Shop C, G/F Towning Mansion, 50-56 Paterson Street, Causeway Bay
Open: Monday-Friday noon-3pm, 6pm-11pm; Saturday and Sunday noon-11.30pm Cuisine: shabu shabu, sukiyaki and seiromushi
Price: HK$398 to HK$628 for set meals without drinks and the service charge.
Ambience: Hana has a decent amount of casual outdoor seating, which is great for a cold beer and people-watching. Inside, the feel is a tad more formal, with enclosed seating and semi-private rooms, some of which are traditional tatami-covered platforms. Japanese-speaking hostesses are beautifully dressed in kimonos.
Pros: aside from a small selection of sashimi and a slightly larger selection of kushiyaki and grilled dishes, the menu focuses on set dinners, featuring table-top stewed (shabu shabu or sukiyaki) or steamed (seiromushi) sliced meats that come with a waitress, who cooks and serves as you eat. You can choose to do everything yourself, but as it was our first time trying seiromushi, we enjoyed the attentive service and being shown the proper way to do it.
Cons: the set meal comes with three rounds of appetisers before you get to the main meal and, unfortunately, some of these were less than appealing: the canap? of eggplant and carrot wrapped in a slice of river eel was cold, hard and bland; the chopped raw salmon with ikura was too salty and slimy, and the cold slice of cooked cod came with surimi (imitation crab) and a tonne of mayonnaise. We did better with the cold cuts of lightly seared wagyu beef, which were fresh and tender with a nice charcoal finish, but it wasn't until the main course that our faith was restored in the quality of the food and know-how of the restaurant.
Recommended dishes: we chose the kurobuta pork (HK$398 per person) and Australian wagyu (HK$428) for meats. In a large wooden steam box, fresh julienned cabbage and carrot are cooked on a bamboo mat - which imparts a lovely, grassy fragrance. Large slices of bright red, well-marbled wagyu are laid carefully over the softened vegetables, steamed for about a minute, then stuffed and rolled with a bit of the vegetables and served with a light, sweet house soy and a ponzu dipping sauce, rice and miso soup. We each had three slices of beef and repeated the process with five slices each of pork. It is one of the most uncluttered ways to enjoy pure, fresh wagyu. The vegetables add just the right amount of texture to this melt-in-your-mouth way of eating quality meat. The pork was a bit tougher and needed more seasoning, but it was all fresh and sated our palates.
What else? Hana chirashi and cooked lunch sets start at HK$140.