I have been a huge fan of this eatery, as those on Instagram would know. But I’ve hesitated to do a full write-up on it, mainly because I wanted to keep it as quiet as possible. But I guess word has gone out, and it’s always full from 12:15 pm onwards on weekdays anyway, so no use trying to keep mum about it.
Tucked away on the second floor at a row of shophouses along Tanjong Pagar Road (next to Blue Ginger), Hanare is the lesser known cousin of its glamorous relative, Teppei. Made famous by its charming (or so I’ve heard) chef Teppei-san, Teppei serves omakase for dinner, and has waiting lists that are months long. It is almost legendary, how reservations for Oct-Dec open in Aug, and spaces are gone in a day. It is especially hard to get a seat at Teppei, because there are only 15 or so counter seats there. But more on Teppei later.
Hanare is a great lunch time alternative because it has space for about 60 pax, albeit under slightly cramped conditions. The bara chirashi that it serves comes from the kitchen of Teppei, which is merely an alleyway away. Most times it arrives with the rice still piping hot, which is nice.
Hanare serves two main options, a bara chirashi option with mini buffet ($17.90), or a full buffet ($19.90) with a main feature dish of the day (with permutations, e.g. bara chirashi with full buffet). I always go for the bara chirashi, because that’s what I come here for! The raw fish is to die for, and I could eat it every other day. DHA to the max.
Recently, they have enhanced their menu to include additional toppings, some of which are pretty exotic. My friends and I managed to try almost all of the offerings.
This is what the Uni looks like – just three tiny slivers, but still affordable compared to other high end Japanese establishments. I guess that’s where Teppei and Hanare’s niche lies – providing premium, interesting and fresh Japanese food at affordable prices.
The photo below depicts the chopped tuna belly, or Negitoro. It looks a tad like spam, but tastes nothing like that or canned tuna. It was delectable! As you can see, my friend had that, and the Uni as toppings. What can we say, she had a hard week.
Lastly, the photo of the toppings comprising four Hokkaido Red Scallops. It might look a bit like raw chicken, but it was Oh-So-Sweet. I just felt privileged to have access to such Scallops.
The mini buffet that accompanies the basic bara chirashi set ($17.90) is nothing to shout about, but it does provide authentic miso soup (with seaweed! As much seaweed as you’d care to add, which for me reads plenty), edamame, fresh salad leaves and a lotus root with mushroom stew. Free flow of warm or cold green tea too, and no GST or service charge. What’s not to love?!
The cramped seating conditions, and the sometimes stuffy air-conditioning I guess.
What’s the best part? It’s yet to be! Cos we managed to get seats at Teppei in May! So there’ll be a review on Teppei’s awesome omakase coming up in June, watch for it.
99B Tanjong Pagar Road
No reservations accepted (so no need to put telephone number here, haha)