SUSHI – when it’s good, it’s very, very good. And lucky for us, we’re off to long-time Niseko Town favourite, Hanayoshi, which is one the best around.
With a warm welcome and a quick switch of menus for those of us yet to grasp reading Japanese, we’re good to go.
We start off with a couple of tuna nigiri, a grapefruit chu-hai (shochu and fresh grapefruit juice over ice), and a warm sake with a fugu (puffer fish) tail infusing in the cup (a winter special only). The sushi meets our expectations. Generous and super-fresh! The fugu sake is interesting. Not at all fishy and definitely worth a try.
Next up, grilled sea eel nigiri, and lightly glazed and vinegar-marinated mackerel, each continuing the fresh-and-delicious tone.
We follow this with Hanayoshi’s renowned seafood salad – their signature dish. It’s a spectacular salad of fresh greens and seafood (tuna, scallop, octopus and squid) piled high with crispy fried potato rings and hidden treasures of salmon roe throughout. It looks good and tastes even better.
We move on to a silky soft round of braised diakon topped with a succulent layer of monkfish liver pate. The daikon is braised expertly to remove the sometimes bitter bite of the radish, and the monkfish liver lives up to its foie-gras-from-the-sea reputation.
To follow, we order a couple of otoro nigiri – otoro being the fattiest and most highly prized part of the tuna belly. The fish is pure heaven. We finish these off in time for the grilled Chilean sea bass marinated in miso. It’s a dish of Japanese origin made famous by celebrity chefs, such as Nobu. The delicate fish flavour is teased out by the caramelised miso, and garnished by a pickled ginger spear.
Just as we finish off tonight’s delicacies, we are both greeted with a warm cup of green tea. A perfect ending to a wonderful night.
It’s no wonder Hanayoshi is known around town as the place to go for great sushi at great prices – just don’t forget the rest of the menu is just as good.
Hanayoshi: 80-2 Hondori Niseko-cho, Abuta-gun, Hokkaido.
Open: 5pm-11pm, last order 10.30pm, Closed Mondays