Saturday, November 2, 2013

Ginza Iwa 銀座 いわ - (Hong Kong)

 Ginza Iwa is from Tokyo’s Ginza district and is the recipient of a Michelin 1 Star back in homeland.  They recently opened an outlet in Hong Kong  (much like many other Japanese shops in fact which all decided to open in HK) -  me and a friend were lured in by the pretty decent looking sushis which looked legit enough on photo albums.   So after bailing out a few times from my side,  we decided that we have to stick with the determination to suss this place out.  Let’s begin with our chosen $800 + 10%,   middle tier Lunch Omakase course. 




Lunch Menu -
Not cheap.  But still cheaper than Dinner courses as expected.   After so many disappointing dinner meals elsewhere and even if knowing that lunch quality might not be most representative of their potential,  we still decided to come do lunch first..   $800 course it is then.



Seaweed Wakame Salad with Shredded Daikon -
Honestly this starter made me yawn…
  was expecting something better for a $800 lunch.



Sushi Towel -
Indication that you are expected to eat with your hands today..
A good sign.





Can’t help notice the Bamboo Toothpicks –
It’s small details such as these which all counts in the end.





おつまみ – 2 of 3 Starters only included in the $800 course
They were Hirame 平目 and Kinmedai 金目鯛.  Both were ok,  but I expected the tougher Hirame to be sliced thinner,  while the more oily Kinmedai to be sliced thicker.   Here both fishes arrived looking the same…  Not very convincing already  ~  7/10



Hirame Sushi -
Part of my eating partner’s course.



Pickled Ginger -
These were less sour than the norm and retained a lot of the original pungency.




Shima Aji 島鰺 -
Not as fatty and flavorful as I had expected at all.  And this was kinda white for a shima-aji to me.  ~  7/10



シシャモ – Shishamo Smelt Fish,  aka 多春魚
I was a bit surprised by this to be one of my 3 Otsumami dishes for an additional $350 on top.  Although fresh from Hokkaido,  this one was meaty but surprisingly was totally void of any eggs inside.   May be I had just eaten a male specie as in this season they should be pregnant?   ~  7/10




Tai Konbuzuke - 鯛の昆布漬け
Again this Sea Bream Tai was sliced slightly too thickish,  just like the sashimi tsumami つまみ above,  and wasn’t too appealing.    Stilll quite fresh and crunchy but smaller details could have been better.  ~  7/10





Marinated Tuna - まぐろ漬け
The soy-sauce marination was surprisingly on the negative side,  way too salty.  One cannot taste the tuna red meat anymore.   Fairly disappointed actually.   ~  5/10





Chu Toro Tuna -  中トロ
A really good piece of middle grade Tuna Belly.  It was both oily and flavorful,  I would give it a positive knod for once,  as many toros in town are rather flat in flavours.  Not here!  ~  8/10





Kisu キス – Whiting
I was a bit surprised by this,  as Kisu is more usually served as fried or cooked.  But this raw sushi version was quite lovely  ~  8/10





Next came the Autumn Kohada – こはだ
This was marinated with Konbu seaweed first,  just like the Tai snapper above.
The julienned shiso leaves beneath the fish (not seen on photo) were a little over-powering however,  but in hindsight,  I think it was mostly because the fish wasn’t strong enough to carry the overall balance.   Kohada is part of the prerequisite to an Edomae 江戸前 sushi experience but under-performing on this day!   ~  6/10





Aji – 鰺
Not the same as the above Shima-Aji.  This was actually quite decent and fatty.  My dining companion said his piece was slightly fishy but.  Mine was pretty good.  ~  8/10




秋刀魚 – Sanma
Also in season,  but I couldn’t help but think this was slightly on the fishy side…
I mean knive skills wise today so far,  it was ok and the rice shari quality was pretty good.  But a few of the fishes we ate today were more on the average side.  This Sanma won’t be very convincing either but hey…  We were cheap-skates and only willing to pay for a premium lunch.  May be it is much better during dinner and when the freshest seafood gets Jetted-in.  ~  6.5/10





Scallop – ほたて
This was good enough but mine piece was broken off.  Had to rely taking a photo of my friend’s sushi!    ~  7.5/10




Sushi Counter -





Salted Water Sea Urchin from Hokkaido –
Really sweet and really fresh.  Definitely one of the highlights for the lunch session.    ~  9/10





Salmon Ikura Roe – いくら
Also not part of my course,  I was told this had a good marination flavour even if not at the crunchiest fresh state !   N/A




Anago eel - 穴子
This carried the right taste and a decent sauce to back it up with.   Not the best Anago eel version I have ever had,  but this one was I guess acceptable and slightly fatty,  and it came with some Yuzu zest beneath too!   I prefer them to be more gelatinous and also presented inside-out and the skin side up usually,  but this was ok tasty if I must be lenient and accept this is HK afterall…  ~  7/10



Kobashira Pearl Muscles -
Also not mine Gunkan sushi,   but heard it was ok.





Tuna Tekka Maki and Kanpyo Maki -  鉄火巻き & 干瓢巻き
Made to share.  These were done professionally enough.  Still liked the rice here the best,  one of the major incentives to come back..  but may be not the fish by today’s performance.  ~  8/10



Kegani 毛蟹 Sushi -
My friend missed out on a piece during his course,  and the Chef decided to make up with this Crab sushi.  Heard it was decent but not too great. 





Torched Sabayon with Seasonal Fruits -
Liked this as it was both custardy and fruity.  Albeit it is a simple recipe.  ~  7/10




Miso Soup - 味噌汁
Made with 4 different kinds of Miso pastes.   This was just so sublime,  despite not using any fish bones.  One of the best Miso Soups I’ve tried in Hong Kong.  Could had had more ingredients though..   ~  8.5/10




Sushi Ginza Iwa,  now in Hong Kong -
Rated as Michelin 1* back in home town  of Ginza, Tokyo.   The Hong Kong outlet is not too shabby at all,   it still needs some minor-tuning IMO to be convincing though.   In the mean time,  Senryo might have much inferior rice and kniving and nigiri skills -  but their fishes on average actually performed better although only by a smidgeon..



Price:   $800 + 10%
Ease of Access:  4/5
Food:  ♕♕♕ 1/2 to ♕♕♕♕ 1/2

Opening Hours:
Mon to Sun -  12:00pm to 14:30pm,   18:30pm to 22:30pm

Address:  中環雲咸街8號亞洲太平洋中心30樓
30th Floor, No 8,  Wyndham Street
Ph: 2619 0199


  1. Thanks so much for this review! Sounds so disappointing, but I see where you are coming from...paying your own and not wanting to plunk down a ton for dinner. Well I had my heart set on trying this place for dinner when I arrive in late if you are game maybe we can try it together? Seems like these kind of sushi restaurants use cheaper/older cuts of fish...but if they want to get that Michelin star they really have to step it up and improve the lunch service. Any idea if the head chef (who is Iwa's apprentice supposedly) served you, or one of the sous chefs? Or should I just skip this place that aim for Sushi Kado (they say the chef from there is from Sase...but is that head chef Hong Konger or Japanese?) Or should I skip sushi altogether and just go straight for robatayaki at Inakaya? :-o

  2. I meant using less than pristine cuts for lunch (and saving the premiums for dinner) :-).



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