Hanabi @ Odeon Towers

Japanese are really good at stone garden sculpting.

Bamboo grove sends you to tranquility.

Modern Japanese dining interior

My bro and I were craving for some Japanese buffet, but Sakae Sushi standards just wouldn't make the mark for us anymore. Thus we decided to up our buffet a bit more and pay a visit to Hanabi at Odeon Towers.

The ambiance is really nice. Side tables are situated near the entrance where one can view the beautiful exterior designed for the strong Japanese dinning feel. The interior is brightly lit and sufficiently spaced. If you prefer a more quiet spot, there are bar seats where you can view the chefs at work. Even chat with them and ask for recommendations.

Chawamushi (Steam Egg Custard)

Chawamushi here is really nice. Soft and smooth. Taste is creamy and savory. Too bad they come in such small tea cups. I had to order more to eat my fill.

Sashimi Moriawase (Mix Platter)

Consist of Tuna, Salmon and Yellowtail sashimi. Sashimi is relatively fresh and flesh is sweet. Tuna is really fresh. The tuna batch much be really good.

California Maki (Crabstick / Avocado)
Spider Maki (Soft Shell Crab)

I'd have to admit that Hanabi strengths isn't its sushi or maki. As seen above the maki is poorly done. The roe is badly distributed and practically falls apart when lifted off the plate. Big minus for presentation. Thank goodness taste wise is still acceptable.

Yaki Niku (Beef Teppan Sauce)

This is really good. Honestly I don't know which portion of the beef did this cut come from. It was a complimentary dish from the chef. The beef is seared on the outside, yet tender in the inside. Too bad it complimentary or I would have ordered more.

Agedashi Tofu (Fried Beancurb with Soy-based Sauce)

I love the Agedashi Tofu served in Hanabi. It comes off clean and clear. Just the way I love my tofu to be. The sauce is faintly salty with a hint of sweetness, goes really well when pair with the tofu. Some places use too much corn flour for the coating, resulting in a sticky starchy layer, destroying the simple flavours of this dish.

Chuka Iidako (Seasoned Baby Octopus)

Though above average. The sesame oil was a bit too much for this retention by Hanabi. The baby octopus were really crunchy. Nice.

Zaru Soba (Chilled Buckwheat Noodles)

The Zaru Soba is rather disappointing. The noodles are rather brittle and coarse. In addition, the dipping sauce was a bit too salty for my liking. I never forgot my Japanese friend's dad soba, so smooth and dipping sauce is salty with a sweetness kick. Apparently he was a chef. Thus my high standards on soba.

Tempura Moriawase
(Prawns and Vegetables Fritters)

The Tempura Moriawase is a mixed of tempura. 2-4 prawns accompanied with brinjal, sweet potato and lady finger. The prawn here is not bad. The batter is light and crisp. Goes really well with the tempura dripping sauce, though I prefer it a bit sweeter. It would have been better if the layers of the tempura were more, giving tempura its unique crunch and texture.

Ebi Furai (Prawns)

Similar to the ebi tempura, but the use of batter is substituted with bread crumbs instead. Compared to the tempura, is less oily. However, I prefer the tempura version. As the light batter is appealing, especially after dipping the special sauce.

Tonkatsu (Breaded Pork Cutlet)

Rather average. Incomparable to other restaurants. Cutlet is a bit too dry for my liking.

Sakana Furai (Cream Dory)

Rather disappointing. The fish fillets were so thinly slice that it doesn't feel like those frozen fish fillets from the supermarket. Give this a miss.

Sakana Furei (Breaded Salmon)

Similar to the previous one, but the use to salmon instead of dory. This is rather average too. The similar problem is over frying resurfaces, resulting in a dry flesh. Order the teriyaki version instead.

Tori Karaage (Bite-sized Chicken)
Average. Not too dry or over seasoned.

Shishamo Furai (Japanese Capelin)

The Shishamo is rather nice in the alternate form, instead of the more common grilled version. The breadcrumbs added texture and crunch to the party. However, the addition of oil and breadcrumbs to adsorb the oils has also made this rather greasy. Those who are more health conscious should avoid.

Kabocha Korokke (Pumpkin Croquette)

Instead of potato, the use of pumpkin is used inside. Really ingenious of them. The heat of the bubble oil really brings out the natural sugars of the pumpkin. Also pumpkin is more healthier compared to potato. Up taste factor and nutrients. Two birds with one stone. I wonder if a sweet potato or yam version will surface soon in the near future.

Saba Shioyaki (Mackerel with Salt)

The best. As in cream of the crop. This dish is good enough for revisits. The mackerel is grilled to perfection with crispy skin and oily flesh. Coarse sea salt is sprinkled on the surface to add flavour. I just can stop having this. Lots of Omega 3 fatty acids. Who says one can't enjoy greasy food without being health.

Sake Teriyaki (Salmon with Sweet Soy Sauce)

Sake Teriyaki is tender, but taste wise is average. If only they marinated their fish before hand. As the flesh is bland.The over reliance of the sauce smeared on the top, just doesn't bring this dish up to mark.

Kushi Moriawase
(Skewer Platter - Chicken, Capelin and Mushroom)

Chicken is tender and slightly charred (in a good way). Brings out the smoky goodness of the grilled chicken. The Shishamo is all excellent, though a bit drier then my perfectness. The shishamo plum and filled with roe, burst open when you bite into them. Mushroom is just dry grilled over the charcoal. Giving it a slight smoking taste, not overly done or too dry.

Tebasaki (Mid-joint Chicken Wings)

The grilled chicken wings are really good too. Tendered and juicy. Though a slight longer grill would be better. As the skin wasn't as crisp as I come to expect. Small piece of lemon to rip the oiliness and add a slight acidity.

Buta Koshoyaki (Pork Belly with Pepper Sauce)

Another great hit. The pork belly are real tender and has a slight marbling of fat. On top of that it is slice really thinly. Imagine get a heap of strings of pork belly and munch in within your mouth. As the natural juice and pepper sauce mix in harmony in your mouth. Heavenly. My brother's only complain was that he did not over rice to go with this.

Ninniku Yaki Meshi (Garlic Fried Rice)

Thus problem solved. We ordered rice. The garlic fried rice is really fragrant. I detected a slight bitterness, due to over frying of the garlic. However its still acceptable. Dragon's breadth for you?


Cola Float

Got some vouchers, thus the redemption of the two drinks. Theses are not in the buffet menu.

Laughing man stole my identity.

Saw the cast of Sayang Sayang. Lucky me took a picture with Michelle Chong.

Overall I find Hanabi with some hits and misses. Samashi are fresh, nigiri and maki are average but suffer poor presentation, agemono (deep fried) hits are their prawns but suffer poor meat dishes. What really shines are their yakimono (grilled) and ippin mono (popular dishes). Therefore plan properly before ordering.

The service wise is good and prompt. However, as the office workers flock in to dine. The service would slow down a bit, but still relatively acceptable. I love the way food portions are done. Sushi and maki clearly state their serving portions. Grilled and tempura items are all portion to be single servings, even rice and noodle items are relatively small but sufficient. Thus one can really control the serving portions. Allowing me to plan carefully and reserve extra space for other good eats.

Hanabi Restaurant and Sake Bar
331 North Bridge Road
#01-04 Odeon Towers
Singapore 188720
Tel: 6338 6626
Website: http://www.hanabi.com.sg/

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July 22, 2009 at 11:12 PM

ooo... That place looks very nice, the feel is very high class-ish. Not bad wo, you get to meet Michelle Chong :D