111a Great Russell Street
London WC1B 3NQ
0 20 7300 3250
We went to Hakuba after my choir concert. It was about 9pm and we were starving. As a result we ordered a mountain of food.
Hakuba is another of those modern Japanese restaurants, much like Nobu and Roka, and is situated in a very unimposing neighbourhood, a few steps away from Tottenham Court Road Tube Station. They have a bar, which caters for the theatre going crowd that this restaurant obviously tries to attract. The décor is rather dark, and the emphasis seems to be on the bar than the restaurant.
As mentioned, we ordered a ton of food. Oddly, our maki rolls all came individually, instead of as a huge platter as would other similar restaurants. Hence, our table quickly filled up with plates of food, attracting a lot of attention from the table next to ours.
Our Scallop Summit, which was oven-baked scallops layered on our south beach maki with a smelt roe sprinkle, looked absolutely shocking. There was nothing delicate about the presentation, as the words ‘layered’ and ‘sprinkle’ would suggest. It was as if a baby regurgitated his dinner over our sushi rolls. Thankfully it tasted far better than it looked.
My general impression of the maki rolls was that they were all competent. Nothing wowed me, and nothing showed that the restaurant took a lot of pride in their food. The Kanzashi, which was a sashimi selection wrapped in a cucumber like a maki roll was drenched in a sauce that didn’t need to be there, and the cucumber was sliced too thickly.
We also ordered calamari age, which was basically deep fried calamari. This was a huge serving of calamari, and if it had tasted good we wouldn’t grumble about the size – but it didn’t. It was rubbery and slightly too cold. The greatest travesty of the night was the Kani No Su. The dish was just soft shelled crab piled on top of some noodles that used to be crispy. There was a dreadful sauce poured over the crab, which gave it a weird tangy taste. Definitely the worst soft shelled crab we have ever had.
If that wasn’t bad enough, our Ikura sushi (salmon roe) was absolutely foul. It was so bad that A had to spit it out.
Perhaps the highlight of the meal was the grilled black cod. This was quite nice and far cheaper than what the likes of Nobu and Roka charge for theirs.
Overall, nothing was particularly spectacular about the food at Hakuba. In fact, some of the dishes we had were quite appalling. We’ve had much better food at Nobu and Roka, but having said that, those places are much more expensive than Hakuba is. The food there is definitely meant to be shared, which probably makes it an ideal choice for a not too expensive dinner with a group of friends. Just don’t order the appalling ones which we had.