New chef and tasting menu review: Silencio
Last Friday night was a Friday night well spent. After working late all week, I left the office on time and headed to the heart of LKF to meet my friend at Silencio, a moody, glossy, contemporary take on a Japanese izakaya.
Silencio has recently appointed a new head chef in Sato Kiyoshi who has quite the resume with time spent at places like JAAN, Whitegrass and, most recently, Honjo. Joining him in the kitchen are chefs who have earned their stripes at places like Nobu and VEA so… they know what they’re doing. I’ve only been to Silencio once before, about a year ago for their Jazzakaya brunch. There were some highlights but overall it wasn’t a ‘wow I must go back’ experience. This new tasting menu though is really nice - some seriously tasty new flavour combinations.
So what’s on the new Mizuko Tasting Menu ($978 per person)?
We started with some (very fancy) seasonal otoshi. First came these two bites: scallop with apple and tuna with ikura. Gorgeous pops of flavour, igniting our appetites for more. We also loved the sake-smoked salmon, which had a gorgeous smoky-sweet flavour.
First up was Japanese crab served with Japanese fruit tomato and ikura. A luxe take on a salad-y appetizer. (Looking back, it was perhaps also a sign that this whole meal would be quite luxe.)
This Polmard beef tartare was really addictive. I joked with Chef Sato that he really needed to give guests more of the orange yolk sauce because together with the tartare, pickled onions, turnip and pear on black rice chips… it was a really fresh take on a popular dish. Definitely a must try whether you get it on the tasting menu or a la carte.
You may have seen a fancy sushi platter before but probably not one quite like this one. This course was definitely one of the highlights of our meal not just in presentation but also taste. The quality of the sashimi (otoro, yellowtail, skipjack and salmon) was excellent - definitely higher than I remember from my last visit. And the nigiri were so unique! We went to heaven with the snapper with shaved foie gras. I don’t think I’ve ever had shaved foie before but it melted with the snapper and created the most decadent bite. There was also a unique-to-Silencio triple tuna otoro, chutoro and marinated akami bite.
The fish course will change almost daily depending on market availability. During our visit, we had a Japanese snapper that was cooked so well: moist, flaky with crispy edges.
Wagyu (+$158 for 10g of black winter truffle)
For some reason, I’ve been craving Wagyu for weeks and was excited to have this as a final course. Before eating, we were treated to a bit of a lesson ( genuinely happy about this, always great to learn more about food).
Silencio is using A4 grade Wagyu from cows raised in Northern Japan. Most Wagyu (90%) comes from Japanese Black cows in Southern Japan. The Northern Wagyu (accounts for just 1% of Wagyu production) brings guests something different and has a gorgeous lean and firm texture with fine-textured fat. Decadent on it’s own or with the artichoke chips, mushroom sauce, and truffle shavings. I don’t always think truffle is worth it but this combination (and the truffle seemed more flavourful than I’ve had elsewhere?) is worth the splurge.
Where has this dessert been all my life? I love lemon curd though sometimes it can be a bit too tart. Yuzu curd is an ideal alternative and was served with chunks of cantaloupe and topped with champagne granita. Would never have thought of this combination but it’s a winner. Would definitely order this a la carte next time. Also it was brilliant to have this after the Wagyu to refresh.
An ode to Hokkaido milk, this final milky dessert consists of a brown butter soft serve topped with dried milk, meringue, browned white chocolate and I think a few other things. Whoa brown butter soft serve, another “where has this been all my life” moment. It was very rich and decadent, a nice one to savour.
It’s not easy to find a good Japanese tasting menu for under $1k in Hong Kong. This menu feels like a steal in the best way - the quality and the inventiveness of the dishes is something to shout about. Even if you’ve given Silencio a try in the past, check it out again to see what this new team is serving up. They’ve got experience and passion to try and deliver something special.
6/F, LKF Tower, 33 Wyndham Street, Lan Kwai Fong, Central, 2480 6569