29 October 2010
Hanabishi @ 187 King Street, Melbourne
In past years, Hanabishi has been regarded as one of Melbourne’s leading Japanese restaurants. Unfortunately, it appears that the zenith of Hanabishi has long passed.
The general consensus among reviews of Hanabishi is that the Wagyu beef is superb, so AL and I decided to share the two Wagyu lunch specials - the Wagyu Terriyaki Beef Set and the Wagyu Japanese Steak Set.
Both lunch sets contained miso soup, a small appetiser consisting of a large meat ball in a sweet, briny broth and a plate of Wagyu pieces arranged on a bed of fresh greens and cherry tomatoes. The miso soup was very standard, but it did contain cubes of noticeably silky tofu. However, I was mildly thrown off by the pleasantly flavoured, but texturally challenged, mushy meat ball.
Japanese restaurants can generally be measured by the quality of their sashimi and Wagyu beef. The accompanying sauces for the Wagyu were palatable, but the chefs at Hanabishi had committed the sacrilegious act of overcooking the Wagyu beef. As a result, the beef was tough and failed to exhibit any of the melt in the mouth tenderness typical of a quality piece of Blackmores Wagyu Beef. Simply put, the chefs had managed to skillfully butcher the Wagyu beef.
At $36, the Wagyu lunch sets are deficient in both quality and quantity, disappointingly ranking inferior to the lunch sets offered at other city Japanese restaurants such as Kenzan, Shoya, Yu-U, Hako and Horoki.