So, Summerlicious might be over this year, but it doesn’t mean that the reviews have stopped!
I went with a bunch of friends (including Laugh Live Eat )for our yearly Summerlicious excursion. This year, we tried a Japanese Izakaya, which I’m not generally for. This is usually because if I’m going to eat little bits of appetizers during Summerlicious, I might as well get the full feel of them during a regular meal. But, the menu looked intriguing enough for me to say yes.
602 College Street
My experience started with the heavens opening up and drowning me in that flash rain Toronto is famous for. So standing awkwardly under an umbrella by a bar (yes, people definitely stared at me… I looked like a drowned rat, its fair) I waited for the rain to lessen to a drizzle. I made it to the restaurant, with their extremely open patio/front door and gestured to the waiter that yes, I had friends inside and yes, I know I’m soaking wet. I liked the interior of the restaurant though. Despite the TVs (which will always draw my attention because I cannot resist the lure of a TV screen) it had a very wood feel. Rather than feeling warm and friendly, it was a bit of a cold feeling towards it, I can’t put my finger on why. There is a lovely mural of Mount Fuji though.
I ordered the Chicken Karaage, which is fried chicken done the Japanese way. It wasn’t as crunchy as I’m used to getting when I eat Karaage, I’m thinking perhaps the soy vinegar may have softened it. The sauce was kind of salty, not terribly, but enough that I needed to have a drink of water, or two. There was a bit of chilli to give the dish a little boost of flavour but I’m not sure it worked with the sauce truthfully. It wasn’t like they were warring against each other, but it didn’t meld either.
Next course: Tempura Fish & Chips. Rather than having chips, they gave me mashed potatoes. I thought it was more like mashed potatoes salad, with mayonnaise and egg. I like my mashed potatoes with eggs, but not so much mayonnaise. The pepper was a good add on, but I found that they may have put too much in. The fish was great and done perfectly, but it felt more beer batter than tempura, which was not exactly what I was expecting. If I just had the crunchy batter, then it tasted slightly tempura, but paired with the salmon, I’ve got beer battered fish and chips. Good salmon though.
I went with the Sesame Cheesecake for dessert and was left very confused. As the dish states, the cheesecake was made with sesame. There was sesame in the cheese portion and in the crust portion. There was too much sesame for sure. It felt like I was eating these sesame treats my parents buy… with cheese! The sauce (which I’m told has red wine) was lost to the sesame and ended up just being coloured water. I slightly regretted the decision. The cooked fruit was excellent though.
The only thing I can say about Hapa was that the service was CRAZY fast. We weren’t finished the appetizer and the main course was already served. Overall, I’m not sure I’m going to be visiting Hapa Izakaya again anytime soon.
-> Price $20 – $30 per person