The bongs are gone, replaced by a shopfront of peeling manga posters. Inside are raw timber battens, inky murals depicting gridlock and strings of golf ball-sized globes dangling overhead. In the half dedicated to the bar, the walls are actually crumbling. It feels like an alleyway behind a cheap anime store, but with chef Adrian Li in the kitchen and Hannoi Hannah floorperson Charlie Rothery running things out front, that feeling doesn't last too long.
Li's menu highlights some less common aspects of Rising Sun cuisine, totally bypassing anything to do with sushi. Occasionally he dips a toe into Korean or further afield, via ingredients such as quinoa or jalapenos. It's not quite full-blown fusion, but you certainly wouldn't call it traditional.
The first three fish items on the menu are prepared ceviche-style, and those jalapenos are found in the diverse entree section, stuffed with smoked chicken and battered in tempura. There's also bulgogi bao, kim chi gyoza and charred snapper with cucumber granita.
Futher down the menu, the stars are brothy bowls of soba and ramen, grilled steak, eel and duck, plus two desserts. It's all good stuff, especially when backed by the list of Japanese beer, sake and whisky, classic cocktails, and local wine.
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