You'll find Hayami tucked away at the bottom of an unassuming apartment complex in Orewa. The first rule of sniffing out hidden gems is not to be disheartened by said gem's surroundings, and this is true of Hayami.
Once through the doors, the tinkling bell signals your entry into a world of Japanese deliciousness where the waiters' smiles are infectious and everyone leaves with a blissed-out stomach.
To begin our night we delved into a selection of small plates, including the Honey Chicken – bite-sized chicken pieces dripping in honey and sesame ($8), Seafood Salad – a selection of fresh seafood drizzled in an addictive dressing ($8.5) - and the Orange Sushi Roll ($14.5). Slabs of peeled orange are draped across rolls of chicken, avocado and cream cheese, all drizzled in a zingy lemon sauce. Both tangy and creamy, it's an unexpected combination, however the adventurous undertaking is well worth the risk – it's freaking delicious.
It's always rude not to order dessert, so we nabbed a bowl of deep fried ice cream to share. Not usually a fan of Mr. Deep Fryer, my distaste was suspended as the warm pancakey batter gave way to spheres of melting vanilla creaminess, and it was magic.
Hayami is a wee trek for those centrally located (roughly a thirty minute drive from Auckland CBD), but if you're as committed to quality Japanese dining as I am, it will be well worth the effort.