While sushi trains and food court kiosks are abundant in shopping centres, sushi bars however are a small niche that seemed exclusive to high-end Japanese restaurants.
Finding Hukuya, a hidden gem in Eastwood was my first step in my endeavours for sushi bar dining style.
The first thing you need to know about Hukuya is that you should most definitely
book. The second is; bring cash. The restaurant is quite small and intimate, certainly reminiscent of the small sushi bars in Japan.
The restaurant can possibly seat a maximum of about 25 people and with the increasing popularity of the restaurant, walk-ins are likely to be turned away. However, with at least a couple of days’ notice, you’ll be accommodated.
The Miso soup for me is a must have with sushi – not for any cultural reason but simply out of habit.
It’s just not the same without a bowl of Miso to warm you up with a savory swig. This miso was pretty standard but there weren’t any particular expectations to begin with.
|Tempura Soft Shell Crab|
The tempura soft shell crab arrives piping hot and looking beautifully crispy. The batter itself is quite light and isn’t too thick on the delicate pieces of soft shell crab. The crab itself is quite fresh and has a natural salt flavour that goes nicely with the sweet soy dipping sauce that accompanies the dish. The serving size is deceptively big. A certain favourite whenever we visit Hukuya.
Of course we couldn’t help ourselves and ordered chicken karaage. Each bite sized piece looked lovely and crispy. Beware of your first bite; it’s usually searing hot and extremely juicy. You’re often in a limbo of being satisfied of the juiciness of the chicken whilst being burned for your enthusiasm.
There is the perfect balance of crunch to tenderness and although it’s piping hot, there is instant soothing relief from the comforting kewpie served on the side.
The small slaw also served on the side also adds a sweet and fresh relief from the salty chicken, however I find that the portion size is a little on the smaller side for my liking. But the dish overall was great.
Presented in the most specific gyoza serving plate, we were served perfect parcels of crunchy dumplings. The slightly salty and vinegary sauce didn’t overpower the strength of the dish overall but brought out the nice meaty fillings.
Although a lovely dish, the gyoza was overshadowed by its companions as there was nothing about it that gave it an edge.
Breaking our orders of brown coloured dishes was the piece de resistance of our evening and the main reason we keep coming back to this particular sushi bar; the sashimi boat.
The deluxe boat features 34 pieces of sashimi and served in generous portions.
The usual favourites of kingfish, tuna and salmon decorate the boat alongside squid and octopus options.
Below the primary items are the fattier ‘toro’ counterparts offering a more luxurious melt-in-your-mouth alternative to the leaner fish.
Although the simple sashimi boat may not look like much, the freshness that Hukuya has to offer is to be marvelled. The quality of the fish, as well as all the other dishes, are hard to come by at such a reasonable price in this neck of the woods and therefore so cherished by its locals.
The service is very polite in what can be such stressful conditions in a busy but extremely small restaurant, packed full of people, and a cash only venue.
Although the restaurant gets thoroughly busy for dinner, the lunch option isn’t too overwhelming and I believe walk-ins are more flexible at this time of day.
Definitely check out Hukuya as an alternative to sushi train if you’re in the area.
It’s been one of our favourites for the last 4 years; we’ve found consistency, freshness and delight upon every visit. Although small, the restaurant certainly has a knack for quality and we appreciate every bit of it.
Written by Jay Santiago (@the.eatventures)