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Hako Japanese Restaurant & Bar

Home > Melbourne > Dinner | Food and Wine | Lunch | Restaurants
by Su Mei Koh (subscribe)
A freelance writer currently residing in Melbourne, with a penchant for sugar, spice, and everything nice.
Published September 2nd 2012
Hako is the name of a deceptively modest restaurant tucked away in Flinders Lane, where it attracts Japanese food lovers from all over Melbourne with its blend of traditional and progressive cuisine.

a welcoming sign


Tracing back to its Japanese roots, the word 'hako' directly translates to the word 'box' or 'container'. This is reflected in the restaurant's lunch offerings, where there are bento boxes and lunch sets available for busy corporate workers looking for a quick, delicious meal. The environment at night, however, is a completely different scene to what you will find during the day.

As I stepped into the dimly lit restaurant for dinner, I couldn't help but stop for a moment to soak in the minimalistic yet elegant interior, which seems to capture the very essence of a Japanese Zen type atmosphere. The restaurant itself is located away from the noise and bustle of the city, and with soft music playing in the background, you can't help but feel a little more relaxed. The waiter was pleasant and kind enough to help us keep our coats in a cubby. The dinner menu, though not extremely extensive, offers some interesting and authentic dishes. The menu, we were informed, was actually designed to cultivate a sense of camaraderie by encouraging the sharing of small dishes amongst friends and family.

a quintessential (and cute) Japanese ware


If you're on a tight budget, then perhaps the lunch sets are the more affordable options to go for, as the dinner prices are on the steep end. Also, because dishes are meant to be shared, the portions are smaller, akin to some fine dining type helpings. However, just because the dish is small, doesn't mean it's any less tasty. These simple but elegant dishes encompass all the right balance of flavours and are all delicately prepared by a knowledgeable Japanese chef. The specials are a must-try, pack full of taste and so very delicious, guaranteed to please your taste buds.

california maki, tobiko, prawn, avacado and mayo roll


ebi tempura maki, spicy prawn tempura roll


Japanese dumpling, one of the specials for the night


Although the bill at the end of the night might wear a small hole in your pocket, it's worth treating yourself to an authentic Japanese meal every now and then, as well as to revel in the joys of sharing good food with your closest family and friends.

Reservations via phone for dinner are a must, as the place is normally booked out. Hako stays true to its Japanese roots and is a lovely place to relax and dine in for a night.
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Why? delicious, authentic Japanese food to share
When: Mon-Fri Lunch 12pm-230pm, Mon-Sun Dinner 530pm-Late
Phone: 03 9620 1881
Where: 310 Flinders Lane
Cost: $25-$35 per meal
Your Comment
Thanks Mei, will put this in my 'to eat' file.
by Gilbo (score: 1|14) 2567 days ago
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