A labour of love, ENISHI is the new teppanyaki restaurant by Chef Shun Sato of nearby Foodie fave CENSU in partnership with two of the chef’s former culinary colleagues from their time spent together in Australia – husband-and-wife team Toru Takano and Ami Hamasaki. Translating to “fate”, the restaurant’s moniker symbolises the trio’s special bond, extending to the heartwarming service offered by the chefs.

ENISHI’s space is minimalist and intimate, featuring two distinct dining experiences – there’s an 11-seat counter, facing the action, where diners can sample the teppanyaki omakase menu (HK$1,280/person for 8 courses; HK$1,480/person for 10 courses) and a small area seating 12 for more casual à-la-carte dining (with dishes like chicken karaage, snow crab udon and pork katsu sando on the menu).

Evolving with the seasons, ENISHI’s current eight-course tasting menu begins with the oyster sanbaizu. This plump, juicy oyster from Chef Sato’s home region of Miyagi Prefecture is paired with a traditional Japanese sauce known as sanbaizu made up of rice vinegar alongside sugar and soy – a lovely match to the oyster’s brininess.

The market sashimi – hamachi, in this case – is uniquely complemented by a yoghurt sauce and dashi purée, with the dairy element cutting through the fish’s richness. A surprising pairing that works exceedingly well.

Chef Hamasaki is a big fan of dim sum, and she has a created these wonton-like shirako gyoza inspired by classic Cantonese dumplings. It’s all about the ultra-creamy texture of the shirako, or cod milt, balanced with a punchy pesto-like sauce made of Japanese crown daisy.

Next up is this meaty monkfish fillet, grilled to perfection and accompanied by charred okra and ponzu sauce.

An unexpected highlight of the meal, the ezo awabi features live abalone from Hokkaido (it was still moving on the platter before being brought to the grill!) drenched in a luscious, buttery sauce made of abalone liver. This is the best version of this type of Japanese abalone-liver sauce we’ve ever had in Hong Kong; deeply flavourful but not overpowering, we’d love to bottle it up and spoon it over pasta and rice – it’s that good!

The Wagyu tenderloin (we were too greedy to snap a picture of the final dish!) is from Kyoto and is a rare princess cut, meaning that it originates from virgin female cattle. There’s less marbling than the Wagyu we’re more accustomed to being served in Hong Kong; this is a good thing – the texture of the meat is very tender but not cloying. Our grilled tenderloin was served simply with salt, garlic chips and fresh wasabi.

The star ingredients of the pot rice – made with Niigata’s famous rice, water and seafood – change daily, and on the day of our tasting, it was sakura shrimp and uni that made the cut. An elegant yet truly comforting dish, served with soup, pickles and Chef Hamasaki’s mother’s secret-recipe nikumiso (a sauce of minced pork and miso) with daikon.

Dessert for us was tanghulu strawberries with homemade vanilla ice cream, hojicha cream and crushed pistachio. Transporting us back to the flavours of our childhood, the Japanese strawberries were as sweet as their sticky, crunchy candied-sugar coating. Delightful!

Verdict

We’ll go out on a limb and say this was the best meal we’ve had thus far in 2023. Chefs Sato, Takano and Hamasaki made our experience very special indeed with their warmth and personal touches. For elevated teppanyaki dining offering premium Japanese ingredients, innovative execution and a focus on connecting to diners, we highly recommend ENISHI.

Where: 49 Bonham Strand, Sheung Wan

For reservations: phone 2626 9096, WhatsApp 6604 9083 or 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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