What’s on the menu at Hana, Yorkville’s fancy new kaiseki restaurant

What’s on the menu at Hana, Yorkville’s fancy new kaiseki restaurant

Name: Hana
Contact: 102 Yorkville Ave., 647-343-8887, aburihana.com, @hanayorkville
Neighbourhood: Yorkville
Owner: Seigo Nakamura (Miku Toronto, TORA)
Executive chef: Ryusuke Nakagawa (Kikunoi)
Accessibility: Fully accessible; elevator to entrance

The food

The restaurant group’s first luxury concept is focused on Kyoto-style kaiseki cuisine. “Typically the kaiseki menu focuses on locally sourced ingredients, so now that I’m in Toronto—even though we’ll import some ingredients from Japan—I don’t just want to focus on Japanese ingredients. This is the only place in the world where you can have this kind of menu and experience,” says Nakagawa. There are two menus, each including 15 courses that alternate between creative nigiri and cooked dishes. The $195 Aburi Kyō-Kaiseki menu lists dishes like a silky Quebec foie gras chawanmushi. The $330 Hana Kyō-Kaiseki dinner lasts up to two-and-a-half hours and features premium ingredients, like black truffle wagyu nigiri over uni shari (seasoned sushi rice).

At the chef’s counter, each course is served to guests by members of the kitchen team.


One of the courses on the Hana Kyō-Kaiseki menu features Hokkaido uni that’s served on seasoned sushi rice and topped with pickled kohlrabi. It’s sided with a P.E.I. oyster dressed in beet vinaigrette and amaranth sprout.


Here’s a closer look at the oyster.


And the uni.


Both menus serve Aburi Sawara with daikon and mitsuba vinegar, kiku flower, okahijiki (seaweed) and fresh sudachi juice. The Hana menu, however, embellishes this course with fresh salmon caviar and presents the course on a leaf that’s imported from Japan. Theatrical dry ice fog billows from underneath.


Here’s a closer look.


Nigiri, like this aburi kinmedai with yuzu kosho, appears on both menus on soy-marinated konbu and finished with nori powder.


Maple smoke is trapped in the Aritayaki made for the Amadai course.


And then released.


Both menus serve the seared Amadai “Urokayaki” that showcases crystallized fish scales on the cooked tilefish, with eggplant and celery root karashi purée. It’s finished with parsley oil, tomato bonito vinegar, kale powder and lily root.


Nakagawa serves the Wagyu course.


Miyazaki Wagyu appears on both opening menus, but the version from the Hana Kyō-Kaiseki features binchotan-grilled tenderloin served with black garlic miso, roasted Fuji apple and maitake mushroom.


The Wasanbon ice cream, topped with a black sugar sphere and some edible gold, launches the dessert portion of the menu.


Here’s a whole spread.


Executive chef Ryusuke Nakagawa (left) with sous chef Aiko Uchigoshi, who is best known for her work as the Aburi restaurant group’s head pastry chef.


“Japanese cuisine can be quite difficult to access because it can be expensive. If you go to Japan, there are a lot of traditional kaiseki restaurants, but visitors may not know where they should go or what to order. I want this type of cuisine to spread, so it may be easier to try my Kyo-Kaiseki. It’s like a stepping stone because it has familiar Canadian ingredients, but the dishes are still traditional,” says Nakagawa.


Omotenashi is a unique approach to hospitality and care that anticipates and fulfills a guest’s needs. Even reading glasses are available for those who might need to borrow a pair to read the menu.


The drinks

Beverage director and head sommelier Alexander Powell is behind the beverage pairings that feature a mix of carefully selected wines and sakes ($125 for the Aburi menu, $180 for the Hana). For the connoisseurs (read: $$$) there’s also a collection of rare wines and sakes that have been secured from auctions.

Sakes currently on offer including the Hakkaisan “Awa” super-premium sparkling that is served as a pairing for the Hana menu.


A selection of by-the-bottle wines that are currently in Hana’s cellar.


The space

Clad in refined finishes, Hana’s serene space was purposefully designed to bring Kyoto to Toronto. The reservation-only chef’s counter seats up to 16 people at each of its two nightly seatings. There are also five kakurega (Japanese for “hidden gem”) private dining rooms that can accommodate two to eight guests.

Vancouver-based design agency Ste. Marie Design is behind the interior which also features traditional ikebana (Japanese floral arrangements) by a local floral artist.


In Japanese, “hana” means flower, beauty and elegance—it’s also the name of owner Nakama’s daughter.


Seating at the chef’s counter.


Here’s one of the private rooms.


And another one. Each of the five private rooms comes with its own beverage service cart.


The entrance walkway is called Kyoto Alley and is supposed to represent the Emperor’s palace composed of stone and wood.


A window into the kitchen in Kyoto Alley.


Here’s the kitchen again.


Hana is located on the lower level of 102 Yorkville.