After reading KC's review on this place, I had the urge to try it out myself. My friend and I were in a bit of a rush because we booked tickets to watch Sunshine Cleaning at IFC. The entrance of the restaurant has a very Japanese village feel to it with a 1920s style bike placed next to the door. When we entered the premises, we were led to the second floor via a wooden staircase.
The first thing I realized after scanning through the menu was that there aren't many choices in the menu, main sections include Tofu (which they specializes in apparently), sushi, noodles and robatayaki. One thing that shocked me right off the bet was the item under the drinks section: Premium Japanese Green Tea. Yes you are 100% correct, the loose leaf green tea that I was drinking while reading the menu was not included, HKD 22 each thank you very much! I rarely mention prices in my review but there is always a first and you got me this time Taku! (No wonder we had to ASK the staff to bring us some tea after sitting there for 10 minutes without anything being served.)
(1) Kawahagi (Grilled Dry Blowfish)
The flavor was fair indeed but it was rather too moist to my liking. I like it dry and relatively tough like beef jerky but that was not how it was done here apparently. Overall a fair dish to start the meal with. (well, I guess I started my meal with the Premium Japanese Green Tea instead.)
O yes, if you are planning to visit this restaurant in the near future and are having some kind of expectation in terms of food quality, STOP ! STOP READING NOW because I am afraid the rest of this review will truly disappoint you because I was very disappointed ! Continue reading at your own risk ....
(2) Chilled Silken Tofu (with diced maguaro tuna tartar, light soy and yuzu)
This place specializes in homemade tofu. I am not an expert in tofu nor am I a big fan of tofu but I think I can distinguish a good one from a not-so-good one. The portion being served had little traces, or lack of in my opinion, any tofu or soybean taste at all. The tuna tartar on top has more taste than the tofu itself for some very, very odd reasons.
(3) Sushi Platter
The first thing I noticed when I entered the restaurant was the rather long sushi / sashimi bar with the sushi chef busy slicing behind the counter. I told myself the raw stuff should be alright here. Well you know, I can be wrong sometimes. A few pieces were actually quite warm and my friend who ate the the tuna belly sushi I think, had difficulty chewing the fish because there were excessive amount of FISH TENDON (or gristle) in her piece! Another highlight of this restaurant is the use of the brush to "paint" the sushi with soy sauce as described on the paper dining mat. However, the brush reminds in the soy sauce container WITH the sauce inside and you use the SAME brush to apply the sauce on all different sushi? I was not very comfortable with it even if it is a regional classic or traditional way of doing it. Also, the writing on the dining mat stated that "chefs apply a small amount of wasabi on all of the sushimi which we think makes perfect sense - and creates perfect flavor," please help me define "small amount" and what perfect flavor does it create with such multiple small amount of wasabi being applied? Perhaps the flavor of strong wasabi that goes right up to my nose? Not happy at all!
(4) Obinmushi (tea pot soup)
Flavor wise it was comparable with other restaurant. It was rich in chicken, shrimp and mushroom flavors. However, the soup was in ROOM temperature!!!! (Air Conditioned Room Temperature too!!) That was a BIG NO NO for me!!! At that particular moment, all I can think of was the 1920s style bike at the entrance because I really wanted to jump onto it and ride my way home!
(5) Grilled Genko nuts and Quail Eggs
I love quail eggs in any ways being prepared. However, I never expect such simple grill item to result in such "unique" way. The outer skin of the egg was actually hard and chewy; chewy as in difficult to chew or in lack of a better word, tough to chew. I told my friend to try the other skewer to see if it was just an isolated / independent issue but it was the same for hers. It you ask me to describe it more vividly, imagine the egg was wrapped by a very thin layer of plastic and you will get the picture.
(6) Grilled Eel
First of all, the sauce was excellent in my opinion and the portion was rather generous as well. However, as for the eel itself, I have some major reservations. Based on my humble knowledge, a good eel (or grilled eel for that matter) should have meat that is tender in general and with the skin being relatively chewy. For the grilled eel we had, I had several tough rounds of tug-o-war with the eel's skin because it was overly chewy and "stretch-y." It was like trying to chew off a rubber band! The meat itself was nice and tender, but the chewy skin really took me something effort to eat.
Sigh, what an experience indeed. At the end of the meal, I was looking forward to the popcorn in the movies.
- Decor / Atmosphere - very cozy and authentic Japanese village feel
- Sushi Platter - sushi with fish gristle / fish tendon???
- Obinmushi (tea pot soup) - Room Temperature Soup??
- Quail Eggs - plastic wrapped grilled quail eggs??
G/F, 35 Elgin Street
Tel: 2545 9966