Wednesday, March 26, 2014

権八 Gonpachi II - (Hong Kong)

 Gonpachi 権八 Hong Kong branch,  is fortunately looked after by an almost food obsessive Foodie CEO who wants only the best food and ingredients to be served to his customers.  A perfectionist when it comes to Japanese food and quality sake offerings,   the same can also be said of the dining group’s Mango TreeAn Nam next door,  Sushi Take & Bella Vita.   The Japanese Gonpachi group also regularly sends personnel to scrutinize the Hong Kong operation to help maintain Quality Control, and over the last few months this monitoring is starting to pay off dividends.   The food quality has improved gradually and this is apparent in the Soba Noodles dish from my 1st visit,   yet prices have actually been lowered recently to be more competitive.    The current 岩手県 Iwate Prefecture menu will end soon on 31st of March  (Previous review:  Gonpachi I ) ,  in the meanwhile CEO Paul and his Marketing Manager have already travelled to Kumamoto with the Kyushu Government’s JA group to search for the next elusive ingredients to sell in the next phrase from April to May.  




photo (16)
Hiougi Bai 桧扇貝
from Shimabara 島原  -
Very colorful shellfishes,  these are from the ocean coast off the Shimabara Island,  opposite Kumamoto of Kyushu.


Junmai Sake from Kumamoto -
The rice flavour was very strong,  in fact this was more Shochu like than Sake to me. 



Kumamoto ‘Banpeiyu’ 晩白柚 Grapefruit -
Imported to be used in some dishes below.   Only at Gonpachi HK.

Imported Ingredients from Kumamoto,  Kyushu and nearby -
All the way down to the White Onions,  which are very crunchy and sweet,  but not too raw and pungent.  Japanese farmers and growers just have a way to make everything taste balanced and better,  to the point you expect to be able to eat them raw...




Shima Aji Carpaccio with Wasabi Vinaigrette,  Dekopon Orange, Rocket Salad & Myoga
縞鰺とデコポン柑 の サラダ -
The Shima Aji fish was fatty translucent,  we simply loved the Mandarin like Dekopon orange from Kumamoto and also the Banpeiyu Grapefruit strands hidden within.  A lovely balanced dish and what Japanese food is all about..  Nothing over-powers one another and in harmony   ~  8/10



Kumamoto ‘Salted’ Tomato with Mozzarella, 
Marinated Japanese White Onions  甘いトマト と モッツァレラチーズ
This recipe was said to be constructed to bringing out both the sugary yet salty flavour of the specific Kumamoto Tomato,  which is grown along the sea coast.   I think this could possibly benefit with some julienned Shiso or Basil too.  The side Onions were crunchy and sweet,  yet they won’t leave a raw foul after-taste in your mouth.   One always has to marvel at Japanese vegetables for their uniqueness in flavour and balance.  ~  7/10




Kumamoto Grapefruit & Mandarin Salad with Japanese Kuruma Prawns, 
Asparagus,  Salmon roe,  Shiitake Mushrooms and Japanese tomatoes
車海老と甘柑サラダ -
The Japanese prawns are still alive when transported in wooden boxes,  they were simply so intense in flavour,  even though Hong Kong has the same prawns but they can’t be compared fairly side-by-side.  The salad dressing was sweet-acidic and appetizing,  the pieces of Mikan mandarin was so sweet and reminded me of Mexican mandarin salads somehow.   ~  9/10




Sesame and Fried Rice Cracker   本まぐろ 韓国風ユッケ -
The Tunas are farmed within a 40Km coastal stretch line,  rather than wild caught,  though no mentions of whether they were kept since infants.
   The rice crackers were crispy fragrant and the tuna was actually marinated with Kimchi on top of the onions.   ~  7.5/10




OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGrilled Long Eggplant with Garlic Miso,  Sweet Onions and Bonito Flakes
大長なすのにんにく味噌田楽 -
De-skinned version of a Nasu Dengaku,  with both garlic and miso.  This was steamed well and sweet yet powerful.   A neat version without the crispy Eggplant skin.    ~  7/10



OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACharcoal Grilled Chicken & Soft Cartilage filled Tsukune,  with Kumamoto Shiitake Mushroom stuffed with Amakusa Chicken Breast mince   つくねと天草鶏椎茸つみれ -
The tsukune is a slightly smaller portion for tasting today,  and it was very very charcoal smoky and filled with a lot of cartilage today.  The Tsukune recipe has definitely changed here over several visits.   This is made from the prestigious Amakusa chicken,  which stands nearly 1 meter tall  ~  9/10




Amakusa Chicken with Japanese Fermented Tofu Miso Paste
天草大王地鶏 木の芽味噌 又は 腐乳味噌の串焼き -
This is the Japanese fermented tofu sauce version,  and also using the tall Amakusa DNA chicken thigh unique to this region.   The grilling was spot on and really charcoal-y again,  although the chicken taste could be even stronger considering its dark meat but the sauce was quite unique.   ~  7/10




Kumamoto Wagyu Fillet Kousouyaki   熊本和牛テンダーロイン 香草焼き -
The last Iwate Wagyu was already great,  but this Kumamoto wagyu version was so soft yet flavourful.   The Japanese herbed sauce on top was gratinated and this was easily my favourite dish for today.  So memorable for both the beef flavour,  tenderness and also the thoughtful sauce on top.   ~  9/10


Home Made Soba -
Gonpachi Japan has asked for Gonpachi HK to re-adjust the formula slightly,  and the result definitely shows compared to the beginning.   The Buckwheat taste is definitely stronger,   the noodles are now more chewier,  and even the base sauce is more potent.   For some reason the base broth is not diluted with 蕎麦湯 for drinking afterwards here,  but actually I don’t mind it at all because this doesn’t happen at every Soba shop in Japan either.   ~  8/10


Unagi Eel Rice with Shredded Egg – $138
We ordered this only because someone mentioned how cheap this is here,  and served in a Korean stone Dolsot.   The eel was firm and generous in portion indeed,  although one can tell instantly it is not Japanese eel,  due to the slightly waxy texture.   Nevertheless,  this was cooked well at this price point and it is a good lunch dish.  ~  7/10



Imported Kumamoto Cheese Cake,  Kyushu Strawberries & Matcha Ice-Cream
チーズケーキ、 いちご、 抹茶アイスクリーム -
Everything seems to be imported today, including this sublime cream cheese cake which was stronger,  and isn’t the usual velvelty subtle Hokkaido or Kobe versions.  Kyushu and Kumamoto versions are more straight-forward and convincing in direct flavours.   Downed this in no time before leaving for my meeting afterwards..   ~  8/10




Price:  $350 + 10% Per Person  (Preview Tasting of Kumamoto Menu, served until May 2014)
Score: ♕♕♕♕ to ♕♕♕♕ 1/2

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

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...