Hanabi has opened a new outlet at Katong Mall. They also boast a new and expanded buffet menu of over 100 items, now also including kushiyaki (grilled items on skewers) and kushiage (deep-fried items on skewers) items. Lunch at $26++ and dinner at $30++ sounded like good deals. As we were curious about how Hanabi fares now after original owners sold the chain, hubby and I checked out the new outlet.
Unfortunately, it was less than enjoyable. The tables are incredibly tiny, possibly to deter people from over-ordering. Despite an early hour and reservations, they squeezed us (two hulking adults plus an extremely wriggly toddler grabbing everything within arm's reach) at a table that was smaller than a schooldesk! Our request for a larger table could not be accommodated, so most of the evening we were uncomfortably cramped.
Foodwise, there were a lot more MISSES than HITS. Sashimi less than fresh, bland handrolls, awful deep-fried items tasting horribly alike, shocking mystery meat for some items (like what you'd imagine kangaroo or emu ass might taste like), unimpressive tempura, incompetent kushiyaki and poor noodle dishes. Are they trying to do too much?
Yes, there was stuff that I did like but these were few - the jellyfish, unagi fried rice (although clearly reheated via microwave), nice and smooth chawanmushi, and the yakiniku beef (even if overly salty and bits of it were stringy and chewy).
Looks like things have gone downhill. Service was terrible. Green, foreign waitresses and an unpleasant manager. We left before we ate our fill. Quite honestly, for the same amount of money, you can get much, much, much better food across the hallway at Wahiro.