Friday, 27 December 2013

Vancouver Eats: Hapa Izakaya

A refreshing ebi avocado salad
Tonight we tried an interesting Japanese restaurant called Hapa Izakaya in Kitsilano. While it is an izakaya or place to drink and offers a menu of tapas-style dishes, it's more of a western-style sports bar with screens showing ice hockey, and blasting rock music that was really loud!

We found it hard to have a decent conversation so we focused more on the food that was also not traditional Japanese. In fact the restaurant/bar and menu were all hybrids of Japanese and Western concepts and dishes.

Kinoko ishi-yaki is reminiscent of bibimbap in a stone bowl
The ebi avocado salad ($10.99 large) started strong, with mixed organic greens, cherry tomatoes, prawns and a gorgeously ripe avocado sliced up and arranged around the salad dressed with a light citrus dressing. Everything was fresh and very refreshing.

Next was ebi mayo ($8.99), featuring sweet prawns cooked tempura style then covered in a subtly spicy mayonnaise sauce. The freshness of the prawns came through and complemented the sauce flavour.

Karaage is the popular deep-fried boneless chicken
A seasonal special dish were the halibut croquettes ($7.99). The presentation was cute, small deep-fried balls with seasoned mayonnaise sauce, but we tasted more of the rice than any fish.

Kinoko ishi-yaki ($9.99) featured rice, mixed mushrooms, iwanori or seaweed with a poached egg that the server broke and mixed in the hot stone bowl, much like bibimbap. Topped with spring onions, the rice was quite delicious and hearty particularly on a cold winter evening!

Spicy scallop rolls had a nice kick at the end
Every other table ordered karaage ($8.99) or deep-fried boneless chicken and we tried a dish too. The batter was thick and the hot oil not changed often so it was a heavy dish in taste. Next came the spicy scallop roll ($8.49) that had a bit of a kick to it wrapped with some greens with the sushi rice on the outside.

Another roll was the fish n' chip roll ($8.49) that sounded interesting in theory but didn't have much taste in reality. The gindara roll ($8.99) was sablefish and had very subtle flavours we couldn't pick up easily. Maybe the noise level was distracting?

To finish off the meal we had another salad, this time with sashimi ($15.99) that came with the same mixed organic greens, and odd-sized chunks of salmon and tuna.

The vast majority of the patrons at the restaurant were Caucasian, while servers were mostly Asian or women wearing really low-cut tops... Too bad about the noise level or we wouldn't mind coming back here again.

Ending with salads again this time with chunks of sashimi
Hapa Izakaya
1516 Yew Street
Vancouver
604 738 4272
hapaizakaya.com




4 comments:

  1. I've been to izakayas in various parts of Japan as well as Hong Kong -- have *never* been to one with the TV showing a sports programme. OTOH, in Okinawa, I was at an izakaya with a TV that was showing one of those funny Japanese game shows... Still, even then, the volume was low enough that we could talk easily while eating and drinking!

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    1. Hi YTSL -- I knew you'd think this was strange which is why I wrote it was a hybrid of a western sports bar and an izakaya. I forgot to add that they served sake in a large bamboo tube! I can see you cringing now...

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    2. Hi again --

      You mean the sake was served in something like this?

      http://korin.com/Wakatake-Bamboo-Sake-Bottle_2

      Actually, have been served sake in something like that before in Hong Kong. :)

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