Review: Hikaru (Newtown)

So there I was, uncomfortably sitting in the fancy Orbit Bar, wondering if the others were getting as hungry as me. We were chatting about interesting stuff and I didn’t want to interrupt to make the question. I discretely asked Alvaro and he said yes. We started looking at the food menu (bar food, so commonly mislabeled as “tapas”) and Alvaro found something that caught his eye. Then Gary got ready to leave (he was meeting Jane for dinner) and asked the rest of us if we were planning to eat there. Matt said we probably shouldn’t as he had eaten there before and food was not good. Because it started to rain, we chose to go back to good old Newtown instead of staying in the city.

I don’t usually have a strong craving for a particular cuisine. My main interest is to go somewhere I haven’t been before, in part for blogging, but also because that’s how I am in general. The others weren’t quite sure about what they wanted, so I suggested Japanese. Everyone agreed and we headed to Hikaru.

We have walked through this place hundreds of times, always saying “we haven’t tried this place yet”. On King Street, where new places pop up like pimples after too much chocolate, that happens quite often. Finally, there was our opportunity to tick another restaurant in our ever growing wish list.

The restaurant looks more “casual” inside than what I expected (expectation based on the sign only). By casual I mean not-so-fancy and slightly cramped tables and chairs and laminated menus with photos of the dishes. But service was attentive and the place had the typical and always nice Japanese touch.

Hikaru - Japanese decoration

After ordering we were given complimentary miso soup and edamame. I don’t know why we had three of each instead of four but it turned out to be alright because Aistė didn’t like the soup and Matt found the edamame quite bland.

Complimentary miso soup and edamame

Hikaru - Complimentary miso soup and edamame

Alvaro and I shared our meals: wakame salad, dragon roll and ninikuyaki chicken (chicken and vegetables with garlic sauce). We started with the salad, it was alright but not as good as the one we ate in Iiza, mainly because it only had mixed leaves, tomato and seaweed.

Wakame salad – marinated seaweed on fresh vegetables ($7.8)

Hikaru - Wakame salad

The next thing we ate was the dragon roll (with prawn, eel and avocado). It was very tasty, much better than your weekday sushi joint roll. In the photo it may look like a big mess of BBQd eel, avocado, green onions and eel sauce, but thanks to lightly seasoned rice, none of the ingredients was overpowering. The prawn taste was there too, and its crunchiness revealed that the roll was indeed super fresh. The Sapporo I had was a perfect match.

Sapporo draft ($6.8), dragon roll ($9.8)

Hikaru - Sapporo & Dragon roll

The last dish we shared was the ninikuyaki chicken. I had never tried it before but it felt like something my aunties would prepare: a homemade-style stew of chicken and veggies in a thick sauce that was sweet and mildly garlicky. A bowl of unflavoured and sticky white rice, which most Peruvians are not used to, completed the journey to my childhood memories.

Ninikuyaki chicken ($9.8)

Hikaru - Ninikuyaki chicken

Matt decided to continue being boring (kidding) and chose the teriyaki chicken; Aistė had the Japanese curry beef. They said both dishes were good, the curry perhaps a bit too spicy, but luckily there was enough rice to turn its heat down.

Teriyaki chicken

Hikaru - Teriyaki chicken

Japanese curry beef

Hikaru - Japanese curry beef

Overall the food was good value for the price, but Alvaro and I still prefer Iiza, which is not much more pricey.

Hikaru
134 King Street
Newtown NSW 2042
(02) 9516 5959

6 thoughts on “Review: Hikaru (Newtown)

  1. Totally LOVE your description of restaurants popping up like pimples in Newtown. Gold!

    I quite like Hikaru and have probably been there about 20 times over the years. It’s a pretty basic restaurant in terms of decor but I’ve always found the food good…and cheap. Service is often hit & miss though. Reading this post makes me want Dragon Roll…now!

  2. Hikaru is one of may favourite Newtown spots to eat. Agreed, the service can be hit-and-miss however I have found the food to be consistently spot on.

    The Gyoza = WIN.

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