Japanese restaurant review: Trying an omakase menu at Kishoku in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
New omakase menu with Japanese figs at this tried-and-true favourite in Causeway Bay
If you don’t know where to look, you might walk past Kishoku without realizing it. Or at least walk past the building where it is located. Yiu Wa Street is one of those small, one way streets in Causeway Bay full of rowdy street front restaurants and bars. There are a couple of high rises though, including a modern building with neon pink lights spelling out “Zing!” This is the building you enter, and take the lift up to the fifth floor.
Although the building’s lobby is bold, Kishoku is all understated elegance. Launched in 2013 by Chef Ah Do (previously of Sushi Ta-ke), it remains a popular choice for diners who enjoy traditional omakase. In Hong Kong, there are more and more restaurants doing a spin or modern twist on omakase. While Kishoku sticks to the classics, they are experimenting with a new ingredient this summer: figs.
‘Tis the season for Japanese figs, which is one of the oldest cultivated fruits in Japan. Kishoku imports them from Kyushu, Osaka and Tokyo, and they will be available as part of the omakase menus - usually, one fig dish per menu - until the end of August.
There are four fig dishes to choose from.
Japanese Summer Salad (HK$128)
This salad is served before the sushi courses during the omakase. Fresh cubes of aloe vera were placed in a halved fresh fig. There was a slightly smoky sauce for the aloe, sesame sauce for the fresh fig, and the white corn was a palate cleanser at the end. Good, though this one was a bit too traditional tasting for me.
The Fig & Zucchini Flower Tempura (HK$160)
Deep fried food can be done elegantly, and Kishoku certainly showcased that with this dish. The zucchini flower was very fresh and sweet, and the head was stuffed with Saiko Miso-infused cheddar cheese. I’ll let you imagine how wonderful this tasted once battered and fried. Same for the deep fried Osaka fig wrapped in a 30-month aged prosciutto.
Fig & Crab Monaka (HK$220)
Kishoku has a reputation for exceptionally fresh ingredients, and the food lives up to the hype. This monaka, a rice-flour based pastry shell, is a good example of fresh ingredients maximizing the potential of a dish. Hairy crab was mixed with slow-cooked dried Osaka figs. The mixture was then topped with ripe chunks of avocado and fresh figs, and some salmon roe. It was creamy, crunchy, decadent perfection. Run, don’t walk, to try this. It was one of the best things I’ve eaten this year.
Fig Yokan (HK$58)
Another twist on a traditional classic. Yokan is usually created with red bean paste, but features a slow-cooked dried Osaka fig in this case. This was nice, light way to end the meal though the traditional jelly may not be to everyone’s taste.
There are four choices for omakase.
Ki - HK$950 - 4 Chef's Entrees, 3 pieces of Sushi
Sho - HK$1350 - 13 pieces of Sushi
Ku - HK$1550 - 4 types of Sashimi, entree, 8 Pieces of Sushi
Kishoku - HK$1850 - 7 types of sashimi, entree, 5 pieces of sushi
I also want to mention how fantastic Kishoku’s sushi is. The quality of the sashimi is exceptional. It’s hard to choose just three favourites, but highlights for me include the botan ebi with shiso leaf and flamed prawn roe, toro with shiso leaf and sesame, the Hokkaido ma fun sea urchin with Hokkaido white sea urchin
And their infamous sin in a seaweed wrap, the chu-toro and otoro-toro with a sprinkling of salt and a shiso leaf, was magic. It was so indulgently fatty, I had to close my eyes for a few seconds and savour it; this made me look a bit odd, and someone asked me if I was ok…!
Kishoku is a wonderful choice for omakase. It’s great to see them experimenting with seasonal menus, and the summer figs menu is done well. Some of the dishes are quite traditional, and may not be to everyone’s palate. There are many options though, so there should be something (many things!) that will satisfy even the most discerning diners. The fig dishes are available until the end of August.
Bigfoot Centre, 38 Yiu Wa St, Causeway Bay, 2893 0333
Thanks to Kishoku's PR for inviting me to review. This post will also appear on afoodieworld.com.