Hayashi Japanese Restaurant located on Ogilvie Road in Applecross has been around for ages! I remembered having a joint birthday dinner there a fair number of years back. Memories of the dinner were great company, good food but stark ambiance. The lack of warmth in the restaurant had always been the main factor in preventing me from heading back whenever family and friends have suggested dinner there. When I received an invitation to check out the restaurant, I was initially reluctant to attend but then thought to give it another go, maybe things have changed! Rightly so, as we were informed by the friendly manager, Jason that Hayashi is now under new management, taken over by a couple of the existing kitchen staff when the owner sold the place. They have also appointed a new Head Chef. I was excited to check out the new Hayashi!
It was not too busy when we arrived but by the time we settled in, the restaurant was almost full. It was nice to see the place buzzing. Some thoughts have definitely gone into decorating the place, paintings, decors, warm lighting and soft music. Not as stark as I remembered. Nice!
We started with drinks and I was offered one of their specialty cocktail, the Autumn Moon ($9). Hakushika sake, Cassis liquer with lime juice. It was surprisingly sweet. Sis had a Lemon Lime Bitters. Hayashi is licensed but we did not feel like any alcohol, tea for us thanks 🙂 Having said that, I didn’t fail to notice their wide range of alcoholic drinks, red and white wines, spirits and liqueurs, ciders and Japanese sake, the lot!
The Miso Soup ($4.50) came not long after the drinks and was very welcoming.
Then the feasting began! For entree, it was the Sashimi Boat, freshly sliced raw fish served with wasabi and soy sauce. The Sashimi Boat proved to be popular among the guests as I see boat after boat coming out from the kitchen. A mixed sashimi boat range from $20 for a small to $37.50 for a large. There are a number of different fish found in the boat but the types of fish are never the same as it depends on the availability in the market. Fish are sourced locally. On the night we savored some salmon, king fish, snapper, tuna, scallop and octopus. They were very fresh! Love it! Love the presentation too!
Next came a few small dishes of appetizer:
- Gyoza ($16) – pan fried Japanese pork dumplings with ponzu sauce and chili falkes. I was informed this is one of the more popular dishes with customers. I can imagine so as I love them too!
- Grilled Mackarel with Japanese dressing – this entree is one of their specials (not found in the usual dinner menu). I would have loved this dish had it not been such a difficult task to eat it! There were many bones embedded in the flesh. One has to be quite careful when eating this. No talking preferably! The sauce was a delight!
- Grilled squid – another special which I hope they include permanently in the menu as this was delicious. Char-grilled squid, flavorsome but tender. The flavors of the squid came through intensely from the grill. My favorite!
For mains, we tried:
- Katsu Chicken ($19.50) – it was pointed out that Hayashi uses a special breadcrumb that is a grade higher than what you would normally find in other restaurants. Not sure whether we were affected psychologically after that piece of information as we thought the chicken was extra crunchy! Nevertheless it was yummy! Decent in size too!
- Mixed sushi consisting of Prawn Nigiri, Salmon Nigiri and Spider Roll. The cooked Salmon Nigiri was my favorite as I loved the charred taste that you get from scorching the salmon with a flame.
- YakiUdon ($19.50) – stir fried udon with beef and vegetables. We were terribly full by now but were presented with this huge plate of udon noodles! Not wanting to be rude, we had a taste but wished we didn’t as it was really good as well! The udon has the charred taste (wok hei) to it which is so rare to find. Couldn’t resist getting a few more bites!
When I thought I couldn’t fit anymore in, the desserts came! Argh! It was hard to resist! Tofu Cheesecake ($12.50)! It sounded so different that my heart said go ahead while my stomach said stop. I’m glad the heart won out as it was another great dish. Light and refreshing, it was like eating soy bean pudding but with a twist of saltiness from the cheese and crumbly base. I would come back to Hayashi just for this!
We also had the Green Tea Ice Cream with Azuki (red bean) paste ($9.50). There is another dessert I really wanted to try but was too full, the Black Sesame Pudding. Love all things black sesame! I have to wait till next time!
The dinner at Hayashi blew us away as we (me especially) didn’t realize it had improved so much since the last time I ate there. Jason and his staff were very attentive to the table and I see similar services shown to other guests in the restaurant. Most of them seemed to be regular from the way they were greeted.