A decent sushi bar without the painful price tags at EmQuartier.
This compact restaurant may not have the most enticing design but Hokkai-Don presents a decent sushi bar without the painful price tags. Despite the bland decor and dim lighting, its energetic staff lift the atmosphere with their cheerful spirits and attentive service.
Hidden within EmQuartier’s sixth-floor Helix zone, the restaurant asks that orders are placed via the touch screen available on every table and, with a mostly Japanese clientele, they must be doing something right.
The extensive menu is impressive, offering a wide range of sushi, sashimi and rice bowls alongside fusion dishes such as their recommended unagi cheese roll (grilled eel topped with cheese on riceberry rolls, B300)—although the crispy grilled eel hits the spot, the sweet sauce drizzled on top is a little overpowering.
The sushi menu starts at buta mentai (Torched pork, B30), coursing through to uni (sea urchin, B250) and Kobe beef (B250), while the big sashimi plate will set you back B2,300 for around nine items. The friendly chefs are happy to chit-chat, so you can get the lowdown on what’s fresh that day. The plate of mixed sushi (B260) comes with shrimp roe, crab stick, saury, red surf clam and deliciously fresh-tasting tuna.
There are many different rice bowls on the menu, the most popular being Kaisen aburi don (rice topped with grilled seafood including scallops, eel, salmon, sable and salmon roe, B550). This dish comes in a large portion with perfectly-grilled, fresh-tasting seafood but was unfortunately let down by soggy rice and unpleasantly sour vinegar.
The spicy salmon roll (B280) stuffed with avocado, tamagoyaki (sweet egg) and crab is topped with chunks of salmon dressed heavily in mayonnaise that could do with more spice—tasty but nothing special.
An invigorating bottle of Nigorishu (B480)—unfiltered sake that tastes sweet and mild, with a slight fruity note—is the perfect thing to wash it all down. There are no desserts on offer as yet, only a promise that they are “coming soon” on the menu, but a chilled can of jelly plum sake (B260) makes for a refreshing, sweet and slightly tangy finish to the meal.
For those who aren’t fussed about fancy interiors and mall settings, Hokkai-Don offers reasonably priced Japanese cuisine that is more than capable of rivaling big brands such as Fuji.
This review took place in June 2018 and is based on a visit to the restaurant without the restaurant's knowledge. For more on BK's review policy, click here.