Best Bites is a roundup of the outstanding dishes we had within the last month, those which renewed our love for established venues, caught our attention at a new opening, or impressed on us again the creativity and skill of Hong Kong’s talented chefs. From casual street bites to meticulously prepared tasting menu dishes, these are the plates we’d recommend you make a special trip for.
The dish: Toro flight
Lately, Causeway Bay omakase expert Kishoku has hosted a series of themed omakase dinners, each one carefully and thoughtfully mapped out to showcase specific seasonal ingredients or unique cooking methods. I was seriously impressed by the Japanese fig omakase and “Best of Kishoku 2.0” dinners; and couldn’t pass up the chance to try the new “7 Steps to Heaven” promotion, which features as its pièce de résistance a 5-part toro flight highlighting different parts of the tuna.
While most are familiar with the three most talked-about types — otoro, chutoro, and akami — Executive Chef Milton Leung is aiming to expand diners’ understanding of the fish by highlighting distinctive segments. Whether taken from the collar (“kama”), under the fin, or different segments of otoro from the fish’s belly — each distinctive part of the fatty tuna exhibits its own unique texture, level of marbling and mouthfeel. Sliced to precision by the chef, it’s a delicious crash course in the fish that deviates from — and arguably improves upon — Kishoku’s signature toro dish, which is of course, its Instagram-friendly Toro-wich sandwich. —Leslie Yeh, Dining Editor
Kishoku’s “7 Steps to Heaven” omakase is priced at HK$1,980 per person and available until 30 October; limited to 12 sets daily.
Kishoku, 5/F, 38 Yiu Wa Street, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, +852 2893 0333
The Chinese Restaurant
The dish: Baked egg custard tart, glutinous dumpling
When it comes to dim sum, I’m usually of the belief that classics are such for a reason, and the best dim sum parlours don’t need superfluous ingredients — think iberico pork siu mai or caviar-topped har gow — to make these dishes shine. However, a recent meal at The Chinese Restaurant at Hyatt Regency, TST had me appreciating the instances where creativity is duly warranted — as in the case of their ingenious dessert course of baked egg custard tarts (HK$38), which has become something of a signature dish over the years. These miniature treats are perfect for devouring in one bite, combining three familiar Chinese sweets — glutinous dumpling, egg custard tart and pineapple bun — into the ultimate dim sum dessert. From the buttery base to the sticky filling oozing with egg custard and the golden brushed pineapple bun topping, you get the best of all three working together in perfect harmony. —LY
The Chinese Restaurant, 3/F, Hyatt Regency TST, 18 Hanoi Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong, +852 3721 7788
The dish: Caviar/ Hokkaido uni/ toasted brioche/ hanaho
When it comes to fine dining, I invariably greet the arrival of sea urchin with a mixture of exasperation and dread. In my experience, dishes reliant on this wildly mishandled delicacy tend to rattle around the synapses before being quickly forgotten about, the product of sheer spectacle rather than genuine appreciation. Blessedly, Haku’s Executive Chef Agustin Balbi handles uni with all the subtlety the aquatic delight deserves. His feather-light attention to detail is a potent reminder that the best uni dishes are always simple and seasonal affairs. This is the essence of Haku’s uni toast — one of nine dishes the restaurant has developed for the express purpose of pairing alongside Dom Pérignon P2 2000. Dollops of sweet and piquant Hokkaido uni glide across the palette, assured in their vibrancy thanks to a buoyant homemade brioche, emblazoned with tiny jewels of hanaho (shiso flowers). More than just a delivery vehicle for the aforementioned seafood, Balbi’s airy, buttered bread adds textural variety to the whole affair, offering a contrast and continuation of the sensory high that’s sure to take hold once the (generous) portion of toast arrives tableside. — Randy Lai, Staff Writer
Available as part of the Haku x Dom Pérignon dinner menu (HK$3,980 ex. surcharge) that includes one bottle of Dom Pérignon P2 2000.
Haku, Shop OT G04B, Ground Floor, Ocean Terminal, Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui, +852 2115 9965
The dish: Ceviche clásico
After much anticipation, Ichu Peru — the Peruvian restaurant from celebrated chef Virgilio Martinez — has finally opened in H Queen’s, bringing to Hong Kong a taste of authentic South American cuisine via a relaxed and fuss-free menu rooted in indigenous ingredients from the Peruvian-Andes region. I went in for a sneak peek before the official opening and had a chance to interact with the esteemed chef himself, as he spoke about the sophisticated evolution of the region’s cuisine and the far-reaching impact Peruvian food is having around the world.
One of the dishes we tried during the preview was the ceviche, which will feature on the menu — inspired by the many no-fuss cevicherias around Lima — in a number of variations. All starting with a base of freshly mixed leche de tigre, the ceviches spin off into charred tomato, yellowtail with yuzu vinaigrette, and uni and scallop variations; I would highly recommend starting any meal with the ceviche clásico (HK$150), which features beautiful firm-fleshed snapper lulling in a tangy marinade with a pungent bite from sliced red onion, sweetness from native sweet potato, and earthiness and texture from choclo (large-kerneled Peruvian corn), which might just be one of my favourite ingredients on the planet. —LY
Ichu Peru, 3/F, H Queen’s, 80 Queen’s Road, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2477 7717
Ryota Kappou Modern
The dish: Omi gyu katsu with black truffle and egg confit
Japanese food in Central usually equates to overpriced lunch sets all serving the same variation of nigiri and hand rolls, but recently a hidden gem has popped up on the quiet On Lan Street just off of Lan Kwai Fong. Up on the 21st floor, Ryota Kappou Modern is a serene hideaway helmed by the accomplished chef Kanesawa, who most recently had the post of sous chef at the two-Michelin-starred Tenku RyuGin. Now helming his first solo venture, Kanesawa showcases the full breadth and depth of his knowledge of seasonal Japanese cuisine in a stunning 8-course tasting menu.
I could sing the praises of many dishes on the menu, but the one that’s stuck with me is the omi gyu katsu, which starts innocently enough with breaded and deep-fried premium Japanese beef. While delicious, fried Japanese beef is nothing particularly noteworthy in today’s katsu sando-obsessed world, but it’s the other elements chef Kanesawa puts on the plate that truly makes the dish shine: the perfectly crisped parsley chip, gorgeous charred pearl onions, meaty mushrooms and a stunningly cooked confit egg — all topped off with a sticky, rich and delicious jus that I could polish off by the spoonful. —LY
Ryota Signature Tasting menu priced at HK$1,580 per person, Ryota Premium Tasting menu priced at HK$2,080 per person.
Ryota Kappou Modern, 21/F, 18 On Lan Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2628-1899
The dish: Charred broccoli with crispy kale, chilli and zhoug
As much as we know that vegetables are good for us, it can be an uphill battle getting our veggie count in for the day when we’re faced with a selection of drab lunch salads and bland, boiled arrangements passed off as dinner options around Central. Luckily, there’s been a renaissance in plant-based cooking of late, and it’s been heartening to see chefs embrace healthy cuisine and design some of their signature dishes around vegetables as the star.
At recently opened Bedu, every dish sings its own virtues, but I was particularly enamoured with the charred broccoli dish with crispy kale, chilli and zhoug (HK$115). With its focus on spices and sauces, Middle Eastern cooking is particularly conducive to flavourful plant-based cooking, and chef Corey Riches has done a stellar job here, taking one of my favourite vegetables and jamming it with flavour with an infusion of smoke from the grill, and a punchy dressing which packs in herbaceousness, heat and acidity, and a final sprinkling of almonds for a nutty crunch. —LY
Bedu, 40 Gough Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2320 4450