In which Jade Culver tucks into Hawaiian cuisine in compostable take out boxes
Nestled in the confines of Fly In The Loaf on Hardman Street, you could say that Oceanside Hawaiian BBQ is camouflaged from seeing eyes, the only indication such a place exists, being two large stickers on the exterior of the pub.
At present it’s entirely a blink and you’d miss it scenario.
A simplistic menu, the restaurant offers up small, BBQ bowl, and large, BBQ plate, versions of its signature dishes combining a range of meats with rice and mac salad from pineapple teriyaki marinated beef and chicken to deep fried mushrooms or grilled shrimp. The same meats are also offered up in burger form and loaded on top of fries. If you’re feeling a bit adventurous, they even serve the same meats, with the addition of spam, as musubi, a Hawaiian classic consisting of rice and meat wrapped in seaweed.
Despite being the only ones in the pub on a quiet Tuesday evening, service was slow, but perhaps this was due to the influx of delivery drivers we spotted outside as the restaurant also operates as a takeaway.
After a thirty-minute wait, the four dishes we ordered made their way to the table in quick succession. Presentation wise, there was much to be desired, for whilst it may operate as a takeaway, we were not expecting to be given plastic forks and compostable food containers whilst eating in. So, if you’re looking for an evening of fine dining, perhaps this wouldn’t be the place to go.
Whilst the presentation was not what we sought; the colourful array of foods placed before us more than made up for what the appearance of the ‘dishware’ lacked. The first meal of the evening consisted of 16 Hawaiian wings (£11), which may seem a lot for one person, but between three? Were all but demolished in a frenzy for the moreish mix of flavours therein of pineapple juice, siracha, garlic and ginger and more (whilst I would love to share all the ingredients, I think a bit of mystery always adds to a dish).
Next up came the Huli Huli Beef BBQ Bowl (£7.50), which, although advertised as being a smaller portion, was still much too big for me to finish, and a dish that gave more bang for your buck. You really can’t go wrong with teriyaki grilled ribeye, and with the added sweetness of the Huli Huli sauce, it makes it a for a rather saccharine meal. Complementing the meat part of the dish is simple white rice and ‘mac salad’, which allowed for a variety of flavours once mixed. The only downside to the dish, was that it arrived to the table lukewarm at best.
I, personally, was not a fan of the mac salad on account of the egg it contained, my meal companions seemed to enjoy it.
The two dishes that followed were Mochiko Loaded Fries (£10) and the Huli Huli Mixed BBQ Plate (£14) which the table shared. The fries were immaculate, and frankly, some of the best loaded fries I have eaten in a long time. One of the biggest meals to hit the table, the fries came in a large box, which was filled to the brim with toppings including Korean fried chicken, and cheese and gochujang sauce.
The mixture of sauces created a creamy texture which served well against the crunch of the chicken and chips, the heat of the gochujang giving it a slight spicy kick. If I were to order takeout, I believe that would be my go-to-dish and I’d happily devour a full portion myself.
After having a meal to myself, I looked to my companions to see how they felt about their Huli Huli Mixed BBQ plate and garnered the following feedback: “There could have been more meat, as most of the dish was filled up by rice and salad, but for the price you’d expect there to be equal parts meat as well. Other than it being on the small side meat wise, the beef was tender, and the katsu chicken was ‘meh’.” (verbatim)
We may have had different thoughts on our individual plates, but we were all very much in agreement that the fries were the best part of the evening.
One would think that the restaurant also needs to up its advertising game to bring in more customers, for the mere fact the only reason we knew it to be in residence at Fly In The Loaf was due to the stickers on the windows and nothing more – at present it’s entirely a blink and you’d miss it scenario.
Whilst the food was enjoyable, Oceanside Hawaiian BBQ is perhaps not a place I would choose to eat in at again but would rather order it as a takeout meal.
All scored reviews are unannounced, impartial, paid for by Confidentials and completely independent of any commercial relationship. They are a first-person account of one visit by one, knowledgeable restaurant reviewer and don't represent the company as a whole.
Venues are rated against the best examples of their type: 1-5: saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9: Netflix and chill, 10-11: if you’re passing, 12-13: good, 14-15: very good, 16-17: excellent, 18-19: pure class, 20: cooked by God him/herself.
Huli Huli BBQ Beef Bowl 6, Mochiko Fries 9, Hawaiian Wings 8, Huli Huli Mixed BBQ Plate 6
With the bar being empty, I can only imagine that Oceanside had an influx of delivery orders due to our long wait time.
Plastic cutlery and take out boxes in an empty pub on a Tuesday wasn't really the vibe we were hoping for