Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Hanabi at Katong Mall

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.



  1. Oh gosh, doesn't sound like a good experience.

  2. aiyo, how come like that now?

    friend said that the only branch to go is the Ocean Tower one, others, dun bother... so it's true?

  3. Singairishgirl, nope, not too good! :)

    Keropokman, not sure why - perhaps this new outlet is still finding its footing. Yes, I hear quality differs from branch to branch, but opinions vary on which is better.

  4. guess what?
    last nite a group of friends and I celebrated another friends birthday at Hanabi @ Ocean Tower.

    Dunno if it's because we have been eating too many places and comparing them. Some pple say standard drop a bit. Hmm...

    But it was overall still quite OK lah. Because eating half the time it's the chatting and catching up with people that makes it memorable.

  5. hi :) thanks for the review... i almost wanted to bug hubby to bring me there....


  6. Keropokman, I guess lots of good company helps! :P

    I also had a friend who went there (Hanabi Odeon Tower) recently. He had a nice lady friend so the focus was more on conversation than the food, which he deemed passable.

  7. HI ! camemberu

    COULD U PLS PLS tell me the cheap and NICe buffet( lunch or high tea anyone will do) is which one ^^ ?

  8. Sakurrin, I also want to know! Cos cheap is usually not nice, and nice is usually not cheap.

    I have a list of high-tea buffets you can check out.

    Just click on "buffets" label on the side to see more and judge for yourself.

    Personally, I've found Carousel to be quite value-for-money.

  9. Quality is good imho for the price. when dining at such places, dont expect too much, just fill the tummy! =)

  10. I definitely agree with the review. I was highly unimpressed by this restaurant. Pointless. It's as expensive as Wahiro, so why having bad food if I can get quality next door? If you are happy with this level of quality, save money and go to Waraku, only a few steps away.


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