From the creators of Three Monkeys, Deligator, Djiboutii and Ted's Lookout comes a new Japanese hang-out stocked with prized cuts of Wagyu, jet-fresh seafood and tantalising libations. The latest venture by Home Kong Group, Momotaro is named after the legendary Japanese folk tale of a peach boy hero who won a battle against demons. We recently visited to see if the dishes are as bad ass as the restaurant's namesake.
The hip, dimly lit venue is decorated in Japanese street art and Oni masks, with a fish-scale motif running across the walls. The ambience suggests the restaurant as a night spot rather than a daytime lunch venue owing to the dark, clubby feel. We grabbed a window seat to take advantage of as much of the natural light as possible in order to snap shots of our meal.
The menu, created by Executive Chef Masaaki Aoyama, centres around modern Japanese cuisine. International ingredients such as caviar and black truffle mingle with classic Japanese ingredients such as salmon roe and ponzu.
First to arrive was the seared scallop and spinach salad ($158) with a dash of bottarga. The plump Hokkaido scallops were seared to golden perfection with plenty of bounce, and the briny bottarga added depth and umami notes. We felt the lightly sautéed spinach lightened the meal without making the plate too overbearingly salad-like. It was a perfect light starter on a cold Hong Kong winter's day.
The yellowtail carpaccio ($188) arrived dressed in ponzu and dotted with jalapeño and coriander. The fish was fresh and firm, with a very clean aftertaste. We especially enjoyed the zingy pop of jalapeño against the citrus notes of the ponzu.
Since it is winter after all, despite the current 18-degree weather, we opted to warm up with the truffle seafood chawanmushi ($88). The steamed egg came topped with seared scallop and shavings of black truffle and was filled with delicious chunks of fish and shrimp. The aroma of the black truffle came mainly from the truffle paste rather than the shavings as the fresh slivers of truffle were sadly devoid of any flavour.
We capped off our meal with the signature Momotaro roll ($398 for 4). Each ginormous piece was filled with negitoro, ikura, ebi, uni and caviar and was so large that we felt like we had to unlock our jaws like one of Sigourney Weaver's aliens to get through a bite – a delicious bite, nevertheless.
We thoroughly enjoyed our meal here. The seafood was fresh, and the flavour pairings were an appealing take on classic Japanese cuisine. However, the decor suggests a night-time hangout rather than a daytime diner, due to the dim lighting and clubby feel, so we could see ourselves knocking back a few sake cocktails here of an evening rather than sipping mimosas over brunch.
UG/F, 198 Wellington Street, Central, 2865 0005