Ha-Lu, 401 Oxford Street, Mount Hawthorn, (08) 9444 0577
Open for dinner Wed – Sun from 6pm
A couple of weekends ago, we had the most amazing Japanese tapas experience at Ha-Lu in Mount Hawthorn. It came pretty close to a restaurant we went to in Japan last year.
burger boy was deciding between Ha-Lu and Nine Fine Food but chose Ha-Lu in the end because the tapas were more traditional Japanese rather than fusion and because the prices were more reasonable than Nine Fine Food.
On arrival, the host explained to us that Ha-Lu’s philosophy was that you come to Ha-Lu to spend quality time socialising with friends rather than to merely ‘eat’ so the tapas were all designed to be shared. And socialising we did, with the same friends who introduced us to Embers in Gooseberry Hill.
The host recommended we order three to four dishes each, this is what we had:
We weren’t really that interested in the cold dishes but the host had suggested we order a few to start as the hot dishes take a little while to cook…
Fresh Springrolls - filled with cream cheese and pickles served with a mildly spiced mayonnaise and a touch of whole grained mustard.
When I read spring roll, for some reason I was expecting the pastry deep fried version – despite that it was listed under the cold dishes section of the menu I thought the lettuce was overpowering making it hard to taste the other elements.
burger boy loved the sauce and that it was different to the usual deep fried spring roll.
Duck breast - served cold with whole grain mustard
I don’t normally eat duck but it looked tempting so I gave it a shot. It was ok for a meat I don’t normally eat…but it could have been more flavoursome.
Sashimi of the Day
Our friend who loves sashimi – enjoyed this dish. Good thing, as he had it to himself – no one else eats uncooked delicacies!
This had an amazing crispy skin, the chicken was tender and the teriyaki sauce was delicious! The teriyaki chicken is on Ha-Lu’s take-away menu, so it’s def on my Friday night ‘to take-away’ list.
Grilled Miso Patagonian Toothfish – sweet white miso marinated toothfish served with grilled tomato
The tooth fish just melts in your mouth – it was one of our favourite tapas. Just an amazing dish- a def must try!
Duck and aubergine Madeira sauce - slow cooked duck breast
Again I took the risk and tried the duck again for the second time tonight! The aubergine Madeiria sauce tasted had a warm caramel flavour, I much preferred this duck tapas over the cold version we tried.
Grilled Fremantle Octopus
The octopus was burger boy’s favourite tapas, it was served on a skewer and it tasted as good as it looked.
I must have felt adventurous as I don’t normally eat octopus…
I picked the most non-tentacle piece of octopus and closed my eyes before popping it into my mouth…I was pleasantly surprised as the octopus was so soft and just melted in mouth. I’m used to having octopus which I have to chew for awhile before swallowing…which makes me freak out even more as it makes me think about what exactly I’m eating more (I write about my phobia with this sort of stuff here).
Grilled Pork - ginger infused pork cutlet served with ume plum mayo sauce
This pork cutlet was nice, especially when combined with the spinach and sauce.. but it is really quite an ordinary dish that I normally make at home. When we come back next time, I’d order something a bit more creative.
DEEP FRIED DISHES
Crispy pork - sliced pork belly served with vinaigrette
I enjoyed the crispy pork, it reminds me of pork jerky but warm.
Soft Shell Crab Tempura
This is the first time I’ve had soft shell crab and I was pleasantly surprised. I thought the shell would be more noticeable, but the crab was amazingly soft and the tempura was delicious - not at all oily.
Chicken Kara-age – deep fried chicken
The chicken was nice and crisp on the outside and tender on the inside – it didn’t taste or feel like it had been deep fried.
Slow cooked pork belly in light soy jus
This dish was out of this world…just wish there was more of it. The pork was so tender and succulent! Wasn’t a fan of the egg though.
Home-made Crème Caramel
I was a bit skeptical about ordering a European dessert from a Japanese restaurant…so I chose the Green Tea Ice-cream as I figured they couldn’t go wrong with it. But I was seriously regretting it when I had a spoonful of our friend’s crème caramel – it was just delicious, had a beautiful creamy texture – just the way crème caramel should taste.
If I knew the crème caramel was this amazing, I would have taken the risk and ordered the pannacotta (for those of you who have been following my foodie journey, you’ll know how obsessed I am about pannacotta). Plus I had a very average pannacotta at the Inglewood Hotel recently which changed my foodie experience from an amazing one to just great. So I didn’t want to risk not enjoying dessert at Ha-Lu especially after all the amazing tapas we had.
Green Tea Ice-cream
The green tea ice-cream was nice and creamy and not too strong in flavour.
Ha-Lu is on Oxford Street towards Scarborough Beach Road away from the hustle and bustle and you wouldn’t know it was there unless you were looking for it. It had a nice modern yet cosy atmosphere, the service was fantastic and it came to a total of $263 including a bottle of wine and a few beers – it was worth every cent.
Ha-Lu is the best Japanese tapas restaurant we’ve been to in Perth and I highly recommend trying Ha-Lu if you haven’t already.