45 BATH LANE, NE4 5SP | MON – SUN 12AM – 2PM and 6PM – 11PM
Hana Hana is a Japanese restaurant found (slightly ironically) in Newcastle’s wonderful Chinatown. It has all the aesthetic that you’d expect – lantern red walls, lots of gold, and plastic chairs. Yet it sets itself a little apart from the rest, albeit with quite a steep price tag, by focusing their fare around the teppanyaki counters.
Bar stools surround hot metal plates in the middle squares, behind which the chefs stand behind and fry teppanyaki-style before your eyes the raw goods you’ve selected off the menu. There is something undeniably entertaining about watching the deft, fluid movements of the chefs who swish knives and pallets around the grills at lightning speed as though they are an extension of their own hands.
We got king prawns, squid and tuna steaks alongside vegetables and an egg fried rice. It doesn’t blow you away as the flavouring is fairly simple, but it’s hard to match the joy taken from a piece of freshly fried squid splashed with a bit of teppanyaki sauce and some sticky sweet veg on the side. Umami is definitely involved somewhere. It’s also a lot of fun when the chefs let you take control, trying to match their ability at slicing eggs in mid-air to then promptly scramble them into an egg-fried rice. It inevitably ends in lots of laughter and egg all over everyone. Careful though as prices can add up quickly, as they aren’t small to begin with.