Thursday, February 27, 2014

Gonpachi 権八 - (Hong Kong)

 Gonpachi 権八 originally from Tokyo of Japan is world publicized for that unforgettable fighting scene in the movie Kill Bill,  in which Uma Thurman in her Yellow-Black Bruce Lee suit slices up her enemies like a gore-filled sashimi platter.   Over here at Hong Kong,   Gonpachi has also opened up a presence recently.   The following review is a combination of 2 separate visits spanning over a few months in-between,  and lately they are also holding an Iwate 岩手県 prefecture regional promotion in the menu.   This latter package was really reasonably priced and very memorable,  in fact more so than the regular menu we tried previously which we thought were slightly over-priced.  The 2nd visit with Iwate prefecture specialty items proved the other way around and became a real bargain and we already planned a revisit soon before they get taken off the menu by 31st of March.    I still believe firmly,   you need to know how to order here exactly to maximize the enjoyment!?


桜顔 南部の雫 純米大吟醸 生貯蔵酒 Shizuku Junmai Daiginjo Sake  720ml – $468
This sake has a balanced Bu-Ai grinded rice ratio,  which means it retains a lot of pear fruitiness and also rice flavour,  not too single dimensional.   It was really addictive when served chilled,  and we became surprised at the lowish offering price at this fairly sophisticated quality.  It was hand picked by the HK side Owner of Gonpachi branch and exclusively imported by Gonpachi HK.  Really Yum and cheap.  Order this at all cost is my advice!   ~  9/10

岩手蘋果凱撒沙律伴香脆白金豚肉 - Iwate Apple Caesar Salad with Crispy Iwate Pork Belly $128
It’s a Japanese Caesar salad of sorts, minus the anchovies but with crispened up Iwate pork and an poached egg.   Served also with really sweet Iwate Apple slices.  Likeable but not too Caesar salad dressing like,  but it was interesting although I think the pork slices were too crispy and wasted it’s original flavour after being fried.    ~  6.9/10

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Taraba Crab Tempura  タラバ蟹 天ぷら – $380
This was on a separate occasion.  It was fried well,  but personally missing some green elements like a Shishito pepper or some Sea or Matcha Green-tea salt on the side.   Tasted good but could be presented better and be more thoughtful as a package?      ~  7/10



Iwate Beef Tenderloin Tataki with Sea Urchin – $188 each piece
This was nice although it is definitely more on the pricier side.    I liked it but at most I will pay $120 per piece personally.   Loved the Oba-Shiso leaf and shaved Myoga on the side.   Whether Sea Urchin works directly with Wagyu Tataki is anyone’s guess.  In this case I will probably say yes but just.  Both being quite oily..    ~  7.5/10

炭燒厚切岩手白金豚,  金山寺山葵,  柚子胡椒  - $188
Charcoal-grilled Iwate Pork Loin with Kinshanji Wasabi & Yuzu Pepper
This 白金豚 was simply amazingly sweet and oily flavorful,  even more gamey than the usual sweet-potato sweetness associated with 黒豚 Kurobuta if you know what I mean already.   I often say that Kurobuta or other DNA porks outside of Japan taste different everywhere else,  but this version instantly brought back memories of the best of the best I have devoured and that includes Japan,  Spain and the UK.   And at only $188 this was a relative bargain.  The side of either Kinshanji Wasabi (Miso Wasabi beans) or the Yuzu Pepper both worked with the pork piece.   Absolutely delightful dish and the smell was so charcoal-y.   ~  10/10



Charcoal-grilled Iwate Beef Tenderloin with Soy Sauce & Wasabi Sabayon Foam
& Konbu Salt  -  炭燒岩手牛柳配醬油泡、山葵及昆布鹽  $368
*Menu description was altered by me and hopefully more descriptive.   The Iwate Wagyu Tenderloin was Top A5 Grade but said to be less oily than other A5 Wagyu,  it definitely had both beefiness and oiliness combined,  very likeable and that whiff of real Charcoal induced flavour was so convincing.  The soy wasabi foam sauce was a nice complement,  so was the optional seaweed Kombu salt.   This was really likeable and despite the price-tag,  a must order for me.   ~  8/10



Seaweed Kombu Salt -
Kombu is extracted to make MSG for Umami flavor usually.  Here,  it is presented in a more natural state with salt,  to enhance the dish’s taste.   So likeable. 


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Charcoal-grilled Chicken Tsukune with Onsen Tamago – $48 + $28
This carried again a whiff of Charcoal flavour,  the texture of both chicken and cartilage proportion was decent enough but it was missing some tare sauce.   The presence of an $28 Onsen egg,   rather than a raw egg yolk with tare sauce was surely unconventional and didn’t work,  and adding up the costs,  way too optimistic in margins.   ~   6/10


泡菜豆腐岩手白金豚肉鍋 - Spicy Tofu Hotpot with Iwate Pork Belly and Kimchi $208
This looked neat but I expected a lot more pork slices for the price somehow.  The flavour was balanced,  rather than too mild or aggressive.   ~  6.5/10


岩手之子 Iwate Pearl White Rice -
This is one of several famous rice from Iwate region and exclusive to HK. 
It is slightly more a longer grain than the normal Japonica round rice DNA grain,  and more flavorful.  It is definitely different and which style do you prefer?   I personally like all of them.



岩手ホタテ大葉天ぷら - $98
Live Iwate Scallop and Scallop Skirts Tempura with Fried Oba Leaf
Another great dish and value for money.  Fried well and not greasy and also thoughtful.  ~  8/10

岩手白金豚かつ と りんご卷.  梅ソース - $148
Deep-fried Iwate Pork Rolette with Apple and Ume Sauce
Execution was spot on and the very sweet Iwate pork surprisingly balanced the equally sweet diced apples,   under that panko cladding.   Amazing dish and unexpected and only for $148.   ~  10/10


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Zaru Cold Soba -
1st time it was all watery and soft. 
2nd time around,  it was cooked to only 1 minute and it was hard-chewy and flavourful.  The base dashi dip sauce was also decent.   Still taking time to monitor this dish to give an accurate review in the end….   ~  5/10 to 8/10




Soba Pancake with Caramelized Iwate Apple and Vanilla Ice-Cream – $88
The crepe is made with buckwheat just like Northern French Galettes de Sarrasin,  it is interesting to see this item as buckwheat is used in both Japanese and French cuisine,  and this seems to be a good marriage in recipe.   The top of the sweet galette was caramelized instead of the menu description of the apples.   This was quite sinfully good but I think could have more buckwheat taste.  ~  8/10



Price:  $350 + 10% Per Person  (A combination of Two Separate Meals,  One paid by myself and One by Restaurant’s new Promotional items invitation. Too lazy to post separately. )
Score: ♕♕♕♕ to ♕♕♕♕♕

Opening Hours:
Sun to Thurs -   11:30am - 01:00am
Fri to Sat – 11:30am – 02:00am

Address: 銅鑼灣希慎道33號利園商場一期4樓
4/F, The Lee Gardens, 33 Hysan Avenue, Causeway Bay, HK
Ph:  2787 3688

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