Sunday, May 22, 2011

花之家 - (Hananoya)

The Chef of 花之家 is one of my more respected chef encounters eating around Japanese restaurants.   Sharing linkage to his home base of Hokkaido in Japan,  which is pretty much the same case with the head chefs at  Tensho (天勝) and Sushi Sase (鮨佐瀬),   Hana-san’s cuisine is half based on general Japanese cuisine,  but  look carefully and you’ll notice he has never forgotten about his original Hokkaido heritage and still pays homage to the theme of a well structured, true Hokkaido styled dinner cuisine.   So much so that  he adheres to the regional Hokkaido spellings of certain dishes hardly used in the rest of the main Japanese continent.    My previous lunch here was their  幕の內弁当 @ Hananoya, a experience that was slightly over-priced vs the average quality.   But having visited the chef’s old shop before,  I guess it is dinner time when he really thrives with his recipes. 

I still find it slightly over-priced during dinner versus it’s peers however.  But that’s the premium you must be willing to pay if you want to experience authentic Hokkaido 鄉土料理 cuisine  -   not to be confused with 家庭料理, which means another thing altogether but somehow often associated with this shop for some unknown reason..

おとし -
An appetizer of bean curd and ふき (菜蕗).  Refreshing..

谷中生姜 (Japanese Young Ginger Roots) -
A special type of young Japanese imported ginger root, eaten with a miso based dip.  This was refreshing without being too spicy.   Similar to a 子薑 but with a different DNA  ~  10/10

Shochu -
Recommended by shop.  Not bad.

そら豆鞘焼き (Grilled Fava Bean) -
蚕豆 is offered during every spring/summer here, which is the same in French restaurants so this is merely more than coincidence!   Eaten like a salted Edamame but only larger  ~  9/10

山わさび -
This whitish type of Wasabi plant is representational of Hokkaido cuisine, and sits somewhere between a green wasabi plant and a horseradish plant.   A usual item featured in Hokkaido cuisine –  green wasabi purists often look upon this with disdain as its used in 練りワサビ.   I have no problems with this as long as it compliments the food!!

桜鱒 ルイベ  (Frozen Hokkaido Spring Trout) -
A famous Hokkaido dish, according to well trained and personal friends of know-how Japanese sushi chefs having a discussion about this topic.  This was actually invented by Hokkaido Aborigines by accident, it’s a type of  北海度 郷土料理 only found in certain regions in Hokkaido but not usually served at top end sushi shops.   Hokkaido is famous for their cooked or raw salmon & trouts,  but back in the days someone discovered that Salmon/Trouts carry either parasites or ring-worms.   Freezing the Salmon/Trout by burying it into very cold snow-piles apparently solved this problem of recurrent stomach upsets.    Modern servicing of Japanese Salmons learned from this traditional technique therefore freeze their Salmon to beyond –55C (or -60C for Hon-Maguro Tuna, due to the extra fat layer) in order to kill off any nasty worms and parasites.    This is also the reason why Raw Salmon is becoming popular again throughout Japan nowadays, due to a variety of reasons – Japanese locals who’ve studied abroad have come to love this raw red fish, or those who’ve opened up their mind to this Hokkaido based delicacy lately.   Served with the above presented Whitish Wasabi imported straight from Hokkaido.  It’s lovely, and exquisite to find…  ~  8.5/10

ふきと鯛の子の煮物  (Snapper Sperm Sac with Celery-like 菜蕗) -
Broth cooked 鯛の子 is simlar to Cod Sperm-sac 白子, except this is from a different fish and much more of a Spring dish.  Eaten with the fragrant spring vegetable of 菜蕗! 
Lovely ~  8/10

菜の花 てんぷら (Spring Broccoli Flower Tempura styled) -
This young flower is fried then served like any tempura.  A very seasonal offering ~ 

うど天婦羅  (A type of Root Vegetable, Fried) -
Famous in Kyoto during late Spring and early Summer, this reminds me of something between a burdock root vegetable and yam.  To be served with salt and lime.  ~  9/10

牛タンの塩焼き (Grilled Salted Ox-Tongue) -
The thinner type, but made well.  Seasoned to its intents ~  8/10

つくね (Minced Chicken with Cartilage) -
With a smoky sauce, but not enough of the cartilage crunchiness I’d wanted. 
There are a few other shops in town which does this better ~   6/10

鮎の一夜干し (Ayu Sweetfish sliced opened and Dried for One Night, Grilled) -
Served with pickled Hajikami red ginger.  There are those in the camp who argue that Ayu Fish should always be grilled as fresh as possible and NOT butterflied in cut or been previously salted.  But then again, why are Japanese kitchens making this version anyway, you should ask!   It is because the overnight drying intensifies the watermelon flavour of the fish and its organs, much like what Dry-Aging does to a chunk of beef muscle.   They also serve the fresh type here, if you insist on eating it more fresh, & un-aged  ~  8/10

子持ち やりいか煮 (Grilled Spear Squid with Eggs) -
During in-season, the pointy Spear Squid is filled with its own eggs, the latter is transparent and quite protein like.   Cooked perfectly, this was certainly a delicacy I’ve yet to find anywhere else ~  9/10

Home Made Ume-Shu (Plum Wine) -
I usually make my own Umeshu each year, and with this to compare, I think this tasting of the 花の家 version made me realised how great this could become when it’s made properly.  I’ll just have to work a little harder with my own formulae !!   ~    10/10

Melon from Shizuoka, Japan -
Sweet and very Japanese in taste.   One takes for granted how good a melon can taste, but this is as good as it will ever get.  AMAZING piece of fruit.  But then again, kudos only to the Farmers rather than the Restaurant itself,  the latter needed to do nothing other than importing and slicing it   ~  9/10

Price:  $400 Per Person + 10%
Score:  ♕♕♕♕ 1/2

Address: 尖沙咀寶勒巷10號2樓
2/F, 10 Prat Avenue, Tsim Sha Tsui
Ph: 2366 7128



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