A couple of weeks ago I went out for dinner with a friend. We both fancied Japanese but I thought that I had been to most of the main places in the city centre and wanted to try somewhere new. After a brief bit of Googling, I came across Hakataya. I’d never heard of it before and yet it was only a 5 minute walk from my office.
Maybe one of the reasons I hadn’t spotted it before was because it is hidden away a bit, like one of my one of my favourite restaurants, Calistoga, Hakataya is down one of the side lanes of Rose Street. It would be very easy to miss if you weren’t looking for it.
Luckily, once we knew where it was, it was easy to find. The place is small, has a cosy feel to it and when we visited in the early evening, it was quite quiet. There was a beautiful painted mural on one of the walls (pictured above) and had a collection of intriguing ornaments and trinkets. It’s a really lovely place to eat.
The menu is small but solid. There’s not a huge selection of sushi on there (it’s the first place I’ve been to that didn’t offer California rolls) but the ramen selection looked intriguing. With the sushi, ramen and other bits and bobs like gyoza, there is something that everyone will like, without getting drowned in an overwhelming selection.
My dining companion had sushi and gyoza, and I must admit I suffered from momentary food envy when her meal came out! She thoroughly enjoyed the gyoza and followed it up with a beautifully presented rainbow roll:
How pretty is that?! I’m not a fan of the rainbow roll (I refuse to eat prawns, sorry!) but you can’t deny how pretty it looks. Understandably, my friend really enjoyed her sushi as well!
Meanwhile, I opted for the Yokohama ramen, which was also very yummy! Basically, there were three types of ramen available: your standard pork ramen, the “hell” ramen (which is very hot), and the Yokohama ramen, which had a bit of a stronger flavour to the regular ramen and is Hakataya’s specialty.
It was a lovely big bowl of noodles topped with pork, spring onions and egg, and while the broth was a little stronger than I’ve had in the past, it definitely wasn’t overpowering and the whole dish was very pleasant indeed. I’ll certainly be having it again!
For desert, my pal and I shared a big plate of mochi, which is a sweet rice pastry cake filled with a red bean filling. They come with a couple of picks to eat them with – don’t bother! They fall apart if you start stabbing at them so just go in with your hands and pop them in your mouth – delicious!
Hakataya is a lovely little hidden gem in the New Town. Even through their menu is small, the food is great and this is the perfect place to enjoy some authentic Japanese food in a cosy wee setting.
Hakataya (website) is in the heart of the New Town at 122 Rose Street South Lane, EH2 4BB. Head west along Rose Street, and you’ll see it in the lane on the left after you cross Castle Street.