Hana Dining + Sake Bar @ Sunway Pyramid

October 24, 2015

Hana Dining + Sake Bar is now our best bet for Japanese gastronomy in Sunway Pyramid: This Malaysian spin-off of Taipei's respected A-Plus Japanese eatery offers a surprisingly imaginative selection that's satisfyingly executed & fun to experience.

Customers have a choice of distinct settings: A main dining hall with a lovely cherry blossom tree centrepiece, an izakaya-inspired bar area that's perfect for casual eating & drinking, as well as comfortable private rooms for intimate group events.

Start with the sushi: Hana serves intriguingly unique creations, immaculately crafted; our favourites include the creamy sea urchin sushi on a crispy bed of lightly battered shiso leaves (RM23 each) & spicy tuna sushi on whitebait (RM8 each), which both supply memorable contrasts of flavours & textures. Strong points for presentation & solid marks for freshness as well.

We also loved the roasted hirame sushi (RM10), bountifully crowned with succulent flounder flesh known as engawa, which represents the prized fatty portions near the fish's fin; eat it immediately when served, as the flounder is warm. The mentaiko avocado hand rolls (RM12 each) are enjoyable too - a successfully playful partnership for two of our favourite ingredients.

Hana's rice-free salmon makis are well worthwhile too, with good-quality fish served in one-of-a-kind recipes. The recommended stand-outs: Salmon & Japanese yam, cubed & stuffed in fried seaweed strips (RM32), & salmon belly rolled with tempura prawn, avocado, cucumber & flying fish roe (RM33). The salmon proves smooth, luscious & fulfilling in flavour.

Hana's eye-catching goose liver roll is torched by the table for a smoky flavour boost. This is another unexpected pairing - the roll is topped with foie gras & stuffed with crab stick filaments; both components complement each other harmoniously. RM45.

Need more foie? Try the tantalising hors d'ouevres of tender pumpkin coated with turkey ham & blanketed with goose liver (RM32) for a beautiful medley of sweet-savoury dimensions. Also alluring: Spoonfuls of spinach-wrapped bamboo shoots topped with pleasurably chewy chunks of octopus (RM20). These would be top-notch treats to peddle at a cocktail party.

Other experiments turn out triumphantly: The 'Olic Tuna' features albacore tuna marinated with olive oil, garlic & herbs for nuances that might evoke the taste of 'char siu' (RM25), while the Unagi Caesar Salad is an eel-egant reinterpretation of a familiar classic (RM33). These are all part of Hana's current Autumn menu; the restaurant's repertoire evolves each season according to what's fresh (hirame, for example, is best from October to January) & what tickles the chef's inventiveness.

We wrapped up this feast with protein-powered concoctions: A sterling donburi of vinegared rice draped with glistening slices of otoro, the most mouth-watering section of a tuna's belly (RM68), Aussie beef tataki with a thick citrus dipping sauce (RM30) & lamb curry with crispy tofu (RM45). And this is all merely the tip of the iceberg for Hana's menu - there's much, much more to still sample here, from pasta tossed with seaweed & boletus mushrooms to a roll of crispy chicken stuffed with sweet potatoes to an omelette stuffed with crab meat to a platter of grilled duck breast topped with cucumbers & mustard.

Hana's beverage collection is equally impressive: You'll find sake & shochu cocktails - try the Taste of Shochu, priced at only RM33 for a carafe that can be shared, blending sake with red wine & apple sour liquor for a reinvigorating drink that's reminiscent of sangria; it's ideal to sip while savouring Hana's excellent tofu cheesecake. Alternatively, try the Jozen sparkling sake, which floods the palate with lightly fruity flourishes, or The Widzard Of Oz (RM25), a compelling Japanese cocktail that combines shochu & plum wine with triple sec liquor, kiwi fruit, sour mix & rose syrup. Hana bills itself as a 'sa-key' bar, so be sure to check out both the seductive sakes & the sensual whiskies. Service is sparkling; thanks to Hana for having us here.

Hana Dining + Sake Bar
OB2.G.U1, Oasis Boulevard, Ground Floor, Sunway Pyramid (Opposite Kim Gary). 
Open 1130am-11pm, Sun-Thurs; 1130am-1am, Fri-Sat. Tel: +603-5624-0888

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