Hau Han are new kids on the block - a block that has just come out of a few years of having been hidden under the tramworks.
Hau Han is not far from Haymarket Station, an area that has been well beaten by roadworks and tramworks but which is now clear of works and starting to ‘heal’ and grow on the West End of Edinburgh.
Hau Han specialises in Chinese food from Hong Kong. Couple Sonia and Derek are the owners with Sonia taking care of a wee one and the front of house whilst Derek is the head chef.
Both come from a hospitality/restaurateur families - Sonia’s mum and dad have a chippie in Dundee whilst Derek’s parents own a Chinese restaurant in Hong Kong. Food is in their blood and so they decided to put their knowledge and skills of growing up and working in restaurants and chippies into one enterprise - they give you Hau Hun.
The decor is not traditional Chinese but more a western take on a modern Chinese restaurant. The pale pinks and greens, with wooden seating and a jade partition keep the space fresh and open giving the entire space a very relaxed calm vibe although it would be nice to see something on the walls to give it a cosier feel - it is a little sparse.
Lucky Buddha beer ordered and his tummy well rubbed, it was time to peruse the menu. Our expectations were high.
The menu is very much made for the western palate although we had really hoped for some very traditional dishes from Hong Kong and some authentic cooking.
The dishes that followed were nice but they are dishes that you can find on any other Chinese restaurant menu in Scotland.
Jap Choi Goon (£4.70) - Vegetable Spring Rolls with Sweet Chilli Dip.
These are on the wee side but you get six of them. The spring rolls were crispy and tasty and a great way to sate the appetite until the other dishes arrived.
Herng So Gnap (£9.00) - 1/4 Duck with pancakes, sliced cucumber, spring onions and Hoisin sauce.
You’d expect the duck to be shredded but instead it had been chopped and was quite dry. The pancakes were wafer thin (which you’d expect). This dish was a little bland and quite disappointing.
Satay Gai Chon (£4.70) - Chicken Satay Skewers.
Three decent sized skewers arrived with large pieces of chunky chicken on them. The chicken was soft, moist and juicy. The satay lacked that peanutty taste, and the taste of the coconut and the spices were prevalent rather than the nutty taste you’d expect.
Geu Yeim Di Ha (£9.50) - Salted Chilli king prawns with garlic, onions and peppers.
This packs a punch on the heat side and the prawns are loaded with chilli. Prawns are a decent size and well cooked. I loved the amount of onions you got and munched quite happily through these,
Kung Pow Cauliflower (£4.00) - this is the star of the menu. Loved loved loved this dish. It’s sweet and sticky, and salty and more-ish. The cauliflower was just cooked, tender but not mushy.
Sei Lam Fa (£8.00) - Stir fried Beef in Oyster, Soy and Sesame sauce with broccoli.
A nice enough dish. The beef was tender as was the broccoli.
Fried Man Tau (£4.00) - Chines doughnuts rolled in sugar and cinnamon served with condensed milk.
These are just like western doughnuts without the hole. The dough was fresh and had an excellent bounce back. The condensed milk was sweet and sticky, and if you are looking for a very sweet way to end your meal, then this is it.
Lychees and Ice Cream. I love lychees. A simple dish, that is what it is. Its fresh and sweet.
The wall at the back of the restaurant is covered with Fortune Cats or Maneki Neko; and I certainly hope it brings Sonia and Derek good fortune.
For most of us, this Chinese will tick all the boxes. The food is freshly cooked, its hot, it comes out the kitchen quickly, the dishes are familiar and well seasoned for the western palate.
As well as sit in restaurant, Hau Hun also do take-away. Give them a go, they may very well become your favourite go-to Chinese.
Hau Hun, 88 Haymarket Terrace, Edinburgh. Tel : 0131 2819331 www.hauhan.co.uk
My Spoon Award : Bronze Spoon 7/10
I was invited by Hau Han to review their menu. Food and drink were complimentary but the views are very much my own.