Friday, July 27, 2012

板前割烹 はやし Itamae Kappo Hayashi - (Hong Kong)

  This shop is not too popular amongst the locals,  but I have my own suspicion as to why.  For one,  it doesn’t have a Chinese Kanji or English name.   In fact, not many Japanese restaurants in Hong Kong would be so daring to only carry a Japanese name outside of Japan,  & some would consider it arrogant.   But rest assure that the Japanese Chef Owner here is super nice and approachable, and even speaks a bit of Chinese too!    The food served here is mostly Japanese Kappo Ryori (割烹),   a slightly less formal version of the 2 types of Kaiseki  -  namely 懐石料理 (Kaiseki) & 会席料理 (also Kaiseki in Japanese romaji).   The latter two have exactly the same Japanese pronunciation, although most Japanese locals will be able to distinguish between their subtle variations and philosophies behind the tea & food approach.   Kappo Ryori meanwhile,  is more semi-formal,  but it doesn’t mean the food isn’t sophisticated.  It is still considered fine dining just much more relaxed about the whole thing.   Dinner here is way better than lunch quality,  so do bear this in mind when you visit.



Tea -


Yebisu Beer -
I think it is more proper to drink Sake or Shochu,
but it’s been hot lately..

生湯葉 & お新香 -
Raw Beancurd Skin and Kyoto style Pickles.
Very traditional stuff and tasty here.

鱧ちりおとし -  Conger Pike Eel with Plum Sauce
A summer favourite. 
This type of eel is treated as a delicacy in Japan, although in HK this is used for making fish balls.  Quite boney,  so a lot of skill is required to debone it properly.   Very pretty cold dish.




鬼おこぜ 煮付け – Japanese Devil Fish
The attention to details here is what makes me really like Hayashi.  The sauce is well tuned,  and this comes with a selection of ginger,  gobou burdock, shimeji mushrooms, asparagus and kinome leafs.  The Japanese Devil Fish is different from other species,  it actually looks like a Japanese ghost and hence the name.   Lovely fish nitsuke dish.


小柱の掻き揚げ -  Clams Abductors Prisma Tempura
With Shishitou peppers.  This was done really well,  with a lot of clams meat and despite this usually being a cheap eat,  here it was transformed into something more elegant.  Hence the Prisma description given too!

豆腐田楽 -  Tofu Dengaku with Miso
Many foodies already know about eggplant Nasu Dengaku,  but in fact,  even in places like Australia you might notice that many Japanese customers specifically request for Grilled Tofu Dengaku instead.  It is quite popular in Japan especially in Kyoto,  where Tofu cuisine really thrives. 



賀茂茄子と白海老のみどれ餡かけ -  Eggplant & White Shrimps in Ankake Sauce
This is a very common ankake dish in Japan,  but there is no doubt that this has Chinese influence.  Many non-Japanese customers will think this is Japanese-Chinese food,  but I happen to like this style a lot.   It goes well with white rice too.



牛タンの西京焼き -  Saikyo Miso Grilled Beef Tongue
Comes with Hajikami young pickled ginger,  as do most Saikyo miso grilled dishes. 
This was done pretty well and cooked to medium.  Quite tender,  but turns cold quite quickly.
May be they should heat up the plate first?



ざる蕎麦、山掛け – Mountain Yam is Put on top cold Zaru Soba
This is a nice Summery combo.   Not available on the menu, 
but I specifically ordered it coz I miss this dish!


塩焼き鮎魚 & 蓼酢  -  Salt Grilled Ayu Fish,  with Tate Zu Vinegar
This spring and summery river fish is quite a delicacy,  and known to have a grassy and watermelon note,  especially the wild ones.   The fruity vinegar it’s served with is also very addictive.   This fish is usually grilled with a standing posture.   Here it was done quite well indeed.


鶏団子と水菜の鍋 -  Chicken Balls with Mizuna Vegetables in Pot
This has a lot of tofu cubes and mushrooms also added in.  Quite a subtle dish with it’s clear broth.  I like it for it’s simplicity and clarity in flavours. 


味噌汁,  お新香 -  Miso Soup with Pickles
The Miso soup here is very aromatic.  It differs on occasions,  as sometimes it has more konbu taste,  sometimes with a stronger fish taste.  But this is easily one of the best miso soups in Hong Kong,  as it is a sophisticated version and smells almost like aged Miso paste.

Mango Jelly with Ice Cream -
One of the desserts served here.



Quite a few Daily Seafoods flown in from Japan -
Most of these regions are less affected by radiation scares.
What I enjoy the most here,  is that food executions are quite spot on and taste like you would find in Japan.   The sushi and sashimi varies however,  it depends on your day of visit.   The menu is also difficult to navigate,  so the Daily Specials or Omakase as suggested by the Chef is going to be the focus of attention when I order here.



Price: Dinner HKD $500 ~ $800.   Lunch around $100 ~ $150
Ease of Access:  4/5  (3 Minutes from nearby SOGO & Causeway Bay MTR Station.)
Lunch:  ♕♕♕
Dinner:  ♕♕♕♕
♕ – ♕♕♕♕♕ 1/2

Opening Hours -
Mon to Sun: 12:00pm - 14:30pm, 18:00pm - 23:00pm
Address:  銅鑼灣軒尼詩道525號澳門逸園中心18樓
18/F, Macau Yat Yuen Centre, 525 Hennessy Road, Causeway Bay
Ph: 2187 3800

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