- Combo Hinoki Seiro-mushi
We were off to an amazing start with a trio of entrees including Okonomiyaki, Gyoza and Karaage. The Okonomiyaki was an instant standout. The thick Japanese pancake was lightly fried and offered a crunchy, crisp outer. Within, the soft batter made with vegetables and octopus created a soft, textured experience that perfectly soaked up the beautiful mixture of okonomiyaki sauce and mayonnaise . With a generous helping of bonito flakes, this sweet and savoury street eat was one of the best we’ve come across outside of Japan.
The Gyoza didn’t disappoint either. The thin, crisp skin was pan fried to a perfect golden brown. Within, the pork was aptly sweet and incredibly tender and juicy. Meanwhile, the Karaage featured strips of fried chicken with a crunchy batter, lightly dressed with a soy garlic truffle sauce that added a hint of sweetness.
We then dug into a speciality at Hakaya, the Combo Hinoki Seiro-mushi. With a dizzying array of fresh, quality produce ranging from sliced Wagyu, scallops, prawns, crab and various vegetables and tofu, the generously sized bamboo box was a sight to behold. Carefully assumed by hand and steamed for eight minutes on your table, the beautifully fragrant sensation was tempting us long before it was ready for consumption. The tender beef was cooked just so, silky smooth and offering plenty of beefy flavour, perfectly paired by the dipping sauces. Meanwhile, the seafood was incredibly fresh, with the highlight being the crunchy pranws and juicy, succulent crab.
No Japanese meal can be complete without a Sukiyaki of course. The stunningly presented cast iron hot pot was filled to the brim with exceptionally marbled beef, accompanied by various mushrooms, veggies and tofu. This was all cooked on your table in a boiling sweet soy sauce broth that was rich and full of flavour. The aromatic experience was unparalleled, with the tender wagyu simply melting away in your mouth. For those looking for a more authentic experience, coating the slices of beef in raw egg yolk creates an unbeatable, silky texture. With the veggies soaking up the flavourful broth, we gradually slurped up the last of it with the thick Udon noodles.
Newly opened in the heart of the CBD, Hakaya Izakaya offers up an authentic taste of Japanese cuisine with a clear emphasis on quality. Their beautiful, fresh produce simply executed created a thoroughly delicious and memorable dining experience that’s hard to rival outside of Japan.
For some of the best Sukiyaki in Melbourne, Hakoya Izakaya is a must.
Would Penguin Eat Again?
Penguineats would like to thank Hakoya Izakaya for inviting us.