Japanese eatery SUIT reimagines traditional izakaya dishes
Nestled on Jervois Street in Sheung Wan is SUIT, a neighbourhood café during the day and, at night, a low-key restaurant offering modern Japanese sharing plates alongside sake flights and highballs. Inspired by the izakaya dining culture of Japan, SUIT focuses on using global ingredients to capture the authenticity of modern Japanese cuisine, with a bit of local Chinese flair thrown in to boot.
We kicked off our evening with a bold, boozy chuhai (HK$68) and slightly sweet ginger lemon sour highball (HK$78).
If you’re at SUIT for a drink, the otsumami (Japanese snacks that are customarily served with alcoholic drinks) are adventurous add-ons. The yeasty tofu (HK$48), despite having a peculiar name, offers thin tofu crisps served with an aged buttery, sweet miso dip, while the marinated soy kanroni shiitake (HK$48) focuses on sweet, earthy notes and is served atop homemade shrimp crackers.
Two dishes that shine as appetisers are the all-in aubergine (HK$118) and fish mosaic (HK$168). First up, charcoal-coloured aubergine purée is rolled into a log and topped with thin sweet potato crisps, with the middle intertwined with a pistachio sauce, crispy mushrooms and chudo (fermented fish-stomach lining). This cold dish works well for the summer, focusing on nutty, sweet and slightly citrusy flavours, with a swish of olive-oil-infused whipped yoghurt coating each bite. We recommend adding on a crisp textural component to prevent any mushiness.
The skilfully assembled rolled yellowtail in nori is wedged between wasabi yoghurt and dashi jelly. Irregular, chunky cuts of yellowtail create an artistic mosaic that feels (almost) too pretty to eat. The complementary mildly spicy and umami flavours of the yoghurt and jelly highlight the buttery texture of the raw fish.
For a full-on experience, you can ask the team for a sake flight (HK$208 for 3 glasses or HK$308 for 5 glasses). A diverse range of both traditional and New World sake is offered at SUIT, and we opted for a sparkling glass over dinner. The Tonokomachi Spark Type-H Sparkling Sake (HK$98/90ml, HK$318/360ml or HK$618/720ml) has a fruity, delicate aroma. It went very well with our first round of dishes.
Beef chunk (HK$248) might not sound very appealing, but it’s expertly grilled to medium rare over charcoal and has an unmistakable smoky, charred flavour. Delicate grilled young bamboo, a delicacy across Asia and specifically in Japan, is served alongside the meaty main.
The charred baby carrots (HK$88) are marinated in miso, then mixed with crushed hazelnuts and toasted sesame seeds. We enjoyed the carrots’ warm, caramel-like aroma and crunchy texture.
Our final sake was the complex and creamy Hiraizumi Junmai Daiginjo (HK$98/90ml, HK$318/360ml or HK$618/720ml), which is slightly dry and acidic and pairs well with mains such as the yellow chicken rice (HK$268).
This SUIT signature plays around with Chinese cooking techniques. The soy-marinated crispy three-yellow chicken is served atop claypot rice that’s been cooked in chicken broth. A punchy ginger wine sauce with spring onion can be poured over the chicken, intensifying the sweetness of the soy.
Delicious, thoughtful and creative Japanese flavours abound at SUIT. I’ll return to try more of the sake range. My only criticism of the izakaya is that the lights should be dimmed come evening in order to increase the intimacy factor.
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.