Despite enjoying a nice meal at Koko a few days prior, we needed more quality Japanese food to erase the nightmare of a meal at Kawawa. I think it'll take me awhile before I recover psychologically from that meal. I wonder if there is such thing as a food shrink? Being that we were already on the North Shore, we headed up to upper Lonsdale in search of Hachi Hana. Interestingly, I already knew what the front of the restaurant already looked like since I looked it up on Google Street View. I must say this is a handy tool; yet creepy at the same time. I looked up some friends' houses and boy, I felt almost stalkerish. We got there at 11:45am and the door was open, so we strolled in. Apparently they were not open even though it said they opened at 11:30am. It seems that they changed their opening hour to 12:00pm. So instead of waiting in the pouring rain, we waited in the car. This sushi better be worth the wait and trouble!!! I was so tempted to go next door to the new location of Tamarind Hill and the other Japanese restaurant - Kokoro.
When we finally made it in there, I was surprised how small the place was. There is a table at the front that seats 2 people; but barely. The table we were at wasn't anymore spacious. It was tough to get into my seat since the table next to us was less only a foot away. However, I needed to sit there, it was the only one near the window! Looking over the menu, I noticed that the prices were quite reasonable, especially the bento boxes. Viv decided on the most expensive box which included green salad, tempura, dynamite roll, 4pcs nigiri and 4 pcs sashimi. I went for a Unagi Cone, Spicy Prawn Cone and 1/2 of a Futomaki. We got the requisite Chicken Udon for the kiddies.
Viv's bento box arrived first and the sashimi looked and tasted quite fresh. No mushy fish here. I actually removed the Dynamite Roll from the box to take a picture of it. I tried to take it in the box, but all I could see was rice and sesame seeds. Unacceptable! The roll was pretty good, rice was the right consistency being soft with whole grains while not being mushy. Despite what you see in the picture, the tempura was not not over-battered. It was crispy, hot and perfectly fried. We liked the addition of a green bean since we don't often get this.
My 2 sushi cones arrived next and they were filled with plenty of ingredients. First of all, they looked nice and secondly they tasted quite good. I found that the Spicy Dynamite Cone was really not all that hot; rather, it was more sweet than anything. It didn't detract from the cone itself; but if you were looking for spicy, this is not it. The Unagi Cone was stuffed full of unagi, pickled ginger and crunchy cucumber. It was a nice contrast of textures and flavours, with the ginger giving a nice kick. I also got 1/2 of a Futomaki Roll and this one was rolled tightly and full of ingredients once again. I emphasize the "tightly" because if not done right, the thing falls apart since it's so large. As you can see in the picture, lots of imitation crab, tomago, oshinko, cucumbers and shiitake mushrooms. I liked that there was not too much rice in their rolls either.
The kiddies split a Chicken Udon and well, it was an udon. The soup base was quite flavourful; however, I found the udon a bit on the soft side. Actually the kids like it soft, so it all worked out. Another solid Japanese meal! How about that? My faith has now been restored! I think the
meals at Koko and Hachi Hana have exorcised the demons of Kawawa. The sun is shining again, the grass is green, birds are singing and people are driving safely in Richmond (okay, let's not get carried away here). Bottom line, the food was fresh and prepared properly. Prices were reasonable and the service was friendly. The place might be small and unassuming; but I'd eat here again.
- Food is fresh and prepared properly
- Prices are reasonable
- Service is friendly
- Seating is a bit tight
- Not good for big groups