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Silencio, decked out in monochrome modern art and dark, moody hues, has wooed diners for the past two years with its modern take on Japanese izakaya dining. Part of Le Comptoir Group, whose portfolio includes easy-going Balinese restaurant Poem, two-Michelin-starred ÉCRITURE, al-fresco rooftop eatery PIQNIQ and Japanese omakase restaurant UMI, Silencio has undergone a recent chef change with the appointment of Executive Chef Sato Kiyoshi.
The chef worked at various acclaimed restaurants around the world, including Glass Brasserie and Quay in Sydney and Whitegrass and JAAN in Singapore, before arriving in Hong Kong, first with Honjo by Pirata Group. The young, dynamic chef brings his unique brand of modern Japanese cuisine to the revamped menu at Silencio.
Our tasting involved sampling a collection of various dishes plucked from the lunch, dinner and late-night menus for a truly comprehensive view of the offerings. We began with the otoshi, or small bites, which are constantly evolving to reflect the seasonality of the ingredients. Folded like a taco, meaty bites of lobster and crunchy asparagus filled a wafer-thin slice of crisp daikon. Shaved cheese and truffle added extra decadence.
Please note that many of the dishes featured are part of the various menus, so they do not have individual pricing.
The oysters ($188/2) from Nagasaki Prefecture struck a perfect balance between briny and nutty sweetness and were plump and juicy. A touch of lemon was all that was needed on these fresh bivalves.
Part of the lunch menu, although we think this dish deserves a place on the main dinner menu, the hotate features sweet scallop and akami tuna covered in an apple and elderflower jelly disc dotted with ponzu, pickled shallot, shiso flower and baby leek. This was our favourite dish of the meal thanks to the fresh seafood intermingling with the sweet, acidic crunch of the fruits and pickles.
Another refreshing, summery dish, the akami to hana ($158) is a potpourri of crisp vegetables dressed in a vibrantly green avocado and wasabi dressing, bejewelled with akami rolled around minced tuna and spring onion. Essentially, the morsels are delicate negitoro rolls, with the seaweed replaced with slices of lean tuna. We particularly enjoyed the contrast between the various textures, from the crunchy Japanese yam slices, to the leafy vegetables, to the yielding, flavourful fish, to the savoury pops of tobiko. This is another lunch-menu dish we think ought to be on the main menu.
A treasure trove of deliciousness, the seasonal Toyosu sashimi ($588) platter on our visit featured crunchy Japanese whelk, kinmedai, botan sweet prawn and chutoro. Three additional sushi accompanied this platter, including Hokkado uni piled high with sweet roe and an eye-popping tuna trio ($298), showcasing three cuts of tuna stacked on top of each other. We thoroughly enjoyed the three very different textures of tuna and, in particular, thought the marinated slices accentuated the flavour of the fish. Usually not huge fans of mackerel owing to its intense flavour, we were pleasantly surprised by how mild and clean the saba sushi was thanks to the pre-marination of the fish.
The toothfish, poached in a buttery kombu sauce and dressed with a dash of yuzu, was so incredibly indulgent we wished there had been some flavour contrast to break up all that richness. The crisp asparagus helped to bring some freshness, but this dish was still a tad too heavy for us.
Another heavy dish is the cheekily named Salary Man, a deep-fried potato croquette with minced A4 Wagyu. Part of the late-night snack menu, this dish would be best shared amongst friends alongside a few ice-cold beers.
The binchotan-grilled Wagyu with black and white garlic purée, accompanied by chive flower stalks and lily bulbs, was juicy and seared perfectly, with a ruby-red centre. The meat was well marbled and incredibly buttery, making for sinfully delicious mouthfuls.
Two desserts followed, because just one was simply not enough, especially after that Wagyu! Resembling a palate cleanser, the lychee sorbet with coconut yoghurt drops and milk crisp was light and refreshing – and monochrome, just like Silencio’s decor (the chef always includes one monochrome dessert on the menu to match the interior of the restaurant).
The chocolate and whisky dessert features caramel ice cream on a bed of chocolate textures, paired with a ball of whisky-infused ice cream encapsulated in chocolate praline. The varying textures and warm flavour of the caramel against the potent chocolate and whisky made for a delicious conclusion to our meal.
This new stylised menu at Silencio should really be described as modern Japanese cuisine as the term “izakaya” usually reminds us of more casual eateries. We like the wide range of dishes on offer, from the jet-fresh sashimi, to the delicate cold starters, to the decadent mains and bar snacks. Because of the dark, moody interior, we would particularly recommend this spot as an after-hours dining option.
6/F, LKF Tower, 33 Wyndham Street, Central, 2480 6569, book online
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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