Keeping with the theme of exploring our new ‘hood, we decided to check out Hana-JuRin, the sister restaurant of Ju-Rin just down the road. The first thing we notice as we walk in is the chef standing behind a teppan on the side of the restaurant, preparing some okonomiyaki. While it’s a small restaurant, there is still room for a small sushi bar at the back and diners can choose to sit in front of the teppan, at the sushi bar or on regular tables around the restaurant.
The menu is split up into sections like sushi and sashimi, salad, grill, steamed dishes, tempura and rice and noodles as well as having some set menus. We decide to go a la carte tonight, with some items from the teppan grill section which we can see being cooked right in front of us.
The first dish is straight off the teppan – a plate of grilled enoki, shimeji, oyster and king brown mushrooms with bean sprouts. They’re cooked with a liberal dousing of soy sauce and served with a lemon wedge and they have an earthy flavour with some of the mushrooms being almost meaty. The waitress also brings out 3 dipping sauces and it seems like the sesame sauce is the table favourite.
The sake steamed white clams arrives next with the clams sitting in a light, cloudy broth. The steaming in sake brings out a subtle sweetness in the clam meat which we extract from the shells until there is only a bowl of clam shells left. It’s a pure and simple dish and while the flavours are subdued it’s still very tasty.
Sir D feels like tonkatsu so we order the Kurobuta pork tonkatsu which ends up being a pretty small serving. However, it’s got a nice crisp crumbing on the outside and the meat is succulent with a little bit of the fat retained for flavour. Even though it’s a delicious serve of tonkatsu I’m not sure that it warrants the price tag, especially since there were only about 6 pieces.
The sukiyaki is a piping hot plate of thinly sliced beef, tofu and vegetables that have been cooked in soy, mirin and sugar for some extra sweetness. I’m saddened that it’s not cooked at our table but we’re still given an egg for dipping the meat and vegetables into. It doesn’t look like too much but looks can be deceiving and it seems like the dish is neverending (in a good way!). The beef is definitely the star being juicy and tender with a beautiful sweet flavour from the sauce.
We watch our okonomiyaki being cooked in front of us before it’s served with okonomiyaki sauce, squiggles of Japanese mayo and dancing bonito flakes. It’s packed with chopped vegetables and very filling though the pork sort of gets lots of the mish mash of things and any flavour of pork is overpowered by the sauce.
This was without a doubt my favourite dish of the night and one that I would order again and again. The beef tongue steak arrives on a hotplate not looking quite like the thin slices of beef tongue that I’m accustomed to eating. Instead, it looks exactly like a chunks of beef steak and it’s not until you eat it that you realise this is no ordinary steak. The tongue is oh so juicy and tender with a slight chewiness which is the only thing that alerts you to the fact that it’s not normal steak. I can’t but keep going back for more and more of the chunks of fatty beef tongue and secretly wished we ordered another plate of it.
I was expecting a little more than half an eggplant for the price but I do love my eggplant with miso and it doesn’t disappoint. The criss cross of miso paste is super flavoursome and brings life to the soft eggplant beneath it. We demolish the whole thing, skin and all.
Hana-JuRin is teppanyaki minus the theatrics, which means you can focus solely on the food. While it’s not particularly cheap, they offer some deliciously well-cooked food straight from the teppan, including premium wagyu steak for the meat lovers. And now I know exactly where I can go around my area to get my beef tongue fix if I ever need to!
Shop 1, 300 Pacific Highway
Crows Nest NSW 2065
Ph: +61 2 9966 5833
Open for lunch: Thursday to Sunday, noon to 2.30pm
Open for dinner: Tuesday to Sunday, 6pm to 10pm
Minimum order $30pp