28 May Hare & Tortoise
It can be hard choosing where to take my grandparents for dinner. Particularly when you’re in charge of ordering as one can’t read English and the other, despite being able to read English, can’t hear a thing! Fortunately Hare & Tortoise has photos in their menu as well as clearly labelled vegetarian dishes, making it easy to use. We went on a Saturday night around 7pm and were lucky enough to get a table straight way. I’d book in advance on a weekend to be sure of a table at a decent time.
The style here is Japanese casual dining with other oriental cuisines to supplement the menu such as Chinese Lo Mein (noodle) varieties and Thai curries. Also tempting on the menu are the sushi, sashimi, soup or dry noodles and rice dishes. We’d ordered some vegetable tempura to share that included peppers, green beans, mushrooms and a slice of pumpkin. All had good crunch with a decent amount of batter whilst still remaining light. This is a nice option if you want to share a starter.
Both my grandmother and I chose the Unagi Don – grilled eel in a delicate sweet soy glaze over steamed rice. Garnish consisted of Japanese pickles and miso soup on the side. The pleasingly large bowl was filled with rice and a plentiful supply of eel. In terms of texture, the pickles provided a good crunch and weren’t overly tangy, just enough to balance the rich eel. Excellent flavour all round, grilled eel is one of my favourites!
The tofu and veggie ramen arrived looking absolutely spectacular. This was possibly the most humongous bowl of ramen I’ve ever seen. Swimming around in the pool of vegetable stock were pak choi, mushrooms, bamboo shoots, seaweed, spring onions, three large cuboids of tofu and of course the ramen noodles. My granddad absolutely demolished this, so it’s safe to say it tasted fantastic!
Finally, Mr Munch’s dish was the Tantanmen, ramen noodles in a sesame and chilli based soup. Despite the soup’s intense red colour, it’s only a medium spice level so manageable for most palettes. Many typical ramen ingredients featured here from the noodles to the boiled egg and bamboo shoots, fortified by seasonal veg and kikurage fungus (like a slightly crunchy flat mushroom, popular in oriental cooking). The best bit in the bowl was the dry chilli strings, lifting the dish to starry heights! Mr Munch has been dreaming of these noodles for days and can’t wait to go back for more 😀
As you can probably tell, we really enjoyed our dinner here. The food was sensational and at a good price. Admittedly the eel is pricier, but that’s to be expected. The other dishes are under the £10 mark and considering the volume and quality of ingredients, you’d be a fool to complain. It was a bit loud due to the low ceilings and being busy, you might have to lean over the table a little during your conversations! Staff were super friendly and accommodating, especially with older clientele. Good for winning grandchild brownie points 😀 We left full and content!
Total receipt (4 people): 61.60
1x Yasai Tempura 5.7
2x Unagi Don 34.20
1x Tantanmen 9.8
1x Tofu and Vegetable Ramen 8.4
1x Green Juice (freshly pressed) 3.5
Rating: 9/10 Both hare and tortoise won this race