High-end Japanese cooking with a view overlooking all of Hong Kong
This meal represents one of the greats. Not only is the restaurant on the 101st floor of the International Conference Centre overlooking the whole bay of Hong Kong, there was a moment during this meal that will live with me forever on the food (and also for the occasion). The purity of the produce here was up with any 3 Michelin starred venue one can ask for, so I am unsure why this has only been graded 2 Michelin stars. A superb meal with all details of why, at the ‘see full review’ button as usual.
The meal began with and amuse bouche of hamaguri (Japanese clams) with sea urchin from Hokkaido and noodles which was a fair hit of fresh fish to begin. Poached oyster uni with seawater jelly was another well done starter which was delicate and light. Amadai in agedashi style (tilefish served coated in starch and deep-fried) was served with turnip and kombu seaweed broth with chilli tempura. The chilli was perfectly toned down and its tempura coating matched the fried serving of fish, all cooled nicely by the turnip and seaweed broth.
Then came something I will never forget. Peach with tofu paste. There are moments in meals when you instantaneously have your taste buds elevated to levels they have never been to and this was one of those moments. It’s hard to describe just why this was so good, but please just try to imagine the freshest, most succulent peach (or anything!) you have ever had and then times it by ten. This will get you close to how pure and wonderful this experience this was. It was essentially more peach than a peach can be and frankly, the whole visit was worth that alone.
Kuruma shrimp dumpling in Ichiban dashi soup and bamboo fungas was a classic part of the meal where dasi (broth made from kombu seaweed, bonito flakes and other fish) comprises a very important component in any Japanese meal. Charcoal grilled unagi freshwater eel was rich and served with wasabi for bite and then came a mystery element of pigeon with wasabi soy sauce. Not only was this the best pigeon I have ever had but it was also dipped in one of the most intense soy dips with the perfect amount of wasabi to give its kick. The judgement on this was at top notch.
The sashimi was aori squid, abalone liver, kinmedai (or alfonsino or golden eye snapper – think of a goldfish with huge eyes) and bonito marinated in mustard, soy sauce, olive oil and Japanese chive – all carefully done. Tomato water with jyunsai (watershed plant) was entirely refreshing.
Kegani crab porridge with yuba (residue of boiled soy milk – ‘Uba’ is old woman in Japanese and the wrinkly nature of milk residue gets its name from this). Kegani is a hairy Japanese Crab and was made from crab shell stock with yellow Chinese wine and rice. No complaints on this although it was good that the yuba’s inherent sour flavour was covered.
Hoji tea with konatsu (lemon-looking citrus) sorbet, coconut espuma with konatsu from Tosa Province (now Kochi Prefecture) was a pleasant and skilful dessert and also a nice surprise as most Japanese Kaiseki or traditional small plate meals usually only come with one dessert dish. This more traditional serving of fruit came at the very end with figs that were again, knock out fruit, served with ice cream to cater for bumbling Westerners such as myself.
My dining associate then did something that is off the scale and bought a 1983 bottle of Chateaux d’Yqem which, I don’t want to even know how much that is. I also don’t know what I have done to deserve such bounty but it was basically the most selfless and generous act anyone has ever done for me; thank you, ‘you know who you are’.
This was a meal that will not be forgotten, not just because of the occasion, but also the insanely powerful moments of food that leave you skipping away from an establishment wanting to punch the air with happiness and high five anyone around you. Funny old thing, this Japanese head chef (Hidemichi Seki), cooking at the top of his game was not on a celebrity pathway but actually in the kitchen on our visit as the absolute finesse to the meal (knowing that the head chef himself cooked it for you). I felt like giving the guy a hug at the end – I’m surprised I restrained myself.
Food Grade: 94%
Location (Click google logo for directions)