Hokkaido, Wakefield Kirkgate
Another overrated Valentine weekend has crept upon us and I had simply planned on a Marks and Spencer dine in, until, that is, I was treated to a visit to Hokkaido, the only Japanese restaurant in Wakefield, once again. This would be the third visit of mine and what I can only describe as the best one yet. Edging slightly away from the usual menus, the valentines menu was of exceptional quality. Over £4 difference to my usual menu C and 11 courses to indulge in. The menu included Japanese chicken dumplings, sliced duck breast with brandy and soy sauce, sirloin steak wraps and a scallop in shell cooked in a traditional Japanese style.
The wait wasn’t too long and unsurprisingly a full house accompanied us as we sat to dine. The sitting is a rectangle table where you sit either side of your party with the ability to watch your chosen food being cooked. I chose a Pinot Grigio at £16.50, a fairly light wine to not overtake the tastes that was to come. A small jug of Sake wine came in at £7.50. Slightly expensive but worth it for the refreshing warm notes alongside the spices. The Teppanyaki chef was divine to watch, both articulate and methodical, his culinary skills never seem to be put to the test, confidently chopping, frying, cutting in front of mesmerised and hungry guests.
If heaven had a taste it would be the scallops on shell cooked traditional Japanese style. Simply perfect. Scallops coated in raw egg before being flame blasted and topped with caviar. The guy never stops. Two eggs go from cracked open to egg fried roll in a matter of seconds before each guest is invited to try and catch the cooked egg in their mouth as a ‘bit of humour’ to the occasion. Bucket loads of flavour swim over every dish, garlic, soy, sake to name a few, making the simplest of dishes such as beansprouts become delightful to the palette.
Cumin, spring onion, Brandy and garlic flakes added to dishes such as chicken, duck and steak elevated the senses and made the speciality menu an impressive feast for any foodie.
The menu came in at £33.90 each. Not taking into account the drinks on top. As far as Wakefield City goes, it’s at the top end when it comes to price. I once was unsure of its setting. It can be deemed as out of the way, positioned near the roundabout at Kirkgate. However, the quiet and peaceful setting no doubt works in its favour. People will visit this restaurant for the food and not the position. Overall, my latest visit was perfect in every way, dining, drinking, entertainment and service. I would thoroughly recommend this restaurant for people who love Japanese cuisine or for people who would maybe like to try something different. Hopefully some of the valentine menu will be incorporated into the standard one. 10/10