This is still one of the cheapest & value-for-money Japanese buffet in the market, compared to many new Japanese buffet that is about $10 higher than Hanabi.
This restaurant at Katong Mall #01 is split into front and back portion (combined by 3 shops).
From the front shop, this place might be perceived as cramp, but there's back seats (which can be converted to private rooms if there's big gatherings) behind the front view walls which is reasonably peaceful away from the crowd compared to the front seats.
The waitress will still constantly come and check our needs / orders even though we are siting at the back seats.
Its generous variety of sashimi, sushi, tempura, teppanyaki standard maintains.
It has added new menu of Grilled food and Fried Food in its buffet selection, which not much change in Buffet price.
The meat for Grilled food and Fried food seems overlapping on the menu, I tried both ways of cooking.
The deep fried food, flour is too thick, quite jiat-lat when eat too much, will spoil appetite.
Its selection of Grilled food is yummy.
With its new selection of cooked food, can safely bring older family members / relatives to eat at this buffet place (sufficient even for those who don't eat raw fish).
Ample parking lot at 2 levels of basement carpark at Katong Mall. There's also bus-stops nearby.
Hanabi has opened a new outlet at Katong Mall. They also boast a new and expanded buffet menu of over 100 items, now also including kushiyaki (grilled items on skewers) and kushiage (deep-fried items on skewers) items. Lunch at $26 and dinner at $30 sounded like good deals. As we were curious about how Hanabi fares now after original owners sold the chain, hubby and I checked out the new outlet.
Unfortunately, it was less than enjoyable. The tables are incredibly tiny, possibly to deter people from over-ordering. Despite an early hour and reservations, they squeezed us (two hulking adults plus an extremely wriggly toddler grabbing everything within arm's reach) at a table that was smaller than a schooldesk! Our request for a larger table could not be accommodated, so most of the evening we were uncomfortably cramped.
Foodwise, there were a lot more MISSES than HITS. Sashimi less than fresh, bland handrolls, awful deep-fried items tasting horribly alike, shocking mystery meat for some items (like what you'd imagine kangaroo or emu *** might taste like), unimpressive tempura, incompetent kushiyaki and poor noodle dishes. Are they trying to do too much?
Yes, there was stuff that I did like but these were few - the jellyfish, unagi fried rice (although clearly reheated via microwave), nice and smooth chawanmushi, and the yakiniku beef (even if overly salty and bits of it were stringy and chewy).
Looks like things have gone downhill. Service was terrible. Green, foreign waitresses and an unpleasant manager. We left before we ate our fill. Quite honestly, for the same amount of money, you can get much, much, much better food across the hallway at Wahiro.
I tried eating at Hanabi, it is one of the better japanese buffet i have found in the market..its' price is considered quite reasonable. For sakae sushi, its' buffet is too limited...whereas for this restaurant, it covers a great variety of japanese food. The food wise is slightly above average but the waitress tend to forget what we have ordered.
Hanabi has a few other outlets in Bukit Timah and North Bridge Road.... this would be its new addition. I haven't been to the other outlets though my companions have. They have Japanese Buffet in ala carte style which was what brought us to the place during the CNY season. There were 5 adults and 2 kids and we managed to get a table despite not calling ahead. It was really crowded, being a weekend evening and during the festive season. Buffet prices for weekend dinner was about $30(adult) I believe.
Service was good, considering how busy they were. They topped up our tea and water regularly and tried to clear the plates whenever they could. Food was served relatively fast and orders were not forgotten.
However I've had better Japanese Buffets where the food is fresher and tastier. The menu which the food is listed on could be improved on as it is a little disorganised. The variety of food varies from outlet to outlet, according to my companions, who were a little upset that certain sashimi wasn't served in this outlet.
But I do think that a re-visit is possible... when I'm not with fussy people and there's nothing much else in the area to try.
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