Raclette cheese – the one food trend of 2016 that is still catching on like wild fire and its flames aren’t going to be quenched any time soon.
Jumping on the bandwagon is Hana Restaurant, which continues to fascinate inquisitive customers with its ‘magical’ flying soba and udon. This time, it has incorporated cheese imported from France into the dishes. Insaneeee!
Flaming Ebi Katsu Maki with Raclette Cheese ($23)
I saw this on my Instagram feed and I knew I just had to indulge all the cheese lovers out there by paying Hana Japanese Restaurant another visit.
The Ebi Katsu Maki is served on a hot pan (you’ll know why in a bit) and comes with the raclette cheese that is poured all over, wrapping it in a warm coat of creamy goodness.
For added charred texture, the top of the cheese was further torched before -wait for it- the bottom of the pan was set on fire. We thought that the presentation was amazing as the fire dances around the pan, but be careful not to burn your hands. Besides that, there’s really nothing to complain about this dish!
Allow the cheese to melt through further, then pick a piece of maki up and enjoy watching the gooey strings of melted cheese before popping it into your mouth. Along the way, you’ll hear a slew of soft crackling and popping sounds from the rice becoming crisp.
What you’ll get is distinctive textures of chewiness and creaminess from the melted cheese, and crunch from the ebi katsu and rice. At one point, this reminded us of when we scrape the bottom of claypot rice.
Just when we were ready to leave the restaurant, the team brought out something we didn’t see on its menu, and we unashamedly (thankfully) asked if it was a new dish they’re working on.
Introducing the 12 Layers Bara Chirashi ($28). Essentially, a fancier version of bara chirashi layered like parfait in a wine glass.
It’s so beautiful to look at, and I wouldn’t mind holding a glass of this in replacement of alcohol at parties. Heh.
A closer look reveals layers of rice, seaweed, salmon and maguro sashimi, jellyfish, ikura, topped with ebiko roe, hotate, uni hidden in the middle, and more. All this alongside an interesting whitebait fish cracker to nibble on.
Dig into the generously filled layers and enjoy the explosion of flavours on your taste buds as you work your way down to the bottom of the glass, which made us bob our heads in pleasure as if we turned into fortune cats.
We were so glad that we had the privilege to try another item that’s new on the menu, and this only adds yet another reason why raclette cheese lovers need to visit Hana soon.
Inaniwa Udon with Assorted Tempura Topped with Raclette Cheese ($25)
If the Flaming Ebi Katsu Maki with Raclette Cheese wasn’t quite enough to satiate your melted cheese cravings, a bowl of the Inaniwa Udon would definitely do the job.
The tempura is topped with melted cheese, covering parts of the udon as well, before being filled with a flavourful broth.
Don’t hesitate to slurp down the udon, because it soaks up the soup rather quickly.
Just like having a bowl of ramen with cheese, the texture of the udon and soup becomes evidently thicker and bolder in taste. This creates another dimension of umami to the dish. We loved it, and would have no qualms finishing it up if there wasn’t already so much food on the table.
With these new additions to its already creative menu, we’re pretty sure Hana will be drawing in a new crowd, especially those into chasing down every new raclette cheese dish available on our island.
It’s a first to have raclette cheese with classic Japanese dishes, and it came as no surprise that the marriage between the two worked so well.
Should you brave the snaking queue in the evening? We don’t see why not. Every visit to Hana just reaffirms our love for Japanese food, so head down to justify if that’s the case for you too.
Expected damage: $23 – $28