one main dish and washed it all down with some refreshing green tea.
- crab blue swimmer crab meat and tobiko with shiso leaf wrap (pictured above)
- niku maki deep fried asparagus and sliced scotch fillet roll with kimi tosazu (pictured above)
- eye fillet rare eye fillet and smoked king brown mushroom w black sesame seed dressing
- pork belly mom's baked pork belly with brown miso and sake
- gyoza fried pastry stuffed with minced pork and cabbage
- tebasaki char-grilled chicken wings stuffed with fresh red plum paste and a hint of Japanese spices
- cappacio curd king fish cappacio w onion shives, avocado w lime and yuzu sauce (pictured above)
- nabeyaki udon udon noodle soup with soft poached egg, prawn tempura and chicken in a hotpot
Other notable mentions; niku maki was interesting with good textures although not hugely flavoursome. The eye fillet was delicious in flavour but lacked texture. The beef tataki at Nobu achives texture with the garlic chips so maybe something like that. Pork belly was slowly braised so the meat was soft and full of flavour but the fat was gelatinous and we prefer it crispy.
The dish we didn't enjoy were the chicken wings as the plum paste was very sharp, almost to the point of bitterness which we didn't find pleasant.
The udon was deceptively large. The hotpot looked quite small but was we shared it out, we found it sufficient in size although it only came with one prawn tempura and two pieces of vegetable tempura. I also prefer it when the tempura is served separately from the broth to retain the crispy batter and here it arrives already soaked in the broth which just breaks the batter and turns it into sludge.
The service was very attentive and our teapots were filled regularly. The little tea light on the table was constantly being moved when each dish arrived to give the best possible light and the menu stood up each time it had fallen down! The dishes arrived one at a time and quite promptly after each other. The manageress was friendly and personable and her supporting team were hardworking and helpful.
Verdict on Hako is that it's good quality food - pricey for the volume. It's a nice and comfortable environment to sit in which is conducive to conversation so great for catch ups and dates. However the food although good is not memorable and there isn't one dish that has got me wanting to run back for a repeat experience.