Basic Restaurant Information
Address: 8 On Wo Lane, Sheung Wan
Category: Japanese / Omakase
Phone Number: 2547 5263
My two favorites here would be the sawtail sashimi and the mirugai geoduck clam sashimi. Since neither of them requires extra soy sauce or ponzu, you can really taste the freshness of the sashimi in your mouth. Both are chewy as you finish to the core and slick on the surface. The use of garments such as wasabi and yuzu kosho adds to the overall texture and additional scent.
The oyster on the other hand, has that original taste from the sea, just as if it were caught / harvested this morning. Extremely fresh and the mozuku does crazy wonders to add to that concept.
Oh, flower crab. Perhaps the most decorated course here it is simply delightful. Not to mention the aesthetically pleasing crab shell that contains all of our beloved ingredients. The unis are delicious and fresh, the crab meat are tender and even the mitsuba and sudachi are on fleek. We're up on a flying start!
Can't go wrong with a sardine tartare. It is interesting to note that usually people are used to the concept of tuna tartare or (beef, which is irrelevant in this case) and sardine gives off an entirely different taste. Sardine has a stronger taste (and also is allegedly richer in proteins and fat-that-are-good-for-you). Excellent variety if you're looking for something extraordinary out of the ordinary.
Don't let the squid fool you. It MIGHT seem like a small dish, but after this I'm basically full and wanting to visit the loo. They are cooked extremely chewy and tender in the very inside, with the yuzu balancing the oily counterpart (the squid obviously) and plus the extra texture of the otherwise smooth outer-side squidy. It's a good attempt, but I think this cannot be eaten in excess.
The cuttlefish tempura. Basically my favourite overall here, because of the stark contrast of textures between the top and bottom. The chef here expertly put two things that do not really match (at least not in my opinion) and use the expertise of raw vs. cooked. The tempura is also coated with aonori, which gives it a further salty taste was wrapping around the ever-melting uni in the mouth. With every bite you chew into the (hard) crunchy tempera and alternate with the soft, creamy, wet, heaven-sent uni. This is, hands down, the centerpiece of the weeknd's empty house, the passionfruit that made Drake passionate from miles away, and the Coco that OT Genesis is in love with.
To be fair, how often do you actually have quail? I might be biased but since I do not consume quail often, this was almost the highlight of my night. It came close to the uni, however, my complaint is that it is a bit too salty, which I believe interfered with the 5th taste Umami. While the quail is indeed tender in the inside (medium rare 100% accuracy) and crisp, clean on the outside, the saltiness of this made it really heavy and indulgent. The sansho (Japanese pepper), however was mildly, and appropriately, used here. And to the benefit of the taste and flavor, it has stayed true to high quality sansho as described below.
Sansho Japanese Pepper is harvested from the Japanese prickly ash (Zanthoxylum piperitum) which is closely related to Sichuan pepper but with more pronounced citrus flavors. There is a common misconception that Sansho Japanese Pepper and Sichuan pepper are the same thing and therefore interchangeable, but that is simply untrue. Other than the difference in flavor there is an obvious visual difference with the best sansho being distinctly green in color.
The flavor of high quality true sansho is decidedly citrusy with the first detectable flavors being that of yuzu and grapefruit followed by a mild cooling sensation that gives way to an effervescent, electric sensation which stimulates the taste buds and salivary glands.
Basically well grilled and seasoned, the salty-taste of the sea is well eliminated for a fuller taste of the snapper. However, to my opinion there's nothing in particular eye-popping and would not expect any less of it.
Last but not least we come to our last course, finally. The unagi obviously, as one would expect, tastes nothing like the cheap ones you order at an ordinary restaurant. It is well seasoned and with the sturdy, tasteful Japanese rice there is little to no complaint to this one (maybe with the exception of the tiny portion, but we have consumed 8 courses before this anyways, so I'm really in no position to). Truly a remarkable ending to a remarkable meal.
Needless to say we received 5-star service along with this 5-star meal. I personally disagree with strange critics who say this place isn't rightfully in top 50 restaurants in Hong Kong (with all due respect OpenRice critics). A bit of caution though, you do pay a huge premium for this so if you're not ready to dish-out lavishly (And obviously do not bring your date here unless you're rich, men), stay away. Otherwise, remember to make a booking because there are very limited walk-in seats available. We waited for an hour, but the upside, however, is a huge selection on Japanese booze, consisting mainly of whisky and sake.
Overall Rating: 9.5/10