Located just a few minutes’ walk from the heart of the CBD, Hachi 08 brings a touch of authentic Japanese cuisine to Adelaide with their delectable new dinner menu.
Modelled around the casual pubs, also known as ‘izakaya’, that are currently sweeping the Japanese foodie scene, Hachi 08’s cozy, industrial atmosphere is perfect for breezy dining and drinks on laidback evenings.
Offering everything from gyoza to miso soup, their extensive dinner menu is divided into five sections: Katsu (a selection of crumbed and deep-fried meats), Raw Bar, Hachi Hot Pot (best shared in pairs), Bowl & Plate, Grill, Sides and Sweet.
We decided to embrace the izakaya trend with an easy-going evening spent savouring several dishes from their extensive dinner menu – paired with some cocktails, of course!
Sitting on a bed of white and purple cabbage salad, the Kushi Katsu came with an assortment of different skewered meats including prawn, beef, chicken and fish. Coated in a crispy panko crumb and deep fried, the tender meat inside offered a contrast of textures. Topped with a sprinkle of sesame seeds was a bowl of sesame dressing on the side, which acted as the perfect dipping sauce. For those adventurous eaters, a dash of hot English mustard on the rim of the bowl offered an instant kick when layered under the sesame dressing. We called this dish the “skewer surprise”, as the panko crumb made for an interesting guessing game to find out what meat was inside!
Chorizo Kinpira Don
Served on a base of fluffy sushi rice, the Chorizo Kinpira Don was a colourful explosion of earthy reds, fresh greens and light purples. The true star of the show was the juicy baked chorizo, locally sourced from the nearby Barossa region. Each succulent slice was lean and did not contain any portions of fat, enabling us to savour the flavour with every easy bite. An overarching smokiness gave way to a punch of paprika that hit the back of the tongue, however was not too intense to overpower the entire dish. Balancing out the spice was a refreshing cabbage salad mixed with sundried capsicum, topped with alfalfa sprouts and a pinch of finely chopped spring onion.
One of the most aesthetically pleasing savoury dishes on their dinner menu, we were certainly intrigued to try the Squid Okonomiyaki. The dish came equipped with a stainless steel teppanyaki turner for cutting the pancake into smaller portions, adding a “serve-it-yourself” touch. Inside the pancake were ringlets of squid that were cooked to perfection, being surprisingly soft rather than too rubbery in texture. In amongst the squid were pieces of cabbage and spring onion, adding some crispiness and changes in consistency to the filling. Decorating the top of the pancake was an intricate swirl of Japanese BBQ sauce and kewpie mayo, making for the perfect Instagram photo opportunity. Garnished with a pinch of sesame seeds and spring onion, and served with a side of dried bonito flakes, this dish ticked all the boxes for both presentation and flavour!
Feathered out in a delicately placed layer at the bottom of this dish were thinly cut slices of beef brisket, which were slow cooked to be mouth-wateringly tender and not too chewy. Towering on top of this layer was a mixture of crunchy smoky bean sprouts, onion and dried bonito flakes, also known as ‘katsuobushi’. Placing a flake of katsuobushi on top of the warm brisket and allowing them to melt together created a mesh of flavours, adding a slightly salty, piscine tang to the smokiness of the beef.
Coated in a thin film of savoury pastry to form a creation much like a pancake, the Gyoza was best eaten straight away whilst still warm and steaming. Tucked away under this layer of fine pastry were seven Japanese dumplings known as ‘gyoza’, each filled with a generous mixture of soft prawn and spring onion. On the side was a small bowl of tsuyu vinaigrette with ginger undertones, which we were recommended to pour underneath the pancake in order for the dumplings inside to soak up the flavour. These bite-sized beauties were so addictive that we finished every last one!
Soaked in citrus ponzu sauce were thin slices of rare seared steak, elaborately fanned out in a decorative circle around the edge of the plate. The ponzu had a watery, liquid consistency, yet was bursting with tangy, citrusy flavour. By submerging the seared steak in the sauce, each slice had absorbed the tart ponzu flavour. A slice of lemon was also provided, a drizzle of which further enhanced the citrus-base of the dark brown ponzu sauce. Embellished with black and white sesame seeds, spring onion and alfalfa sprouts, this dish was pleasant on the eye as well as on the tongue.
