Matteo Bruno has done it again. The guy who rules Melbourne’s meatball empire with an iron fist (and a good glass of Riesling) has opened a new venue on Little Collins, and it’s set to become a late-night CBD staple.
Hana is a jungle-clad, Hawaiian-themed seafood bar. A Blade Runner luau with extra pineapples. It was inspired by the lush foliage and killer views of the Hana Highway, a clifftop switchback on the island of Maui, and our first impressions are (frankly) awesome. Neon-pink underlights blaze from the bar, there’s palm fronds and monstera leafs everywhere, and the wall foliage is so dense that searching for the bathroom door is like stepping into The Secret Garden. (It’s not often a toilet makes it into these reviews, but when it does, you know it’s good).
Raw seafood and Hawaiian flavours are Hana’s bread and butter. In fact, it’s hard to think of a similar menu anywhere else in the city. Lunch diners get a variety of poke bowls (everything from kingfish and apple to charred tuna and citrus salad), but it’s the dinner menu where things get really interesting. Here’s how to do it: start out with seafood croquettes, ginger honey and aioli (our frontrunner for Croquette Champ 2017), then order the tapioca crisps with poke, avocado and yuzu (crispy, tender and f**cking delicious). The big decision of the night is whether to go the grilled lobster tail with carrot and cardamom puree, or the pork shank – a hunk of tender meat so big the bartenders call it the ‘Tomapork’. Our advice? Cut your losses and try both.
Bruno has put together a savvy drinks list, and the cocktails are hilarious. The Honolua Bay Sharknado is a fruity mix of dark rum, Cointreau, passionfruit, lime and orange…and comes served in a giant shark head. You can even upgrade the signature Hana Colada to “volcano” status—a punch-bowl Pina Colada, covered in palm leaves, that serves four very thirsty people. Vino-lovers will be happy too: the wine list is 40-strong, 100% organic, and designed with seafood in mind. Aloha, baby.
Image credit: Griffin Simm