Sunday, December 25, 2011

Hapa Umi


I have been to Hapa Izakaya and my experience there was pretty good. Since Hapa Umi is the higher-end sister restaurant, I had rather high expectations for the food and service. I'm happy to report that I was not let down. As soon as we were seated, the waitress came over with hot towels and asked us what we'd like to drink. We asked for hot tea which I had expected to come with a charge (since a lot of high-end Japanese restaurants charge for green tea) but turned out to be complimentary. I remember the sushi being a bit weak at Hapa Izakaya, but I was quite impressed by the sushi here partly due to the presentation. From top to bottom, we had the Seoul roll ($13), Umi roll ($15), Hapa roll ($13) and saba battera sushi ($9). They were all delicious and the 3 rolls were particularly innovative. My personal favourite was the Umi roll because of the refreshing pickled onions on top. I was surprised that I liked it most because I thought it would be just like a regular California roll, but the crab meat was extremely fresh and sweet. The Seoul roll was interesting as well with beef and hot sauce, but it was a bit too spicy for my tolerance level. The saba battera was good but not as impressive as the one at Sushi Hachi, especially since the rice was too loosely packed and fell apart easily when I tried to pick it up with my chopsticks. The overall presentation was great though, and the ingredients were all really fresh.


I was about to get something boring like salmon or tuna sashimi, but then I saw trout carpaccio ($13) on the menu. Trout turned out to be rather similar to smoked salmon except the flavour was sweeter and milder. It tasted great with the crispy potatoes and edamame. The wasabi sour cream was also quite interesting.


I was a bit surprised to find bacon and kimchi ishiyaki ($12) on the menu because I've always associated hot stone bowl rice with Korean cuisine. The rice tasted ok, but I found it too wet and soggy.


The highlight of the meal was the yuzu tart ($9.50) dessert. On first bite, the filling tasted like lemon with a tart citrusy flavour. But after letting it melt in my mouth without hurriedly swallowing, the yuzu flavour came through beautifully and spread across my tongue. The blackberry sorbet was slightly tart as well with a strong fruity flavour and a creamy texture. Combined with fresh fruits and vanilla bean infused chantilly cream, this was truly a gourmet dessert.


Service was great and the food definitely lived up to my expectations. Although prices were a bit high, I would still recommend trying this place at least once.

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2 comments:

Peter on December 29, 2011 1:41 am said...

Woah, Hapa's (all this time, I thought it was two p's!) diversified into the sushi restaurant business? Good for Justin, sounds like he's doing really well!

I'll have to check this place out :)

krispymilk on December 29, 2011 2:07 am said...

@Peter: I highly recommend the dessert. You have to let it melt in your mouth to taste the yuzu flavour though. Otherwise it tastes just like lemon. I've read some negative reviews about how service is bad when it's busy, but I found it alright. The sushi is good but not spectacular. Thumbs up for the presentation though.

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