Header image: from ushidoki_hk instagram
We absolutely cannot pass over a tasting at Ushidoki, when it’s award-winning Singapore namesake has a month-long waitlist. It is not the hype, we know, that has propelled this restaurant to cult status. To start, the Singapore outfit has only 23 seats – which automatically makes it super difficult to make a booking. But at the heart of Ushidoki’s popularity is its lineup of artisanal staff who deliver sultry wagyu dishes that are fresh, decadent and lingering.
The dinner tasting menu includes 11 courses and takes you on ‘tongue-to-tail’ journey of the Kagoshima prefecture’s exclusive premium Odagyu (wagyu beef). Preparing the evening’s meal was Chef Michinori Hasegawa, who, without saying, is highly skilful in executing an authentic culinary experience that is full of personal touches – delivered right in front of us.
Chilled shabu-shabu, tosa vinegar jelly, sprinkled karasumi
Opening the anticipated evening, the Hiyashibachi consists of chilled shabu-shabu, tosa vinegar and sprinkled karasumi. The vinegar jelly literally melts in your mouth, and does not only add sparkles but also an acidity that highlights the chilled, lightly blanched beef slices. The pleasing colours and textures of this dish is a greeting for the rest of the menu.
Beef tongue soup, water shield, yuzu
The second course is a beef tongue soup with water shield and yuzu. The description does not do it justice at all, as this beef tongue is probably the most tender and flavourful cut of meat I have ever eaten – EVER, and the accompanying broth is light and clean to taste, that enriches the flavour of the beef tongue slices glistening in it.
Beef rib eye cap sushi
Beef tartar, imperial seaweed, pickles, caviar, sea urchin
Before venturing into other cooked courses, we were treated with two more dishes of wagyu beef in its natural glory – beef sushi two ways using rib eye cap /肉眼邊 (one topped with caviar and the other slightly charred topped with red wine and apple sauce) and beef tartar with sea urchin and caviar served with tempura imperial seaweed. Each ingredient has its role – never overpowering nor losing its’ place.
Sukiyaki with onion, onsen egg and truffle, and a side serving of rice
It is almost unfair to pick a stand out dish, as all 11 courses are so well executed and let their ingredients shine. But if I must, I choose the sukiyaki – a humble family dish. How do you describe this version? To start, they use an “never-ending pot” of this rich onion soup that has been christened by layers upon layers of wagyu beef before our meal. This, is served with an onsen egg and topped with shaved truffle right before serving. Now, you might think this would be too rich and too unsettling. Absolutely not. Every bite sings in an umami goodness and every spoonful asks for more. It’s pure heaven and we needed a moment! (BTW, I wanted my beef slightly cooked and Chef Hasegawa was happy to cook to my liking. Respect.)
Chef Hasegawa preparing Sukiyaki, delicately placing one piece of wagyu at a time
At this point, we are about half-way in the menu. A refreshing palate-cleansing sweet green plum prepared us for more decadent dishes to come.
Sirloin cutlet “sandwich” with caviar and sea urchin
The second half of the meal is equally exciting and exceptionally well executed at the same level of skill and care. There is sirloin cutlet sandwich, a chateaubriand in a red wine reduction, grilled sirloin with vegetables (that is a feast to the palate and the eyes) and chilled noodle with tail gelee (jelly).
Fast forward to the dessert, which is a fun and delightful course led by a whimsical owl tea cup reminding us it’s almost time to wrap up, and we reluctantly obliged. The wasabi ice cream definitely caught us by surprise, and the verdict was split on this. But the silky smooth and decadently rich egg custard round out the perfect evening on a high note.
Dining at Ushidoki is the whole experience – the skills of Chef Hasegawa and the culinary team that come through in every dish; the knowledgable, attentiveness and assuring service delivered by the service team; the comfortable and intimate setting of the dining room; and the whimsical and thoughtful serving utensils that bring joy and delight. It is not pretentious, just exceptional ingredients and handling that focus on the food. The word is going to be out soon that Ushidoki will be one of the must-go restaurants in Hong Kong. Make your reservations now or join a long waitlist later, like you would at their Lion City branch.
Lunch: Noon to 2:30pm, Omakase lunch menu at $1,300 per person
Dinner: 6pm to 10pm, Omakase dinner menu at $2,000 per person
Starting 15 August 2022, Ushidoki closes on alternate Mondays
Shop 2B, 1/F, Manning House, 38-48 Queen’s Road Central, Central, 2633 8933
This write-up is based on a complimentary media tasting provided in exchange for an honest review and no monetary compensation. The opinions expressed here represent the author’s.