Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Review: Ha-Lu

Ha-Lu is a wonderful, wonderful little Japanese restaurant in Oxford Street, just round the corner from The Paddington hotel in Leederville. It's not much from the outside and, truth to tell, not mind-blowing from the inside either, but the food, in all its hues and textures, is glorious. Ha-Lu spurns the entree-main-dessert habit and instead encourages diners to order several dishes each so that everyone at the table can dig in and be sociable. Sort of like a Japanese tapas.

The menu is extensive, as is the variety of sake, which can be ordered warm or cold. Our waitress suggested ordering ours warm and drinking it with the sashimi, which was a magnificent combination.

The sashimi was some of the best I've tasted in Perth. Thick slabs of salmon, tuna and mackerel that, once bitten into, retained its shape beautifully. A bit daunting for those new to sashimi, however.

Meals were in itty-bitty tasting portions so that everyone got just one sublime mouthful each. Which can be a little frustrating if you don't like your mouth being teased. We kept ordering more and more and, in the end, I think we ordered the whole menu. It was fab.

What we ate: Wagyu beef tataki; pork belly 'Kaku-ni'; Nigiri sushi; premium Dorper lamb cutlets; duck and aubergine with Madeira sauce; spicy ginger pork; sashimi; Patagonian toothfish nitsuke; foil-baked salmon; aubergine with soy dashi broth; karage chicken; prawn tempura; chocolate parfait; green tea/mango ice-creams.

What we drank: Hideyoshi sake (warm); Lenton Brae Semillon Sauvignon Blanc (2008)


Matt said...

You had the parfait ?? That abomination of a dessert ?!?

I think they lull you into it... all that fabulous food with such simple beautiful flavours so elegantly presented... and then a monstrous ice magic topped disaster zone of a dessert... I'm sure there's a hidden camera somewhere...

Lovely review though, this place is quite charming. The kakuni is on my "last meal" degustation menu.

Jennifer Susanto-Lee said...

Thanks Matt. I agree! I was completely soothed, and then there it was. Oh, and don't forget the smattering of Oreo bikkies! Bewildering.