Hatori Karaage is one of the eateries at the Camp Hill Marketplace. You will be unsurprised to learn that their thing is karaage, or Japanese-style fried dishes.
We visited one cool evening. The seating is mostly in a breezy covered alfresco area, which is good in COVID times. It was comfortable ambient temperature when we were there, and it was fine without heating or fans. There was a high ceiling overhead, with festoon lights strung in a zigzag across it.
We approached the entrance, and when we told staff we wanted to dine in, were shown to an available table. They brought menus and a bottle of hand sanitiser to the table, and a sheet with a QR code so we could check in. It was a well-organised process.
The menus were printed sheets held together on clipboards. There were typical casual dining Japanese dishes like curries and udon, as well as poke bowls. There were also skewers and a number of karaage options. We zoomed in on the karaage items, of course. Karaage chicken is probably the commonest version people have encountered. The range of other karaage items Hatori Karaage has includes eggplant, crab, and prawn.
We eventually picked the Tori Karaage platter. This allowed us to try a few of their karaage chicken items (“tori” is chicken), rather than have to narrow it down to just a couple of choices. The Tori Karaage platter has the Tori Karaage, Sweet Chilli Cheese Karaage, Miso Karaage, and Tebasaki Karaage, and comes with sweet potato chips and salad. We did consider adding other items as well, but waitstaff warned us that the platter was quite large..
When the platter was brought to the table, we were glad that they had cautioned us against ordering more. It was an impressive hillock of fried chicken, served on a boat-shaped board. It was bookended by a bowl of green leafy salad at one end, and small bowls of mayo and wasabi mayo at the other end.
The Tori Karaage had a thin, crunchy batter coating. It was lightly seasoned. The menu stated that it was a soy-sauce based seasoning. We found it to be flavourful, but not heavy-handed. The chicken pieces were boneless, piping hot, and juicy.
The Sweet Chilli Cheese Karaage had a sweet, sour, and spicy glaze on it, and was topped with melted cheese. It was a moreish mix of flavours, without the cloying sweetness you get from supermarket sweet chilli sauces. It was not too fiery, so you could enjoy the other flavours. The melted cheese was still stretchy, as the chicken was hot.
The Miso Karaage was coated with miso glaze. This slightly sticky glaze imparted a light umami note.
The Tebasaki Karaage was listed as crispy chicken wings coated with garlic soy glaze, and sesame on top. This was the only one with bones still in, as the other components were done from boneless chicken thigh meat. This had more of a chickeny flavour to it. Though the coating was less crunchy than the others, the meat was still tender and juicy. The garlic soy glaze had a good sweet and salty balance.
We thought it wise that they served sweet potato crisps instead of wedges with the platter, as wedges would have been very filling with the rest of the fried chicken. Instead, the crisps were light, and added a different kind of crunch.
The wasabi mayo was also well-balanced. It had a sweet mayo note, and wasabi earthiness, but not too much punchy heat, so that it did not drown out the other flavours when the karaage was dipped in.
We enjoyed our meal at Hatori Karaage. The Tori Karaage platter was good value for the price, and the components had discernibly different flavours. Waitstaff were cheerful, friendly, and helpful. We appreciated that they kept us from over-ordering. If you have a hankering for fried chicken, we can definitely recommend checking Hatori Karaage out.
Price point: $38.90 for the platter. Separate serves of the karaage items (including soft shell crab) $7.90 to $12.90.
Value: Good, for the platter we had.
Address: Shop 6/25 Samuel St, Camp Hill Marketplace, Camp Hill
Phone: 07 3194 7751
Website: Hatori Karaage