I love Japanese cuisine, and sushi is one of my favourite foods. Being a pioneer of sushi omakase culture in Hong Kong, Sushi Ta-ke has always had a special place in my heart. Famed originally for its Edomae-style sushi, it relocated to a much bigger space in Lee Garden Two last year, rebranded as Ta-ke and now offers teppanyaki and tempura in addition to sushi and sashimi.
Before I get to the food, let’s all take a moment to appreciate the breathtaking interiors of the restaurant. Designed by acclaimed Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, Ta-ke is like an urban version of an ancient Japanese courtyard. The combination of bamboo, wood and stone creates a harmonious space and peaceful atmosphere for diners.
The restaurant is now offering a seasonal Autumn Crab Feast kaiseki menu ($1,880/person) until the end of November 2019 alongside its à-la-carte menu items and sets, which include sushi, sashimi, tempura and teppanyaki.
The five appetisers came beautifully arranged with an assortment of textures – a great way to kick off the tasting experience. Starting off with the creamy peanut tofu, we then tried the Japanese blue crab with egg yolk and vinegar and shredded potato prawn ball with monaka wafer, finishing with the palate-cleansing yuzu cheese and plum jelly.
Three kinds of seasonal sashimi are served after the appetiser.
Top tip: sometimes sashimi comes garnished with a small purple flower branch; these tiny buds are actually shiso flowers. Next time, try stripping off the purple blossoms and putting them in your soy sauce. This gives the soy sauce a fragrant shiso aroma, which pairs perfectly with oily fish such as toro (fatty tuna).
The third course is Japanese blue crab onion soup with mentaiko grissini. The broth is made with the shells of Japanese blue crab, which impart a subtly sweet flavour.
Then comes three kinds of sushi. Red, not white, vinegar is used in the making of the sushi rice, offering a more velvety texture as well as balancing out the flavours of the raw fish.
The next dish is grilled horsehair crab roe and crabmeat in shell. Grilling the meaty horsehair, or hairy, crab in its shell retains its juices, making the dish very succulent. This course was my personal favourite.
King crab tempura with vegetables is then served with the restaurant’s homemade shrimp salt. King crab is known for its meaty texture, and this dish was perfectly executed – the crabmeat encased in a crisp tempura shell was still soft and luscious.
Horsehair crab hotpot with Chinese cabbage follows. This hotpot is full of vegetables, ideal after all the grilled and deep-fried meaty dishes. I love how Japanese cuisine is always very thoughtful about the flow of a meal.
We finished with an Instagram-worthy steamed matsuba crab pumpkin rice (served in its very own mini pumpkin!) and, finally, matcha caramel pudding with seasonal fruit. It’s difficult to go wrong with exquisite Japanese fruit and a mini matcha pudding that was ever so lightly caramelised on top.
The food at Ta-ke was delicately executed without unnecessary seasonings added to the fresh, high-quality ingredients, and the beautiful interiors and attentive staff rounded off an enjoyable dining experience. Located in the heart of Causeway Bay, Ta-ke is perfect for business meals with clients or for a more private and relaxing dining experience à deux.
Shop G01, G/F, Lee Garden Two, 28 Yun Ping Road, Causeway Bay, 2577 0611
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.
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