We first discovered Hotaru at Gouger Street during our first trip to Adelaide. I think we were one of their first customers because the restaurant was newly opened. Since then the restaurant has been a popular pick for us when we are celebrating an occasion. This is due to serving sizes being quite generous as well as the food being very delicious.
Barramundi Miso Yaki (Photographed by Jonathan Phoon)
Probably our favourite dish from the restaurant, Barramundi Miso Yaki consists of a whole deep-fried barramundi coated in miso sauce with the fish having being filleted beforehand to make eating it easier. The barramundi was fried to golden brown with the crisp coating contrasting well with the tender fish. The miso sauce helped to bring out the flavour of the barramundi without drowning it out.
Teppanyaki Beef Rolled with Mushroom (Photographed by Jonathan Phoon)
One of their various Teppanyaki dishes, the beef in their Teppanyaki Beef Rolled with Mushroom was cooked just right with the firmer mushrooms being the perfect partner to the beef. The dish came with three types of dipping sauce - garlic sauce, sesame sauce and soy lime sauce. We thought the garlic sauce enhanced the flavour of the beef the most, though the sesame sauce also subtly brought out the flavour of the beef with the soy lime sauce giving it a delectable tang.
Assorted Tempura (Photographed by Jonathan Phoon)
The prawns in their Assorted Tempura were cooked to perfection with the crisp batter complementing the prawns and vegetables well. As with other restaurants, the dish came with tentsuyu sauce to dip the Tempura in before eating it. This is the only dish that we think could do with a more generous portion.
For a dish considered by Australian to be a "standard" Japanese dish, Hotaru's Chicken Teriyaki was done very well with the chicken having a delectable char-grilled flavour with crisp skin and tender meat. The Teriyaki sauce brought out the flavour of the chicken without overwhelming and the small salad accompanying it helped to balance out its rich taste.
Green Tea Ice Cream (Photographed by Jonathan Phoon)
We were invited to taste Hotaru's Green Tea and Black Sesame Ice Cream during our first visit to the restaurant. The ice creams were freshly made at the restaurant and they wanted some feedbacks on the taste. Both ice cream flavours are now regular items in their selection of dessert. My mother and sister said the Green Tea Ice Cream is still the best they have tasted with a definite taste of green tea. I love both flavours – the Green Tea Ice Cream have a refreshing taste and the Black Sesame Ice Cream have a distinct texture from the black sesame mixed into the ice cream. The portions were very generous with three big scoops of ice cream per serving.
Black Sesame Ice Cream (Photographed by Jonathan Phoon)
Deep Fried Ice Cream is a popular dessert served in Chinese restaurants, featuring vanilla ice cream that is encased in batter before it is deep fried. Hotaru puts a unique spin by including coconut in the batter to give it texture and a subtle Asian flavour with the melted chocolate served with it completing the dish.
Deep Fried Ice Cream (Photographed by Jonathan Phoon)
Ambience of the restaurant was very cosy and while most of the seating is the usual table and chairs, there are also a few Japanese style tables that require you to remove your shoes. There is a decent amount of free parking space on the street where the restaurant is located but it advisable to arrive early as they tend to fill up quickly during the peak dinner hour.
I went there twice in the early days and liked the food.The chef I believe was Chinese and was from Hong Kong.The service was pleasant and the wait time was minimal..due to a small crowd.Possibly the same chef is still there and the menu expanded.Might be worth trying again!I can't say I felt a strong Japanese atmosphere here,but that may have changed as well.When I go to a restaurant that proclaims to be one nationality or another,I do like to see the waiters etc. dressed in a way that indicates that nationality,provided of course that there background is in tune with the food they are serving.