Friday, September 25, 2009

Ku-suya Rakuen 古酒家-樂宴

This little hideaway Izakaya in Causeway Bay is famous for its Awamori (泡盛) which is an alcoholic beverage originated from and unique to Okinawa, Japan. It also turns out that this place also specializes in Okinawa cuisines. When you first step into the restaurant, all you can see are shelves and rows after rows of various sake , shōchū and awamori. It was quite a scene to me. In addition to the normal bottles, they have some clay pot containing the Awamori (泡盛) which was something new to me indeed. The whole decor and atmosphere was perfect for a few drinks after a long day of work!

Unfortunately, it was not a night for drinking, it was a night of chit-chat, catch-up and deep-talk with a friend. It will be another night before I go try out the various Awamori (泡盛).

We were basically the first group to arrive and I got to take as many pictures as I wanted. My friend took the following picture of the chili clay container which I think is wonderful and I like to share with others. Also, I did a quick search on the Internet and apparently this restaurant is part of a chain / group, the En Group, which runs the Wa-En 和宴, Zempachi 禪八 and Chura (which serves Okinawa cuisine as well). I guess it is time to visit the rest of the franchise again especially Chura which I am yet to try.

(1) Home Made Peanut Flavored Tofu
After hours of thinking, I am still having difficulty coming up with the right words to describe this tofu but I am going to try my best. First of all, it was thumbs up and a must try indeed! The texture of this tofu was not more firm, more elastic and gluten-y. It was more like jello but way firmer. Flavor wise, it was not as strong or rich as I suspected but good enough. Do give it a try, a must try indeed.

(2) Sliced Frozen Squid
It was very rich in flavor, a bit too strong in my opinion. It would be better to eat together with the minced radish for a more balanced flavor. Texture wise it was very chewy and some parts were overly elastic that I thought I was chewing on rubber band.

(3) Deep Fried Bitter Gourd
It was very crisp and the immediate taste of the flakes were rather tasteless. It was the aftertaste that came 5 - 8 seconds later that contained the bitter gourd flavors. It was a great dish to go along with beer.

(4) Smoked Pork Knuckles
No surprises here but a positive note was that the skin remained crispy even after sitting at room temperature for a while. Also, it was not too salty as I would have expected from the look of it. This reminded me of another point to mention; do not order all dishes at once because they serve them pretty quickly, faster than you can complete them especially if you are there to chat over a few bottles of beer or glasses or Japanese wine.

(5) Shrimp & Cheese Croquette
It was a wonderful dish with beer of by itself. The outer layer remained crisp throughout every bite and the mashed potatoes inside carried traces of shrimps and cheese which I hoped there can be more, especially the cheese part! Overall, thumbs up !!

(6) Grilled Ox Tongue
It was time for my favorite grilled ox tongue. However, it was not as good as I expected. It was rather too thin. While the texture was chewy it would be better if it was thicker. The use of salt and seasoning was good, with just the right amount.

(7) Stuffed Chicken Wing with Cod Roe

Another thumbs up dish! It was unlike other I had before because this one was actually FILLED with Cod Roe. It was heavy weight stuffing as shown in the picture. It was slightly salty in my opinion, but the flavors of the cod roe together with the deep fried chicken made up for that. I have nothing to complain at all and it would be best to go with any kinds of alcoholic beverage.

  • Stuffed Chicken Wing with Cod Roe - heavy weight stuffing!
  • Shrimp & Cheese Croquette - wonderfully done, more cheese would be better
  • Home Made Peanut Flavored Tofu - still having difficulty describing it, so give it a try yourself.
  • Grilled Ox Tongue - the slices were too thin for grilling
  • items being served too quickly
Avg Spending: HKD 300 - 500 per person

Ku-suya Rakuen 古酒家-樂宴
12/F Circle Tower
28 Tang Lung Street, CWB, HK
Tel: 35800915

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