Review: Hihou (Melbourne, VIC)

1 Flinders Lane
Melbourne VIC 3000
+61 3 9654 5465
http://www.hihou.com.au/

No one in Melbourne does cool like Simon Denton. He’s the guy who bought us Izakaya Den and Nama Nama as well as Verge before closing that restaurant and re-opening it as Hihou. It was my birthday week so Nee and I decided to celebrate over a lovely mid-week dinner and drinks just before I was due to fly to Sydney for the Writers’ Festival that weekend.

The word Hihou means ‘secret treasure’ and without wanting to turn this post until something dirty, Hihou is indeed one. You have to find a black door just off the Flinders Lane/Spring Street corner, a few steps from Nama Nama. I was given clear instructions by a couple of fellow food bloggers but despite those and despite my geographical aptitude, I still had to ask a Nama Nama staff for help. Gawd, such fail. Regardless, I got there in the end; I found the hidden door, I found the door bell I was supposed to ring and up I went.

We were seated on super low stools and at a super low table by the window, overlooking Flinders Lane. Hihou is extremely sexy and sophisticated – and no, I’m not referring to the hotties in suits who were downing Japanese whiskies on the communal table in the middle of the diminutive dining room. Rather, I’m talking about the demure dark lighting, the gorgeous garden views and the calm and serene atmosphere – it was almost like I was at the Park Hyatt and I was Bill Murray. (I’d say Scarlett but I’m afraid I’m lacking in the chest department)

‘Cuban’ spicy tuna cigar ($6); eel and tofu croquette with tonkatsu sauce ($4 each)
‘Cuban’ spicy tuna cigar ($6); eel and tofu croquette with tonkatsu sauce ($4 each)

With a glass of Yamazaki in my hand, we decided to order a few dishes to share. I’m not sure what made the tuna cigar ‘Cuban’ (jeez, not all cigars are Cuban!) but whatever, it was lovely. I loved the delicately crunchy shell and the slightly creamy tuna filling which gave a bit of heat.

Meanwhile, the eel and tofu croquettes weren’t as stellar. I just found the filling too mushy and watery. (thanks to the tofu, perhaps)

Hihou dog: sesame brioche, arabiki pork sauge ($12)
Hihou dog: sesame brioche, arabiki pork sauge ($12)

We split the Hihou dog in two (ooh-er, dirty). It was a very simple dish – just bun, sausage and ‘kraut – but because it’s a Simon Denton establishment and because Japanese coarse grind sausages are used, naturally there was a price hike. It was delicious though, and we loved that we were given an assortment of sauces to dress our sausages up in. (oh stop it…)

Buckwheat crêpes with duck breast, pickled mushrooms and leek ($21)
Buckwheat crêpes with duck breast, pickled mushrooms and leek ($21)

We also loved the duck crêpes, a DIY dish that involved chucking a sliced duck breast or two onto a thick, doughy crêpe piece and dressing it with pickled mushroom and leek. I loved how the mushrooms’ earthy flavours paired beautifully with the duck meat and the sweet, soft crêpes.

Seared tuna with spring onion puree, ginger, dashi and fried parsnip
Seared tuna with spring onion puree, ginger, dashi and fried parsnip

The seared tuna was another fantastic dish, a study in Japanese effortlessness. The tuna pieces were super fresh, making them an excellent catalyst in soaking up the zesty ginger and dashi dressing. The fried parsnip chips also added a lovely crunchy to the dish.

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We skipped dessert because none of the dessert options wowed us (too much chocolate, imo) so ended up having cocktails instead, a lovely way to cap off a sexy, sleek dinner.

Hihou on Urbanspoon

I eat too much.

3 Comments

  1. Neeno - Sew Me Love
    September 10, 2014

    I’m so glad I wore a nice shirt that nice and not my old grandma jumper 😛
    What am I furiously doing in the background??? Swiping left???
    Loved that dinner, it was gooooooood.

    Reply
  2. Choc Chip Uru
    September 11, 2014

    Just reading about duck crepes makes me wonder how classy this place is 😛
    Gorgeous photos (but remember no such thing as too much chocolate!)

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

    Reply
  3. What a great place to enjoy birthday week. Its quite sad that you were disappointed with desserts. Its nice that you had a great time at HiHou.

    Reply

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