We had the joy of celebrating my mum's birthday (who happened to be in town this week for a visit with her closest friends) last night at probably one of my favourite places to eat in Perth - Ha Lu - a Japanese izakaya style restaurant. As usual, I over-ordered and over-indulged. But everything was so perfectly executed that what seemed like a constant flow of beautifully presented clean tasting dishes was a true joy. Highlights included the kakuni pictured above (uber tender stewed pork belly) and the warm japanese salad with roasted vegetables.
We also ordered an interesting twist on the very homely dish of nikujaga (typically a hot pot of sliced beef onion and potatoes). Instead of the traditional simmered dish, Ha Lu has a revamped version that takes the form of a crispy creamy potato dumpling stuffed with sliced beef and topped with sliced onions and a soy dashi broth that is poured at the table.
The tuna and poached onsen style egg was a delicious combination of flavours and textures with tender sashimi tuna, crispy wanton crisps and and a creamy poached egg.
The wagyu beef tataki here is brilliant - melt in your mouth slivers of wagyu fillet served with seasonal root vegetables and an addictive ponzu sauce. The other beef dish ordered however was the only disappointment of the night. Diced wagyu beef steak with yuzu kosho pepper whilst sounding unbelievable on the menu, was overcooked and dry - probably due to the cubes being diced too small and a real letdown to an otherwise flawless meal.
Nevertheless - Ha Lu continues to be probably the best Japanese restaurant to eat in town. I left the restaurant content, very full, and looking forward to my next visit to sample new dishes introduced to the menu (given I had pretty much ordered everything in one seating).
Shop4 / 401 Oxford Street, Mt Hawthorn