18 November 2012
I went to Hakuba on a Saturday night at 7pm. Given the location, i had expected the restaurant to be full, but there must have only been about 20 people in a restaurant that could easily sit 100. Therefore the atmosphere was nice and quiet, which was a welcome surprise. I had read, however, that it was better suited for customers to its bar. Although, when we arrived at 7 and left at 9, the bar was empty.
In terms of the food, we ordered a sashimi platter, some maki rolls, and then a main each. The sashimi was nice and thick, presented rather elegantly. However, it was presented on a bowl of ice, and although the majority of the sashimi were fine to eat, a few pieces were slightly frozen in the middle from being on the ice too long. Given that it took us about 5 minutes to finish the dish, i can only assume that it wasn't as fresh as we expected.
The maki were actually fine, in relative terms. Each piece was large, and served with a cocktail stick, which made it slightly easier to eat, because they had a tendency to fall apart after the first bite.
The mains were by far the worst dish on the menu. I had ordered the Baked Zinger Scallops, which was a bed of rice, with scallops on top, covered in Aonori flakes. Curiously, when you removed the flakes, all you actually got was a big bowl of baked rice, very little sauce, and two scallops, chopped up small, and strategically placed across the bowl.
My friends had ordered some Teriyaki dishes, which were no different to what you get from Wasabi, albeit double the price.
I thought that the service was very poor. We were sat in the middle of the restaurant, so the staff could see us from every corner of the restaurant. However, it was difficult to attract their attention, and when we did, half of them would tell us that they will find someone else for us. Of course, they didn't, so we would have to attract someone else's attention. The drinks seemed to take about 15 minutes to arrive, and empty plates were left on our table for about 10 minutes after both courses.
Before we had ordered, a table opposite from us had used the taste card to get a discount, and fortunately one of us had the card. We showed the waitress that we had this taste card, to which she acknowledged, so we ordered extra food, on the premise that we'd get some discount. However, come the end of the evening, the waitress had conveniently forgotten, and we were told that because we'd booked the reservation online, we'd forfeited the taste card discount because of the 100 Square meal points that i received. The manager then confirmed that they couldn't add the discount for this reason. For a table of 4, the chances of getting a seat at a restaurant in central London at 7pm on a Saturday are very slim. Therefore a reservation is almost essential, and certainly so given Hakuba's location of just around the corner from Tottenham Court Rd station.
So to summarise, it's a restaurant where you can happily enter on a Saturday evening, and you can have a table for 2 to 10 people without any need to book ahead. But that probably tells you everything you need to know about Hakuba.