Haru no Yume
Up until now I have happily handed over the opportunity to review Japanese restaurants to colleague Alexia, but that has now changed after our excellent Monday night special dinner at Haru no Yume. We had seen the notice for the Monday special in the window of the restaurant and decided it was time to give it a try.
Haru No Yume means “dream of spring” in Japanese, and it is the dream of the owners to offer quality Japanese food while also drawing inspiration from our local food and tastes.
The cosy and simple but stylish décor sets the stage for a relaxing and delicious food experience. The waitstaff were pleasant and tried to answer our questions about the food. The chef also stopped by our table during our meal to have a brief chat – a friendly gesture that was appreciated.
Most of the main course dishes on the menu are in the $20-$30 dollar range, so the opportunity to enjoy a $12 dinner on a Monday night is a real deal! As well as the regular menu, there was a short seasonal winter menu that offered several specials. I insisted that we try the Nasu Misoyaki (grilled eggplant with miso $9.50) and we were glad that I did.
We were served half an eggplant that had been grilled and brushed liberally with miso. It created a sweet coating on the soft eggplant that was absolutely delicious! Catch it while you can, as the seasonal spring menu options will soon be introduced.
The special dinner box included miso soup, several “tapas” of sushi, a fried fishball and piece of omelette, pickles, salad, tempura vegetables and a prawn and a choice of Chicken Teriyaki, Beef Yakiniku, Katsu (pork or chicken) or Tofu Steak served on rice.
We tried the Chicken Teriyaki, the Beef and the Pork Katsu (fried pork pieces) main options. The miso was a welcome start on a cold night and set us up for meal to come. And we ate the lot! The mains held no surprises and were well prepared and flavourful. The surprises were the accompaniments – the slightly sweet omelette almost looked like a piece of yellow sponge cake and had a pleasant light texture. The other pleasant surprise was the butterflied prawn hidden in with the tempura vegetables. Personally I find tempura vegetables rather bland, even with the dipping sauce, so the prawn was a real treat.
I drank a pot of green tea with dinner and my husband ordered a Japanese beer ($7.50) while our daughter ordered what turned out to be a very large glass of orange juice. Beer was in the $7-$12 range and wine by the glass in the $8-$12 range. Sake prices range from $8-$20, mostly around $10.
The sharing plates menu is priced so that you can enjoy Haru no Yume even on a Cheapeats budget. These include the popular Edamame ($6), Takoyaki (deep fried octopus ball served with salad $7.50), chicken Karaage (deep fried chunks of chicken seasoned with garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil and eggs $9.50) or push the boat out with Beef Tataki (very rare sliced seared beef scotch steak seasoned with cracked pepper and served with ponzu citrus dressing $11/$16).
The pleasant ambience, friendly service and delicious food will have us returning again, and fighting with Alexia over who is going to do the Japanese reviews from now!