“ Address: 45 Bath Lane / Newcastle Upon Tyne / NE4 5SP „
We are regular visitors to Hanahana in Newcastle, particularly on birthdays, anniversaries and other special occasions. The fact that we return to this restaurant time after time is testament to how much we think of it, as one bad experience at a restaurant can put us off for good if it is serious enough.
As it happens, we have only had one bad experience at Hanahana. One extremely busy Saturday evening, dressed up to the nines as we were off to a posh party afterwards, we were seated in the pathway of all the cooking smoke possible and couldn't see or breathe. We also had to keep leaning to the side to dodge it when it got really bad. This same evening, (they must have been having a bad one), we also couldn't flag down a waiter to move seats nor order drinks for almost the entire evening, so something went really badly wrong.
We don't hold this against Hanahana because I can honestly say that this is certainly not the norm for them and the multitude of positive experiences far deserves a really good review.
First off, Hanahana is a Japanese Teppanyaki restaurant. Teppanyaki roughly translates as 'hot-plate pan fried' and this pretty much sums up the experience. Guests are seated around a large kitchen island, sometimes with people you don't know if there's only a couple of you or so, with a huge hot-plate stacked with fish, vegetables and meats. After a few moments of being seated, the show begins when the chef takes his place behind the island and begins to prepare the food. He starts by banging his frying flipper on the bench to grab attention then proceeds to clean the hotplate with speed and style in a sort of dance with his scrapers. The rest of the evening is captivating really, and you often forget to have conversations with the people you came with as you are too busy watching the chef perform his skills.
Most of the evening is quite interactive with the chef who is preparing the food right in front of you. The highlight for some, and horror for others, is when the chef, about halfway through, commands a volunteer to get up, don the chefs hat, flip an egg and catch it in the gap in the hat. We like to go with one particular friend as he always stands up and takes the heat ff everyone else! A word of warning if you're the brave one to do this though, last time we were in we were seated behind a group of suited professionals. The lady who got up to flip the egg was wearing an expensive suit, flipped the egg and it missed and cracked all down her shoulder, hence a big dry cleaning bill and having to walk round town all evening with a cracked egg down your shoulder.
The food in Hanahana is delicious. As we all love Japanese cuisine, there's not much on the menu we don't like but we usually get the 'String of Pearls' set menu. Each part of the menu is small, but there are multiple courses, so although you probably eat less than if you went to a conventional style restaurant, you actually end up far more full. Little and often seems to work, no wonder Japanese girls have such lovely figures. Much of the menu is seafood, including Sushi, but there are met and vegetarian options too.
In terms of price, it's not too bad for a treat. It's certainly not cheap, but then, with fresh scallops and sushi served, I really wouldn't expect it to be. Also, considering you have your own personal chef, really it's excellent value for money. Altogether, we spend around £35 per head including drinks, although I think the food menu we get was under £23 per head last time we were there. There are cheaper menu options, but we do like our sushi, scallops etc, so we never skimp on this.
The service in Hanahana, barring the above experience, is always second to none. When you arrive, you are greeted and seated in the small reception area. This can get crowded on a Saturday night, however. You can order drinks from here and then someone will take you to your table. The norm is absolutely perfect, attentive service. Plates are cleared as soon as you have finished (there isn't much room so this is ideal), starters and fill-ins are brought quickly and without hesitation and there is usually always someone nearby if you need to order drinks, or it's pre-empted and you are asked, but not in an over the top way like some conventional restaurants desperate to make up their margins. We usually just get the Japanese beer, Kirin, which is lovely.
We come to Hanahana at least three times a year and love it. I heartily recommend it, especially if you like your seafood/meat.
Hanahana is a Teppan Yaki restaurant in Newcastle Upon Tyne. It does typical Japanese cuisine with lots of fresh fish and vegetables on the menu, but it also contains something for everyone if you're not a fish fan!
I'd never been to Hanahana before but I had heard lots of good things about it. I love Japanese culture and food so I was really excited to try this out! I went as a party of 4 on a busy Friday evening. The outside of the building is painted a nice red colour and inside looked warm and cosy!
As we entered we were greeted and seated in the bar area. It was nice to see all the staff and chefs were of japanese origin and the women wore lovely colourful robes. The bar area was a bit cramped, but it's more of a holding area anyway until you get seated, not an actual bar itself. A lady took our drinks orders and left us to look over the menu.
The menu is very extensive. There was a huge range of appetisers and sushi dishes (makimono), then there were some set banquets, set dinners and the ala carte menu. I opted for one of the banquets (as did the rest of the party) and we ordered 2 sushi dishes.
Not long after we were ushered to our seats. The man showing us bangs a drum in the entrance way and shouts something out, before leading us up to our table. We couldn't quite make out what this drum banging was all about, we guessed it's to signal to the chef that the people are being seated! You are sat at a communal dining table, ours had 8 seats. You are seated around a large hot plate built into the dining table. Our drinks were carried over from the bar area to the table for us. Infront of us were lovely little square plates with a japanese design on them, and the chop sticks. No knives and forks here! I'm not sure if they provide you with other cutlery as we were fine with the chopsticks, but I imagine they might?
It wasn't long at all before our starters to our banquets were brought to our table (this isn't cooked infront of you). As we started to eat our other people seated at our table and the chef arrived and began banging his cooking utensils together and off the hot plate in a kind of musical way. The food which he was going to cook was on a trolley and all looked nice and fresh.
The chef begins cooking as you eat and it was amazing to watch him. He slices the food up very quickly, so quick that when I took photo's his hands are always blurred! Everyone around the table had obviously ordered something different, he seemed to glance at the order note once, then that was it, he had it memorised. As the evening went on he expertly served us our food, whether it was the small portions of fish, or the chicken etc. Before he begins to cook the egg fried rice he does a little act of throwing the egg into the air and catching it in his chef's hat. He then invites people up to try and do the same. This was quite funny to watch! I decided to give it a go, and failed miserably as the egg smashed open on the hotplate!
The sirloin steak was set on fire at the end, quite a blast of heat in your face!
The service whilst at the table was brilliant, waiters and waitresses were always about to clean up dishes and empty glasses, and quick to ask if you needed any more drinks. At one points some drinks were brought over but they were wrong, straight away a supervisor type man noticed and came over, ushered the waitress away to get the correct drinks quickly and apologised to us. Very efficient service!
Of course this restaurant is quite pricey, a once in a while treat, but certainly worth the money! We spent around £30-£35 a head including a couple of drinks, not too bad really as this was a lovely restaurant.
I will certainly eat here again, the food was gorgeous and it's so nice to see it being cooked infront of you. The service was great and the atmosphere was fun, it's certainly worth the money.