Hokkaido Restaurant & Bar

Hokkaido Restaurant & Bar is located in Lunn Ave where all the new shops are. Looking from outside, it is not bad. So, went in and gave it a try.

Sashimi (M) – $25 for 15 pieces.

Chan Chan Yaki – $18.50.

Sukiyaki Pot – $13.90.

Overall, this place is OK. The sashimi and sukiyaki pot was not bad tasting. But very disappointed with the chan chan yaki, which didn’t taste special and practically not much salmon, but a lot of cabbage.

The portion is kinda small for the price, so don’t expect value for money. I won’t be coming back. Rating = 5/10.

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Bien (Newmarket)

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year (including the Chinese version)! I have returned from my long holiday and am going to post my first review for 2012. Enjoy.

Bien has several franchises. I tried out the Newmarket branch on a Thursday night. It’s quiet but can’t complain, the bar next door has outdoor music – so free entertainment? I have to admit the pricing is reasonable, not overpriced. You’d just need to find a parking if driving to Newmarket. Here are some samples.

Tuna Tomato Petite Salad – $4.00.

Salmon Sushi – $3.00 for two pieces.

Spicy Chicken Don – $11.00.

Lemon Grass Chicken Don – $11.00.

Salad and sushi roll are good small bites – excellent as entres. The chicken dons are not bad as well, I preferred the spicy chicken don. Good value! Bien (Newmarket) is definitely worth a try. Rating 8.5/10.

Sakebar Nippon

Sakebar Nippon is located in Epsom, very close to ASB showgrounds. The reason I was at this place, because I wanted an alternative to KK Restaurant nearby.

First impression for this place; loud drums banging and some Japanese guy saying something when you or anyone comes into the door (welcoming?), and good-looking chicks. 🙂

Some samples below:

Salmon & Avocado Sushi ($14).

Karaage Chicken ($9).

Okonomiyaki ($12).

Grilled Prawn Skewer ($8).

Overall, the range is good. Pricing is a little high but of good quality I think. The environment is noisy and lively. The food is tasty especially the salmon & avocado sushi roll. Be prepared to pay $25 per head or more, since the portions are not huge. Worth a try.

Rating = 9/10.

Sushi Train

Sushi Train. I’ve been told about this place many times. People like it. So, I had to check it out. It’s located in the Viaduct.  First impression, it looks quite cool with the conveyor belt with sushi etc on it. But remember, parking is hard to find around here – in fact, might be better to pay. I parked somewhere along Custom Street near Tepid Baths (it was free at night) and I noticed something strange. Every 4th or 5th car had a broken window.  As if the thief went on a rampage, so beware if you do walk or park around Custom Street. Anyway, samples below from Sushi Train:

Eel on Rice ($12)

  

Yellow plate – $4.50

Blue plate – $3.50

Red plate – $5.50

The dishes have different prices from $3.50 to $7.50 depending on which plate colour you choose. I thought the variety was somewhat average. In fact, the best thing to do here is to order. So, the concept of choosing the dishes from the “train” is kinda pointless. If I wanted variety (immediately that is), I’d rather go to Umi Sushi at Atrium. Sushi Train just seemed pathetic compared to it.

However, if you do happen to pass by and wanted to try it out. I’d say go for the “Chef’s recommendation,” for e.g. grilled scallop and grilled salmon. It’s also open at night compared to Umi Sushi.

My rating is 6/10. Sushi Train lacks in variety, especially since this is suppose to be a “sushi train”. The staff seemed distracted at times on my visit there, so service was so-so. If you want sushi with variety, save your money and go for lunch at Umi Sushi in the Atrium.

Musashi Japanese Cuisine

OK – I’ve crossed the bridge again. So, a very rare occassion.  There is this place in Milford (North Shore). I believe it used to be called Eiji. It’s now called Musashi Restaurant. The other branch is in St Heliers. It is a bit far to go for Japanese, but thanks to their Entertainment Book voucher, this place was worth the visit. Some samples below:

Soft Shell Crab Karaage ($12.50)

Salmon Hooba Zen ($15).


Salmon Hooba Zen – zoomed in ($15).

Chicken Kushi Katsu Zen ($15).

To be honest, the variety in the lunch dishes are awesome. There is just so many side dishes. It’s great value for money, staff is great and depending on the dish you buy, you get to see or do some “action”. Presentation is great!

Excellent place. Highly recommended, rating = 9/10.

Royal Buffet

A random one for the month. I went to this place with friends and was quite disappointed.

Royal Buffet is a newly opened restaurant, located on Short Street in Newmarket, opposite T Mark.  To compete with the neighbouring restaurants, for instance $10 pizza/pasta/salad lunch at Archie’s, Royal Buffet offers $12 Buffet lunch and $25 main buffet. Not a bad move.

I am not a fan of buffets, and I think I’ll never be. But decided to give it a try because the main buffet is advertised as having top chefs cooking the best cuisine and providing a variety of food. The cost was $25 per person. The initial look of the place looked OK, but realised it was below average and with limited variety after spending 15 mins in there. The items were not very good – chicken curry hardly has any meat, no real fish in their sushi variety, low quality instant coffee. Some of the stuff were alright, for example miso soup, frice rice, deep fried squid and japanese cold noodle.

The place truly lacked variety and for the amount you pay, it’s not worth it. Also, during dining there was a very unhappy couple who complained about the food (which is fair). But poor guys, they got chased out.

My rating is a 0/10. It’s crap. Not worth it at all.