Japanese Fried Chicken
Beautifully presented on a rustic wooden platter, the Japanese Fried Chicken is a classic must-try dish! 300 grams of boneless fried chicken coated in a glistening glaze was enough to make anyone’s mouth water, topped with a sprinkling of sesame seeds and spring onion. Drizzling a slice of lemon provided on the side added an acerbic kick to the glaze atop the fried chicken. Another smaller bowl was also filled with a heaping of white and purple cabbage salad, which added a splash of colour with it’s purples and bright white hues. Sitting in a tiny serving dish looking perfectly plump was a dollop of Hachi08’s signature sweet soy tare, which was much like a creamy tartare sauce with a speckle of chilli.
With its unique mix of flavours and textures, the Charcoal Chicken won our hearts to become our favourite dish of the night! The chicken thigh was grilled to perfection, retaining the charcoal flavour on the marinated skin whilst remaining moist and succulent inside. The marinade was beautifully glazed on top, glistening even in the dim lighting of the restaurant. Placed atop was a bed of coleslaw made from cabbage and carrot mixed with a creamy takuan tartare, a sweet flavour which paired perfectly with the savoury chicken. Garnished with a light dusting of red capsicum, spring onion ringlets and sesame seeds, this dish truly deserved to be savoured with every bite.
Tuna Poke Salad
The Tuna Poke Salad was an explosion of vibrant reds, yellows and greens, appealing to all those on a health kick out there with its balance of protein and healthy fats. Beneath a generous serving of “avocado art” (each slice was unblemished and cut so immaculately!), lay cubes of raw tuna that pulled apart with ease. Surrounding the tuna was a salad similar to a slaw, consisting of cabbage, carrot and edamame beans that were slightly charred on the edges. This mixture had been soaked in a chilli vinaigrette, which moistened the crisp salad and added a uniquely sour bite to the dish.
Yet another elaborately decorated dish, the Salmon Zuke was almost too exquisite to eat! Presented in a decorative semi-circle, each cube of cured salmon sashimi had a smooth, silky texture. Cushions of cream curd adorned the plate which, when combined with the salmon, melted in your mouth. A drizzle of salsa verde balanced out the smoothness of the dish with tiny flecks of herbs. Tiny bright orange flying fish roe, also known as ‘tobiko’, were nestled in amongst the folded slices of salmon, bursting in your mouth and adding a salty aftertaste to the dish.
In addition to their extensive drinks menu of white and red wines, sake, shōchῡ and soju (both distilled spirits), Hachi 08 also offer a variety of cocktails that are beautifully presented and deliciously sweet.
The Sake Mojito combines the alcoholic beverages of midori and sake with soda water and sugar syrup to create a gorgeous green concoction. The midori adds a fruitiness and subdues the dryness of the sake, making for the perfect beverage for those who are new to the unique flavour of sake and wish to have a taste test first. Decorated with quarters of lime and mint leaves, the Sake Mojito is an invigorating and refreshing cocktail perfect for those balmy summer evenings.
Pink Moon & Geisha Cocktail
Alluringly named the ‘Pink Moon & Geisha’, this cocktail is a staple for those who love their sweet alcoholic beverages such as moscato and rose. Incorporating sake infused with a subtle lemongrass flavour, the grapefruit syrup comes through as the drink’s main essence. A squeeze of lemon juice adds a zesty aftertaste, whilst the strawberry compliments the grapefruit to create an intoxicatingly sweet cocktail (quite literally!). Adorned with a thin slice of blood orange on the side and a dried stick of lemongrass protruding from the glass, this cocktail was as visually appealing as it was appetizing.
With much thought and effort put into the flavour and presentation of every dish, Hachi 08 offers a unique twist on Japanese cuisine that is well suited to an Australian audience.
Located on Wakefield Street in the CBD, Hachi 08’s dinner menu is available Monday to Thursday evenings 6pm – 10:30pm, and Friday and Saturday nights ‘till 12am.
Words by Tayla Giles
WHERE: 128 Wakefield St, Adelaide