Building on the opening buzz of the Tsim Sha Tsui outlet of La Vache and teasing their upcoming first international venture in Shanghai, Black Sheep Restaurants has just announced their latest concept that will debut next month in Hong Kong: Fukuro, a lively izakaya aimed at SoHo’s after-work crowds and late-night revellers.
With many of their brainstorming sessions and strokes of inspiration derived from late nights out in izakayas last year, during several trips to Japan, Black Sheep Restaurants’ co-founders Syed Asim Hussain and Christopher Mark are bringing to fruition their own lively rendition of a buzzing Tokyo izakaya, inspired by the quintessential Japanese dining experience of small shared plates and grilled items accompanied by endless rounds of sake, beer and whisky highballs.
Named Fukuro (meaning “owls” in Japanese) to reflect the late-night vibes, the bustling restaurant will cater to overworked salarymen in Central and provide a lively place to commune, eat and drink after a long day at the office. The dimly lit basement has been designed by Maxime Dautresme of Hong Kong-based design studio A Work of Substance, who previously collaborated with BSR on coastal Italian restaurant Osteria Marzia. With contemporary décor tinged with touches of nostalgia, the Edo-style izakaya will pay homage to traditional Japanese design while recreating the feel of Tokyo’s raucous nightlife.
Heading up the kitchen is chef Shun Sato, who will draw on family recipes he learnt during his childhood growing up in his father’s own local izakaya in Sendai, Japan. After training at Tokyo’s Tsukiji fish market, where he built his vast knowledge of the country’s famed seafood, Shun cut his teeth in kitchens across Australia, working at Michelin-starred Blancharu and two-starred Yoshii in Sydney. In 2016, he joined Black Sheep Restaurants at Parisian bistro Belon (a recent addition to Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants), before moving on to Ho Lee Fook under the tutelage of Executive Chef Jowett Yu.
With Fukuro located adjacent to Ho Lee Fook, chefs Sato and Yu will collaborate on the menu, which features seasonal sashimi platters of jet-fresh fish from Tsukiji, and hot seafood dishes such as grilled octopus on potato confit with ginger soy, and whole Nitsuke soy-braised fresh local fish. Meat lovers will also not want to miss the premium A4 Wagyu sukiyaki beef topped with cured egg yolk and enhanced by smoked negi onions. To wash it all down, Fukuro will serve a selection of beer and spirits as well as particularly well-crafted whisky highballs.
Of all the cuisines BSR have put their signature touch on — Italian, Thai, Vietnamese, Indian, and more — Fukuro marks their first venture into Japanese cuisine, and we’ll be waiting eagerly to see whether they can bring their inventive, imaginative style to perhaps one of the city’s most ubiquitous cuisines.
Fukuro opens in May 2018. Opening hours are from Monday to Saturday, 6pm until late.
Fukuro, 1-5 Elgin Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2333 8841, website coming soon