Sho-En 笑宴 is a new addition to En Group, who operates quite a few Japanese restaurants with a core focus on Okinawan cuisine but occasionally they also deviate to more Seafood eccentric or Meat based restaurants, which include their Shabu-Shabu/Sukiyaki dedicated Zenpachi 禅八, or the most well known Rakuen 樂宴 series and also Tokyo-import and seafood specialist Yakichi 八吉. At overseas you will find En Group’s presence in it’s Okinawa home base and also Shanghai, Singapore, Macau and Indonesia. Sho-En at Causeway Bay meanwhile specializes in real Bichotan 備長炭 white charcoal grilled food, which was up until recently rarer to find in Hong Kong due to fairly strict fire regulations. On the positive news for foodies some of the latest Japan-Imported brands including Gonpachi 権八 and Review: Mekiki no Ginji 目利きの銀次 also benefit from real charcoal grillers.
Otoshi starters, White Baits on jelly, Tamago egg, Marinated Tuna and Salmon – $30
All En Group restaurants follow Japan’s norm and appetizers will naturally incur a charge, but then again your Chinese restaurant is also charging you for Tea, Mustard and Peanuts. I often hear local customers complain about this charge and make a scene, which is embarrassing for Hong Kong lol. We already live in a City where this is practiced…
Charcoal Grilled Chicken 沖縄鶏の炭火焼 – $128
This was so good, easily one of the best versions in town. Chicken taste was strong yet moist, and so was the charcoal and char-grilling aroma. The sauce was quite black peppery though so you will need a Beer or Okinawan Awamori rice drink to accompany this. ~ 9/10
Assorted Seafood Platter 海鮮の盛り合わせ – $500
Although we received some dining vouchers to eat here and ended up paying the extra difference on top, which was a lot as we drank totally heaps on a Friday, thinking back, this Seafood platter was fresh and even had Abalone. The Clams had a strong sake marination taste was amazing. The 2 prawns were huge and bounciful, and so were the Calamari and Scallops in butter. Yet somehow we thought they could throw in more Abalone or some extra Crab Legs for this price tag? ~ 6.9/10
Grilled AGU Pork Bacon from Okinawa あぐーベーコンの厚切り炭火焼 – $150
Another 店員 recommendation, I did hesitate as to why she recommends a Bacon rather than fresh Okinawan Pork, but this was less cured than the normal smoked bacon and it was really attractive fragrant and melts in the mouth bacon! Dip it into the mustard seeds mayo to finish. ~ 9/10
Kura Awamori ‘kusu’ – $350
Rice rice made in Okinawa from Thailand rice then aged for 3 Years and above.
One could write a separate story about this alone and Kyushu region also makes a similar style Shochu, but let’s leave it at that… It was a Friday and an Okinawan night!
Okinawa Wagyu Chuck Roll Slices 沖縄牛炭火焼肩 チャックロールスライス – $280
I initially thought this was on the small side for $280, but when we started eating it there were quite a few slices of very charcoal-y wagyu beef slices, strong in both meat and fatty taste. I really liked this dish and at this price point, I would say it was only fair but at least it delivered in taste unlike the 8 out of 10 other shops. ~ 8/10
Charcoal Grilled Taraba Red King Crab - $350
This was really fresh and had the right charcoal grilled aroma. Came adorned with some fern grass and lime. Really sweet and well grilled, although size portion wise it can improve slightly. ~ 8/10
Sea Grape 海ぶどう - $68
Okinawan sea grapes. So fresh and crunchy, dipped into a ponzu sauce.
This puts a smile on everyone’s face, and apparently one of our diners tonight also grows his own sea grapes at home in his fish tanks! Talk about everyone’s separate hobbies and talents! ~ 9/10
Grilled Chicken ‘Sunagimo’ Gizzards 炭火焼き砂肝 - $78
Best dish of the night. This was charcoal-y smoky again in flavour but the external was caramelized but not burnt, yet the inside was still super crunchy rather than dried out. Cannot remember a better version in Hong Kong anywhere else… ~ 12/10
Ryuka Okinawa Yaki-Soba noodles 硫化豚塩ダレ焼きそば - $98
Deviating from the normal yaki-soba styles, this one had less sauce and also flatter noodles. The Okinawan style is not meant to be a usual Yaki-soba version from Kansai region.. ~
Sho-En 炭火笑宴 -
Part of the En Group restaurants in town as mentioned.
This was surprisingly better than expected in both ingredients selection and taste in the middle of a plight to find the best Japanese food in town, amidst the so many new openings which I have even lost track of. How shameful for a so-called Food Reviewer hehe? Some courses were slightly aggressive in pricing here but some were decently priced. Upon hearing our advice, I heard they will be adjusting accordingly to what us food snobs expect. Let’s hope they will keep up providing good food but somehow lessen the impact of our wallets in the mean time!
Price: $800 Per Person (Dined here with Budgeted Coupons but Paid our Drinks and more on top of the designated Budget.)
Food: ♕♕♕♕ to ♕♕♕♕♕
Ease of Access: 4/5
13th floor Circle Tower, 28 Tang Lung Street, Causeway Bay
Ph: 3580 0654