Monday, September 22, 2008

Rockin' Rolls

I checked out a favourite restaurant of sushi conoisseurs in Beijing. Called Hatsune, it's a block north west of Shin Kong Place, a block south east of the new CCTV building.

As you walk up the stairs you immediately get the feel of a minimalist place with the stark stairs and white cubes along the stairway.

But inside it's far from austere. The sushi chefs at the bar are all wearing baseball jerseys that say "Hatsune" on the front, each with a different number, and then their surnames at the back. Very cute.

Each table setting has a miniature ceramic pot with the head of a red carnation flower. And then you're not just given chopsticks -- you can choose from a selection of them on a wooden tray, each pair of chopsticks look different, and carefully tied together with paper and string.

The most famous (and best value) items here are the rolls. The Mota-roll-ah rolls (75RMB) are considered the best, with crabmeat and mayonnaise rolled with cooked salmon and topped with a thin slice of tuna, avocado and roe.

It was also drizzled in mayonnaise which was a bit over the top for taste, but probably added to the drama of the presentation.

I also had the Rainbow roll, which was basically California rolls topped with a selection of tuna, salmon, cooked prawns and avocado and presented in a semi-circle. That was clean and delicious.

There are lots of other creative rolls (and their names). One is the Dragon (50RMB), which has tempura shrimp with salmon roe on top, the Engen (65RMB), again with tempura shrimp, spicy tuna, avocado, unagi and green onion.

But perhaps the funniest name of all is the Pimp My Roll (85RMB), which is a combination of soft-shell crab, avocado, topped with seared salmon and albacore tuna, with a spicy sauce.

What was disappointing was the Agedashi tofu, that came very deep-fried thanks to what was probably a very thick batter. I've never encountered an Agedashi tofu quite like this one.

Another sore point was the lack of wines by the glass, even though there was a small selection of half bottles. I had to settle for a bottle of Tsing Tao instead.

Nevertheless, it's pretty good value for money considering it's higher than average quality ingredients and presentation.

Definitely worth checking out again.

8A Guanghua East Road
He Qiao Plaza, Building C, Floor 2
6581 3939

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