Monday, 9 July 2012


Hanami Japanese Restaurant on Urbanspoon
So on one beautiful late afternoon, the sun was dipping into the river out on the horizon. Birds were flocking together in the skies, joggers daintily jogged past me on my shabby fold-up bike, their muscles flexing, skin glistening,
everything was just so perfect...

Until I casually crashed into another cyclist.
The embarrassment hurt so much more than the pavement scraping against my flesh. Ouucch.

Now, I'd usually need a few tubs of ice cream to numb all the shame I felt from being observed (laughed at) by the group of onlookers who were all gracious young men, but somehow!
The idea of salad seemed like the perfect remedy to soothe away the pain (of embarrassment!)

Exception? Has to be Hanami's salad. And it is ONLY Hanami's salad that I have an extreme soft spot for.

Salad isn't always disgustingly bland
Salad doesn't always have to taste and look disgusting.

Disgustingly healthy would probably be the more suitable term. Whereas at Hanami, you can enjoy delicious salads that are chock full of vibrant, fresh ingredients although not exactly entirely guilt free (with the generous ladle of oily salad dressing).

And THAT, is the only reason why I risk my voracious-eater-no-signs-of-self-restraint reputation and order salads for dinner here. If you minus all the vegetables, it's actually a little unhealthy.

Hanami Special Salad - $13.90
Stick with me now - craving for salad is actually possible. Because when a bowl of healthy ingredients is served that is both capable of pleasing both your sight and taste, you want more.

The Hanami Special Salad presents a mixture of vegetables and Japanese seaweed with a variety of seafood (seafood extender, sashimi, clam-like pieces), tossed through a sweet, citrusy, fragrant salad dressing. The flavours and textures come together really well, and the lightness of it means you can keep on eating with no worries now and no regrets later.

Salmon & Avocado Salad - $13.90
Another salad available is the strikingly similar Salmon & Avocado Salad, which replaces all the different types of seafood with the one fish you'll ever need: salmon.

They are very generous on the omega 3, with chunks of melt-in-the-mouth salmon cubes scattered throughout the entire salad, so that even your last bite wouldn't be a mouthful of just vegetables. Just so fresh tasting that you can clean out the contents of the entire bowl.

You could get a bit sick of the sauce after a while, and it may get a little oily at the base towards the final sad moments of your salad coming to an end. And while the creaminess that comes from huge wedges of avocado and velvety salmon cubes, while delicious, can get a bit too much, the crisp texture of raw vegetables and tangy sauce will help cut through the feeling of eating mouthfuls of creamy lard.

Salmon & Avocado Salad (more recent)
If you are out with dining companions who don't know you very well, it is certain that they assume you're trying to lose weight, on a diet, or just too bloody health conscious. Especially more so when you have an anorexic figure and then not finishing your salad on top of that!

I notice that all these pictures resemble a game of Spot the Difference Between My Salads.

But if you are playing the game, you would most likely spot a slight difference - the amount of salmon that is missing between the two bowls! There seems to be a slightly smaller amount given in the bowl that I ordered on a much more recent occasion than the first.

Salmon Sushi Roll (5 pieces) - $8.90
Hanami wins much brownie points for presentation and food styling. Plating on a fan-shaped dish makes it look a little delicate and a lot of delicious. Priced at above-average sushi price, it's kinda like...designer brand sushi. Yes you've got the looks, do you have the quality? Do you fall apart after a few washes touches?

Salmon sushi is never a loser, especially with perfectly rounded sturdy sushi with sushi rice with a good consistency. The salmon filling does however, taste different to the pieces they serve as sashimi, with these ones tasting a little bit chewier.

Salmon Sushi Roll (10 pieces) - $13.90
One thing they do different here is the inclusion of a dab of mayonnaise inside the sushi along with the other fillings. It ensures the contents are moist, but to some it may taste a little strange with the soy sauce that sushi is usually dipped into prior to eating.

Salty and sweet combinations work like a miracle sometimes. Besides those times, they aren't always the best partners!

Beef Udon - $13.90
Even when you try to pick a relatively cheaper item from their menu, a bowl of udon here does not even come across as that. Honestly speaking, udon is udon, you can't really make it flashy and I'm waiting on the day I come across spectacular Udon. Which I suspect, would probably never come.

But what is different here that makes this pricier bowl more worth it is the meat. Whereas a lot of the time you will chopstick up pieces of thin, tasteless, chewy strings of beef in noodle soup, the beef included here is thick and juicy, minus the stringiness while plus the flavour.

Slightly more justifiable for a bigger priced but no-bigger-sized-bowl of udon.

Assorted Sashimi Large (18 pieces) - $29.90
So like most sashimi fanatics know, sashimi is a pretty good indicator of the overall quality of a Japanese restaurant. If it can deliver up fresh, good quality, velvety smooth raw fish that has you lusting after it, you've got yourself a pretty safe option.

The Assorted Sashimi comes in 3 sizes with a selection of the best creatures of the sea to consume raw. They all give a satisfying mouthful - firm, sweet and a heavenly moist, soft texture. The recognisable, vibrant coral colours of salmon and tuna alongside 2 other white fleshed fish (perhaps snapper or kingfish? Pffftt and I call myself a sashimi fanatic!), a few very limited pops of caviar and marinated octopus salad will set you back $30.

If you get the chance to try lobster sashimi, DO IT. For the love of God, do it.

Napkin Crane
Cranes for every seat on every table adds a nice touch of Japan to Hanami, as does the wooden furniture and kimono-wearing waitresses. You can imagine how big a portion crane folding becomes part of the staffs' job responsibilities here!

Relatively complex to fold, cranes look simple yet are such a powerful symbol of peace. Sadako And The Thousand Paper Cranes is a story told in my childhood that will stay with me forever and somewhat inspired my own ongoing mission of 1000 paper cranes.

And while I am about 600 short of my target, it is a privilege that I'm folding cranes for leisure, and not as a hope for life itself.


As one of the restaurants I come back to once in a while, Hanami delivers up good quality, fresh tasting Japanese fare. The food is tasty but if you are on a mission to dine out on a budget, you may find the upmarket pricing a little intimidating to your wallet. The pricing does accompany good portions however, I don't always feel inclined to come back here to satisfy my ongoing Japanese cravings.

Many perceive the seemingly downmarket ambiance does not match the upmarket prices, and I do agree the atmosphere is somehow a little bit cold. However what it lacks is made up for by attentive staff and prompt service in its noticeably always busy restaurant. It might feel a little restricted to be eating with a time limit too, as our 6pm dinner meant we had to be done and out by 7.30pm, so bookings are probably recommended for even 1 diner really!

With the aforementioned good service however, it comes down to where you're seated. Although all tables are thoughtfully fitted with personal buzzers to call for service, I question their efficiency. Hanami's full capacity means the restaurant overflows with patrons and tables right out into the dark carpark, where the ambiance drops to a big fat zero.

As much as I feared of being seated outside, you have no voice if you have no booking. After periods of waiting and spamming the buzzer multiple times to try get somebody's attention to make an order, it was convenient to leave unnoticed. Mount Lawley has flourished to a hot eating spot overtime, and Hanami seems to have maintained customers that are hot for it.

But for myself, I find that it is neither hot or cold. Hanami does alright, just not just right.

(08) 9371 9855
Mon - Fri Lunch: 11.30am to 2.30pm
Mon - Sun Dinner: 5.30pm to 10pm
Public Holidays: Dinner only or closed
So is it dinner or is it closed?


1 comment:

So what did you eat today?

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