It’s not uncommon knowledge that you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to Asian cuisine in Chatswood. Fancy some BBQ duck or pork at one of the many kitchens along Victoria Avenue? Or do you feel like joining the throng of the crowd waiting outside yum cha while you stare at the seafood tanks? Or maybe you want to travel a bit east-ways and partake in some fresh, simple Japanese cuisine.
Hinode Japanese Restaurant is located at 84 Archer Street in Chatswood, where you take the stairs on the street upstairs. It used to be a bit of a regular for our family as we were familiar with the owner, a very friendly, jovial Japanese gentleman who would cut and serve the sashimi and sushi platters. We were devastated last year to hear from one of his chefs that the owner had been diagnosed with cancer and would be forced to either sell the business for another Japanese restaurant, or sell the establishment entirely.
Over the last couple of months The Sister and I noticed that the restaurant had been refurbished but was still called ‘Hinode’, so we knew that it had been taken over by new management. Out of curiosity one lunch time, The Sister, her fiance and I were passing by downstairs and noticed the new menu, before deciding that perhaps we should give it a go.
The restaurant was very quiet, and the furnishings have essentially remained untouched since the last owner. With the polished wooden floorboards, old-fashioned lacquered tables and cushioned chairs, it’s fairly simple decor. There’s plenty of natural light streaming through the large windows, with a view of Archer Street below. There was a single waitress doing the lunch service at the time, who was polite and relatively attentive.
We went through our menus and were quite impressed with the photography of the sushi platters and the modern take the new owner was now taking. Hinode also has a licence so you can BYO or they serve alcoholic beverages too, as well as the curiously dubbed ‘Asian drink’ on the drinks menu.
We were more interested in green tea however, and two hot green teas arrived speedily in thick terracotta cups – the exact same cups that were used with the last owner.
The Sister’s fiance and I decided to get a Lunch Box Special each, both of which came served with rice, salad and miso soup. He had the Kingfish Box ($14.50):
While I had the Salmon Box ($14.50), which was almost identical other than that I had grilled salmon instead of kingfish:
Everything was presented beautifully and all tasted very light and refreshing, although seemed to be missing a bit of punch. It was the smallest things I looked for. My salmon fillets were sliced a bit too thinly and so were a tad overcooked for my liking, and I would have liked it to be a bit more syrupy and distinguishable. My agedashi tofu was nice, although the batter was not as crispy or well-seasoned as I would have liked. The salad and tempura prawn were average.
The Sister had opted for the Soft Shell Crab Roll, which also came out impeccably presented, with a generous amount of Kewpie mayonnaise and orange fish roe.
The soft shell crab wasn’t particularly crispy, and the chilli mayonnaise underneath lacked the heat necessary to kick up the dish. However the pieces of crab weren’t overcooked, and the salad in the sushi rolls provided some refreshing crunch.
Overall, the new menu is certainly enticing and the dishes are all presented beautifully, however some fine-tuning of flavours and textures would be necessary to truly justify the increase in prices. Nevertheless, it was quite a healthy meal and ideal for anyone looking for a quiet spot to dine informally in the hustle and bustle of Chatswood mall.
Hinode Japanese Restaurant
84 Archer Street, Chatswood NSW 2067
(02) 9412 4070