Hong Kong is a city throbbing with Japanese food-obsessed gourmands, so that’s what we’re dedicating our New Eats column to this week. Seek out a new hidden omakase joint in Tsim Sha Tsui, ruminate on the artistic nature of Japanese cuisine at a Michelin-starred favourite, and enjoy the sizzling sounds of teppanyaki from a world-class master of his craft. Here’s where to indulge your Japanese food cravings this week.
Nomu’s modern omakase
Think of an omakase bar and one usually pictures a temple of zen with minimalistic, wooden interiors free of decorative elements. That’s the first sign, perhaps, that Nomu is not your average omakase spot: This new sushi palace was opened in Tsim Sha Tsui by architect and Japanese-food enthusiast Ray Cheng, who designed the restaurant’s interiors to reflect a more fluid, fun-filled approach to counteract the typical meditative, monotone feel of upscale sushi counters. A blue-green backdrop and beechwood gives the restaurant an almost tropical feel, while details from the design of the chairs to the curve of the smooth ceramic tableware contribute to Nomu’s setting of convivial comfort.
Cheng is in the sake business, so the drinks are fantastic here, to be paired with kaiseki fare which unfolds in a wave of seasonal platters, nigiri, and dessert. The Chef’s Table experience (HK$1,880) is the clear way to go for sushi connoisseurs; using handpicked seasonal and rare ingredients from Japan, highlights include the seki aji mackerel, plump Hokkaido oysters under a umami-laden miso sauce, and kinmedai fish served two ways, raw and with the grilled collar in a clear and invigorating broth. A selection of decadent nigiri (the otoro with yam and gold leaf is exceptional) goes well with a sake pairing chosen from the 100-bottle-strong cellar. Shorter dinners include the Tasting Menu (HK$880) or prix-fixe (HK$1,180); while daytime options range from HK$280–$580 for lunch. One thing to note: The restaurant accommodates a maximum of 18 diners for dinner.
Art meets the plate at Takumi
Michelin-starred chef Daisuke Mori has always been known for his artful plating. This month, he taps into his creative side further with a 9-course set tasting menu inspired by contemporary Polish collages from Studio Ziben. With as much emphasis on the visuals of the plate as the food itself, guests are able to enjoy a whimsical and highly curated gastronomic experience with dishes inspired by the works of renowned artist Mariusz Malecki (founder of Studio Ziben), in honour of his pop-up exhibition Room Plus at PMQ this month.
Chef Mori’s artistic plating borrows on the themes of freedom and spontaneity present in Malecki’s art; expect dishes with powerful presentations from langoustine on a bright bed of beetroot gelée, to black abalone shiitake consomme, blue lobster topinambour (pictured above) and Hida beef tenderloin with ribeye sukiyaki. The 9-course menu is available from 6–18 May, and is a thought-provoking commentary on the crosscurrents of art and food.
Takumi by Daisuke Mori, Shop 1, The Oakhill, 16 Wood Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, +852 2574 1299
Teppanyaki sizzles at Ta-ke
Seasoned veteran Arthur Li is taking over the new teppanyaki counter inside the bamboo grove at Ta-ke, expanding the menu with a host of sizzling meats and seafood prepared on the traditional grill to supplement the authentic omakase experience. With his comprehensive beef knowledge (chef Li has spent extensive time exploring Wagyu ranches and restaurants in Miyazaki Prefecture and even earned the Certificate of Miyazaki Beef Meister), Li brings a deep understanding of the different flavour nuances in various types of Wagyu to the table, resulting in a tempting array of both Eastern and Western preparations to cater to guests’ palates.
The meat of pride here is the Hida beef; once crowned the ‘Wagyu Olympic’ of Japan, the black-haired Japanese cattle have been raised for at least 14 months to deliver a melt-in-your-mouth marbling which starts to render its succulent juices after hitting the heat from the grill. Enjoy the beef (HK$680 for 1oog) drizzled in the grill’s secret onion sauce, with a variety of seasonal vegetables and teppan-grilled garlic chips on the side. Other premium dishes to enjoy at the teppanyaki counter include the South African abalone baked in salt and kombu (HK$280) and seasonal grilled bay lobster (HK$380). Similar to the sushi counter, you’ll want to place your meal in the hands of the skilled teppanyaki chefs with the omakase menu for the full experience (HK$480 for lunch, HK$980–$1,680 for dinner).
Ta-ke, Shop G01, Lee Garden Two, 28 Yun Ping Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, +852 2577 0611