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Saturday, August 12, 2006

Hanabi, Sydney

pickles
Panchan Korean side dishes

The best part about eating in a Korean restaurant is the assortment of panchan side dishes that will arrive at the start of your meal.

I love wondering what tasty morsels will arrive, this Korean version of amuses bouches to titillate the palate, and then, excitement (and frenzied camera action) ensues as a whole entourage of tiny platters arrive on the table all at one.

There is almost always something I haven't seen or tasted before, and I love to taste each one with measured scrutiny. There is usually something hot and spicy (more often than not, spiced slices of pickled kimchee), a dish or two of something sweeter, and a few that are cool in the mouth to temper any burning tastebuds.

At Hanabi, in Sydney’s bustling CBD, I am particularly enamoured with the salted black beans which are smooth and slippery on the tongue, sweet and starchy within. There are ribbons of hot and spicy zucchini kimchee with spring onion; chunks of milder turnip kimchee; slivers of bamboo shoot dressed with sesame seeds; and a handful of broccoli florets, steamed simply as they are.

I'm a "saver" when it comes to enjoying my food, so I'm quietly distraught when our waiter removes our half-empty dish of salted black beans (my favourite one!) mid-way through our meal. Silently I hope he will return with refills but he doesn't. So instead I turn my attention to our main meals.

chicken teriyaki
Chicken teriyaki $13.00

Chicken teriyaki,trendily presented on a square-ish plate, is predictably sweet but not as dark and sticky as I usually prefer. The chicken is moist and tender though, and the salad is light and refreshing.

squid
BBQ chilli squid with bulgogi $13.00

The barbecue chilli squid arrives on a more familiar hot plate, sizzling and spitting with vengeance and enveloping the table with heady sweet aromas. I love the sauce on this one which is thick and caramelly, and I resort to scraping the remnants down with a spoon into my bowl of formerly pristine white rice.

prawn tempura
Prawn tempura $25.00

The prawn tempura appear a little pricey but this is forgiven with the first tasty bite. The prawns are sweet from the sea and the batter is light and crisp. I crunch everything down my gullet, tails and all.

hanabi interior

Hanabi
Shop 3, 122 Liverpool Street, Sydney
(near corner of Pitt Street, next to Macchiato)

Tel: +61 (02) 9262 7288


Also Hanabi Restaurant at
35 Joseph St Lidcombe, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9646 1412

Other Korean restaurants on GrabYourFork:
Milliore, Haymarket, Chinatown
Se Joung, Campsie
Seoul Ria, Haymarket, Chinatown

13 comments - Add some comment love

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posted by Helen (AugustusGloop) on 8/12/2006 04:24:00 pm


13 Comments:

  • At 8/12/2006 5:44 pm, Blogger h&b said…

    Arghh !!
    I don't even realise i'm hungry, until I read your blog...

    Note to self: must .. eat .. our .. more ... often.

    Nothing I will cook tonight is going to 'cut it' now .. ;)

     
  • At 8/12/2006 6:57 pm, Blogger duckiekitchen said…

    Helen,
    The more I read your blog, the more I miss Sydney:( Hanabi is one of my fav Korean restaurants along with small one opposite V bar, can't remember the name.

    Both places have good Altang, fish roe spicy soup.

    I really enjoy reading your blog...

     
  • At 8/12/2006 10:43 pm, Blogger PiCkLeS said…

    Hi Helen,

    How's it going? I'm totally suffering from food blogging withdrawal and eating out in general. Should only be a matter of time now before the house gets all set up and then I’ll be back with a vengeance =P meanwhile I still have your blog so that I can live vicariously though you.

     
  • At 8/13/2006 12:00 am, Blogger thanh7580 said…

    I love all the side dishes at Korean restaurants too. My favourites are kimchi, pickled radish and this squid type thing. I only ever had that once at a restaurant. When I went back again, they didn't have it. I think it was squid but it may be tofu for all I know, served cold with other vegetables. No other Korean restaurants I've been to have had this item.

     
  • At 8/13/2006 3:45 pm, Blogger Helen (AugustusGloop) said…

    Hi h&b - lol. You should. You deserve it, I'm sure!

    Homecooked fare does rate well though. You just have to find someone else to do it for you! lol

    Hi duckiekitchen - Awww thanks. I'm glad you're enjoying the site. And a little bit of Sydney sentimentality goes a long way hey?

    Altang sounds tasty. I'll have to remember to order that next time. Thanks for the tip!

    Hi Pickles - I am totally suffering from Pickles withdrawal! You have definitely been missed!

    I have a feeling you never do things by halves though (Kids in the Office Day, anyone?) so I am sure you are doing the most stellar and spectacular job on the house that will far surpass anyone's expectations.

    Meanwhile I'll do the easy bit. Eating for you. Ha! Easy as!

    Hi Thanh7580 - Yep. Mystery panchan. What's not to love?

     
  • At 8/13/2006 11:01 pm, Blogger papa lazarou said…

    yes, another vote to the little one opposite the V bar... spicy fish roe soup is my fav.. (oh those huge chunks of fish roe!)

    re those starter side dishes.. dont be afraid to ask for refills! i always do, and every place obliges..

     
  • At 8/14/2006 1:16 pm, Blogger Veruca Salt said…

    My mouth is watering just thinking about some really hot kim chee.
    Mmmmmmmmm

     
  • At 8/14/2006 3:21 pm, Blogger Lynn said…

    I've eaten at Hanabi (both city and Lidcombe) a couple of times but was not overly impressed by either places. For some great korean sides, you should try Ceci in Strathfield. We go there at least 3 times a month! Korean cuisine is just delicious.

     
  • At 8/14/2006 9:11 pm, Blogger Helen (AugustusGloop) said…

    Hi Papa Lazarou - Ok, I'm definitely going to have to check out this mystery restaurant. And order the spicy fish roe soup!

    I have asked for replenishments at Korean restaurants before. I think I was more miffed that he took away the plate before I had even finished!

    Hi Veruca Salt - Yeah kimchee is great. Occasionally we buy a 3kg tub and just go nuts!

    Hi Lynn - Thanks for the tip. I haven't tried Ceci but I have noticed all the Korean restaurants in Strathfield. I love browsing in all the Korean groceries. The trays of homemade sweets all look so good!

     
  • At 7/19/2007 8:28 am, Anonymous angela said…

    We love this place! Only we went last night for the first time in a few weeks and it seems to be under entirely new management. Also, the menu has been stripped of all its japanese items. What's happened? It's a totally different restaurant. Good, but not the Hanabi we knew and loved.

     
  • At 7/19/2007 10:40 pm, Blogger Helen (AugustusGloop) said…

    Hi Angela - Don't you hate it when your favourite restaurant changes everything around? I haven't been there in ages. Thanks for letting me know.

     
  • At 11/13/2007 8:32 pm, Anonymous hendra said…

    hi Helen, if you walk down further more towards George Street from Hanabi, you will find Heaven & Earth which is just next to Subway. they have grilled chilli squid, pork or beef, you name it. and they also have several authentic Korean dishes. their homemade noodles are quite nice, and my favorite dish is kimchi fried rice. the price is reasonable but the place is quite small though.

    BTW, the Korean restaurant opposite V-bar is called tsu-rak and I think they have closed down the last time I passed through World Square. :(

     
  • At 11/20/2007 9:22 pm, Blogger Helen (AugustusGloop) said…

    Hi Hendra - Ahhh I think I got some takeaway sushi from here once. The dishes sound tasty - I might have to eat in :)

     

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