Thursday, April 16, 2015

Ore no Kappou 俺の割烹 - New Stand Up Eatery in Lan Kwai Fong. Definitely making a Statement..

 The Tokyo Michelin 2 Starred Ginza Okamoto together with a local HK Dining Group have opened up a restaurant in Lan Kwai Fong area.   Much like the current fine dining places like Osteria Francescana in Modena Italy,  or the UK’s The Fat Duck with their Dinner 2nd outlet,  even locally 8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo opening their more approachable CIAK in the Kitchen,  a secondary restaurant more appealing and affordable to the masses is surely becoming a Global Food Trend…    This 1st visit was by the Restaurant’s Invitation although subsequently I have tried to come back 3 more times,  but the Saba-Zushi was always too popularly sold out before 8pm.   2ndly despite the standing up dining concept popular in Tokyo,   they also do have sitting-down tables on the HK side too.   Kappou by definition is a casual form of Kaiseki Fine Dining, so this concept trickling down in order to benefit more casual consumers but also expecting quality Japanese food in trendy and younger Lan Kwai Fong,  is spot-on very appropriate demographically..



Some Sakura Cocktail and a Sparkling 50% Polished Dassai sake to start -
They were actually paired with food but in this review I won’t elaborate..


Sea Urchin and Seafood Potato Gazpacho -
Hidden beneath are prawns, scallops,  okra, etc.  This cold soup was interesting because initially it looked like a Chawanmushi.  Little did we know that it was really chilled as sometimes we start eating before referring back to the menu.   A lovely Japanese-Spanish starter especially the scallops…   ~ 8.5/10




Vegetables Otoshi starter -
This came after the above soupy course.   Usually in Japanese food culture this would perhaps be reversed.   However a cold soup preceding some biteable food can also be more logical as a Tasting Menu.  After all the ‘Kappou’ in their name of Ore no Kappou means a less formal variation of Kaiseki Ryori…   It’s up to the kitchen of how they want to express it.  

Sashimi Platter:  Hamachi Yellow Tail,  Botan Ebi Prawn,  Geoduck Miru-gai,
Sea Bream Tai,  Tuna Toro,  Shima-Aji Striped Jack -
The prawns were awesome fresh,  but minus the heads.  The presence of geoduck was interesting as this is not ‘usually expected’ in HK Japanese restaurants.   The Toro was slightly too sinewy,  which before I shoot myself in the foot I actually expect Toro to have some tendons/sinew but this one was a bit chewy and needed more tuna taste.  All the other seafood were good to great in comparison.   ~ 7.5/10



鮑奉書燒 Seared Abalone, Sea Urchin, Scallop and Seaweed in Japanese Paper ‘Housho’ – $280
This is a Signature Dish here of Traditional Kyoto origin.  The sea urchins were warmed up and therefore taste slightly less sweet than the above gazpacho soup.   Abalone and the hidden Scallops beneath were as expected flavourful tender.   I think the use of Wakame seaweed over-powered the whole concept a bit despite the awesome presentable concept,  although understandably its to impart natural Umami taste.  ~ 6/10

Pan fried Shirako with Butter and Ponzu Vinegar,  Vegetables – $180
The Cod Sperm Milt seemed to have been pan fried with a thin batter,  which is quite unique from the normal Raw,  Marinated or thicker Tempura versions.  This was quite likable as it was not too mealy and the sauce was…  gravy-like almost.   The sauce coating was buttery savory,  but upon testing the sauce on the plate it did had a much stronger vinegary taste –  I liked the flavour contrast play a lot.   ~ 9.5/10

Miyazaki A4-A5 Wagyu Tenderloin 200g,  Two Grilled French Goose Foie Gras,  with Truffled Meat Jus,  Mashed Potatoes -  $480
As the PR and Restaurant both mentioned,  at this price it cannot be beaten even buying raw from the Super Markets yourself –  I agree too!   This shows how aggressive Ore no Kappou is really trying to bring top food for the normal working class in Central or late night LKF visitors.  The Miyazaki Tenderloin filets were slow roasted a bit in a Combi oven before being Char finished. and I prefer them much rarer.  The Foie Gras could also be less cooked.  The truffled sauce was very good however and French-esque.  ~ 6.9/10  



Saba Zushi 2 Pieces – $60 2 Pieces,  $120 for 4 Pieces
One of their Signature dishes here,  which the ‘Ore No’ Series Restaurants have over 10 concepts which might include French,  Italian,  Kappou or even a simple Oden!   The Saba marination-cure tonight was surprisingly quite raw still,  which can happen closer to Winter when the fishes are fatter and fresher.   The top Konbu layer is one of 2 varying traditional methods.  Surprisingly the staff said this konbu seaweed is only provided in Hong Kong side,  saying the Kombu is just like natural MSG and giving the fish more Umami taste.   In fact it is also used to balance this shiny skin fish’s slightly strong fish taste.  *The konbu layer on this photo has already been removed,  as I like eating it without as it really brings out the Saba’s flavour!   ~ 9/10  


Red Aka Miso Soup -
I love red miso soup but I also love all the versions.   Some restaurants mix with upwards of 4 miso for the balance.  I can taste some fish bone contribution beneath too.  Good finish.  And in stark contrast to the starting cold Seafood Gazpacho soup.   ~ 8.5/10




Pineapple Creme Brulee – $60
Literally a horizontally sliced Pineapple with a Pineapple & Vanilla Creme Brulee on top. 
Ingenious and makes so much sense!  Made very well too just like traditional French versions but with a new twist..  Worth coming here for this !  ~ 9/10





Zenzai Cigar Red Bean Spring Roll – $40
Has some mochi within too.   Modern twist of a traditional Zenzai red bean and Mochi Dango soup dessert.  Personally its fun and creative,  plus it isn’t using fusionized food elements at all.  It remains totally Japanese/Chinese but just taking another new form.   ~ 8/10




One of the Japanese Chefs here -
Preparing a Wagyu Sukiyaki dish on the Standing Tables outside and take photos with a pretty lady.   It was still New Openings and Concept wise it was pretty strong as a 2nd tier Kappou Restaurant trying to perform but not over-charging the customers,  a nice gesture and idea.  Most dishes were nicely executed bar the Wagyu & Foie Gras dish,  which I guess on Hong Kong side we expect them to be much rarer.    I also suspect not everyone will try to Understand their Standing Up Design Concept at the front of the restaurant.  Chef Okamoto is already a famous 2* Michelin Chef,  why does he make stand up eateries?  Well if one thinks deeper and understand that the word ‘Ore’ is a very informal way of calling ‘Myself’ in Japanese,  this is a reflection of his intentions to remain down-to-earth and make his lovely cuisine available for everyone of ‘us’ out there.  So Japanese in mentality.



Price:  $300 to $800 + 10% (Meal by Invitation by Restaurant as Preview)
Food:   ♕♕♕ 1/2 to ♕♕♕♕ 1/2
Address:  6/F, 32 D'Aguilar Street, Lan Kwai Fong, Central
Ph: 2328 3302

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