February 01, 2013
Hana Hana, Haymarket
As one of the budget conscious (aren't we all?), I love this new trend of relatively cheap places to eat popping up in the city! As always, how much you eat will affect how much money you spend - the more sides you add on the more it will cost - and it might not end up being very cheap at all, but I just like the option of having a cheap meal if I so choose to.
The first thing you see when you walk into Hana Hana is this:
I love this automated process that allows you to browse through the menus and select your dishes. It's slightly odd that it still doesn't mean that your order is ready and waiting for you when you get there - instead you need to give them your ticket and then they will prepare your food - but I still think it's great because it does prevent you having to wait in line while other people are trying to decide what they want to eat. After you decide on your mains, you simply take the ticket, select your sides and present it at the counter to pay and get your food.
What kind of a Mappen fan would I be if I didn't try their basic udon with an onsen egg?
In this case, it's not quite as addictive and tasty as the Mappen version, but it's decent nonetheless. It sits around the same price point, I believe, but it just seems not as zingy and tangy as the Ontama Bukkake at Mappen. So if I have a serious noodle craving, I'm still going to George St.
The Sashimi bowl is decent, but it just seemed odd that the fish and rice were both warm. And warm sashimi, no matter how fresh it was, still tastes slightly bizarre and not a winner.
There was a surprise success, however.
The mini bowls were an absolute hit! I especially love the hamburger meat with an onsen egg, covered in mayo and a Japanese brown sauce. It was delish, and actually enough as a base when you add some sides to it. Falling around the $5 mark, these mini bowls are a small serving with heaps of flavour, and are incredibly filling. On the days that I feel like a light lunch, I just have a mini bowl serving with no add ons.
I do love variety, and I really like how the choice of sides rotate at Hana Hana. There are some that remain constant, like a $2 pack of jellyfish (bottom picture), but I'm so glad that they replaced the pack of cold and unappetising fried fish (middle picture) with some other choices of sides. The tempura also changes, with me being able - luckily - to get a fried salt water eel (Anago) the last time I went.
In all, it's a great change if you're tired of what Mappen and Oiden have to offer, and is just down the road. I definitely would pop by for a quick lunch every so often. Worth trying out if you're a fan of Japanese self serve food bars.
We ate at:
5/209 Thomas St
Sydney, NSW 2000
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