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111a Great Russell Street
Flashy Hakuba tries to court favour in the environs of Tottenham Court Road by offering plentiful supplies of groovy cocktails alongside its trendy Japanese food. Well-meaning staff keep things
rolling along, although reports suggest that they can be forgetful & even chaotic. Likewise, the food is rather hit & miss: readers have praised the skilful teriyaki dishes & the
glistening sashimi, served on beds of crushed ice, but other creations are more flawed, with ‘overpowering’ sauces often failing to impress. Given that exotic cocktails such as the yamakasi
(Stolichnaya, red chilli & grapes with Frangelico, honey syrup & lemon juice) are priced around £6, Hakuba is arguably a better choice for kicking off a night on the town – especially as
the food is served in rather ‘stingy’ portions.
111a Great Russell Street
Tottenham Court Road Tube Station 249m
Goodge Street Tube Station 515m
Dominion Theatre 63m
Companies House 124m
Mon-Fri 12N-3pm Mon-Sat 5-11pm (Fri-Sat -12M)
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 1
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.
Visited Hakuba 26/01/11, as a party of 6. Our booking was at 6pm, we arrived early, the waiter allowed us to sit in a booth on the side whilst a large party was finishing. The reason for the visit was a Living Social deal where 2 people can eat for £40. We had 3 vouchers.
Before visiting I had checked the website and noticed there was a special Malaysian chef which had cooked for the King of Malaysia. The Malaysian menu was very limited to three items. We were not offered this menu and had to ask the waiter to see it. Luckily I had seen this on the website otherwise I wouldn't have known about it.
We ordered some green tea to go with out meal. At £2 per person it wasn't any special tea, not tea leaves just a tea bag in a small pot, too small for 6 people. Throughout the whole meal we had to constantly ask the waiter for more hot water for the tea. There were times were we had gone for near 10 mins waiting for a waiter to pass.
For starter: exotic mushroom salad, the mushroom was earthy, however the salad dressing was salty and overpowered the mushroom's earthyness. Scallop summit maki roll was a avocado and crab maki roll with a “smelt roe sprinkle” on top. The scallops were hard to find, they has been chopped small. There was a creamy mayonnaise tasting topping on top which had looked like eggy topping. The cream topping was overpowering and had masked all of the seafood sweetness underneath. The soft shell crab roll had a tempura soft shell crab wrapped within. All of the maki rolls were not tightly wrapped enough as soon as you picked up a roll it fell apart. The sashimi platter was beautifully presented, the sashimi was presented on a bed of ice. The sashimi itself was cut thick and tasted fresh.
For mains: Grilled black cod, the cod was cooked well, it was soft and flaky. The cod did have a slight “fishy” note suggesting perhaps that the fish was not fresh enough. The miso-yuzu citrus sauce was overpowering and creamy. The sauce was thick and rather than the velvety texture you would expect. We tried the Hakuba pork ribs, as they were named after the restaurant itself, we thought it must have been worth trying. The ribs itself were so big, too big to eat with chopsticks without having sauce all over your face. The sauce is described as “flavourful light mayonnaise mix”. The sauce wasn't this, it was more heavy in mayonnaise flavour with ginger and onion tasting. The mayonnaise was just too much and too creamy that it overpowered everything and just left the mayonnaise taste in your mouth. We also had the grilled chicken teriyaki. Chicken teriyaki seems like a classic Japanese dish offered in many Japanese restaurants, simple but tasty. The chicken in this Hakuba version was cooked very well, the sauce need more of a teriyaki taste, it lack the punch and dept teriyaki sauce usually has. It was served with mashed potato which was a fusion twist, the mash was smooth and velvety and matched well. All of the mains were served with plain rice and miso soup. However towards the end of finished our main meals we had to ask the waiter where the soup was.
Once we had finished our meal, our empty plates were left on the table for at least 15 minutes before a member of staff came over to clear our table. However they had left 2 empty plates behind. Another 10 minutes had past when we asked a waitress to clean the other 2 plates. It's disappointing when you have to remind staff of their jobs. Another waitress had come over 10 minutes to wipe our table down, however she swept the crumbs off the table onto the carpet floor, with a ragged blue cloth. Surely, if you're marketing yourself as a restaurant with high standards and looking pristine and crisp, you would cover the blue rag with another white cloth so that customers wouldn't have to see that.
For dessert: molten green tea and chocolate cake. The cake did have a oozing middle and smelt delicious of freshly baked cake. It was missing the green tea flavour, it definately had the green tea colour but just lack enough flavour. The chawan; green tea flavour creme brulee was also missing the green tea flavour, the creme brulee itself was overcooked, the egg custard had potholes on the surface, underneath the caramelised sugar, showing signs of where the custard had been overcooked. Looking at the menu now, the creme brulee was meant to come with or without a red beans paste. Really? we were not offered this. I am a huge fan of red aduzki beans in Japanese desserts. I'm now disappointed in this.
As we were in a booth, we were out of view of the waiters, it seems that they had forgotten us in the corner, there were many times were we were waiting for a staff to pass so we could get their attention. Service was slow, it started well and friendly, it ended slow and non-existent. They even had the cheek to add 12.5% service charge.
If you are looking for a restaurant for sashimi then this may be the place for you. If you don't mind getting your hands a bit dirty and eating a bit messy go for the sushi rolls and the ribs. If you love mayonnaise then you'll be in luck, if you don't, then just stick to the sashimi.
Luckily I only had one Living Social deal so I won't need to go back there again. There are many other Japanese restaurants in London offering fresher tasting sushi and sashimi with more variety, and serves more authentic and better tasting main meals.
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