Fine-dining Japanese omakase restaurants are popping up all over Hong Kong like mushrooms after a rainstorm. One of the newest additions to this refined line-up is Kushiro.
Tucked away on the basement floor of the iconic hotel The Peninsula in Tsim Sha Tsui, Kushiro is headlined by renowned Japanese chef Yukihito Tomiyama, whom we last met at Michelin-starred Shinji by Kanesaka in Macau. Joining Chef Tomiyama with his 25 years of culinary expertise is Executive Sushi Chef Ricky Chung, who has worked at esteemed restaurants the likes of Sushiyoshi and Sushi Ta-ke in Hong Kong and across China, Korea and Japan. Executive Chef Jason Au completes the chef trio, having previously worked in Hong Kong at NOBU and HAKU, with an international repertoire of New York, Dubai and Shanghai.
The restaurant, designed by Kenwin Chan, reflects the calming aesthetics of a Japanese zen garden, complete with design elements that draw inspiration from the moon. The main dining room is dominated by the sushi counter, where guests can take in all the culinary action. There’s also a private room for celebrations.
The first course of our extensive omakase dinner menu ($1,980/person) was this Japanese fruit tomato, given an extra bit of swish with a crown of edible gold flakes. The juicy tomato was packed with sun-ripened sweetness.
A dish that we first encountered at Sushiyoshi, the botan ebi carpaccio is a perfect rectangle of delicate sweetness, especially in contrast to the rock-salt seasoning.
The ankimo is steamed with soy sauce and is melt-in-the-mouth tender. This way of processing monkfish liver is labour-intensive and involves rubbing the liver with salt before rinsing it with sake. Then the liver is rolled into a cylinder and steamed to tender perfection.
This sake created especially for Kushiro uses rice at 45% polish, pairing beautifully with the sweetness of the shrimp carpaccio.
The sanma isobe maki is a tightly bound bundle of Pacific saury fillet around pickled daikon. We enjoyed the contrast of the firm white fish against the crunch of the pickled radish – a delicious, carb-free roll.
Steamed abalone is a favourite of ours, and Kushiro’s version did not disappoint. The giant red abalone, which hails from Mie Prefecture, is steamed for eight hours and served with abalone liver sauce and a tiny rice ball.
Creamy abalone liver sauce is simply irresistible, and we were thankful for the rice ball to help to mop up every last smidgen of sauce!
The shellfish cold soup features torigai (cockle) and oyster. The meat of both large shellfish was succulent and packed with briny, umami juices, and we particularly loved the cold tomato-based soup – a refreshing, sweet cool-down from the late summer heat. The umami sweetness of the tomato heightens the flavours of the oyster and cockle. Dill, not something often seen on a Japanese menu, adds interest to the flavour profile.
The Matsuba crab gelée, topped with Hokkaido uni, pressed caviar and sturgeon gold caviar, is a heavenly little bowl of pure indulgence. The sweet crab with creamy sea urchin is punctuated by pops of briny richness from the two varieties of caviar.
One of our favourites on the menu, the French blue lobster sits atop pumpkin purée and anglerfish liver sauce. The lobster we had was perfectly poached, with a slight bouncy wobble at the centre of the succulent tail, pairing well with the silky, sweet pumpkin purée and liver sauce. We tried to chew slowly to savour each bite.
A stunning dish to behold, the amadai rests on a bed of fine pesto, accompanied by sautéed chives. The scales of the tilefish are puffed and crispy thanks to the hot oil that’s poured over the top right before plating. This fish is buttery, flaky and absolutely delicious, particularly when smeared with the vibrant herb sauce.
The A4 Wagyu tenderloin from Miyazaki comes plated alongside a yuzu truffle sauce and crisp slivers of burdock. The medallion of beef has juicy, robust flavour without being overly rich, and the yuzu helps to lighten the creamy truffle sauce.
From top left clockwise: hokkigai (surf clam), kinmedai, otoro, maguro akami (tuna)
From top left clockwise: anago (eel), kuruma ebi (tiger prawn), kohada (gizzard shad), hotategai (scallop), saba (mackerel) maki
Just in case we weren’t yet full, we were treated to nine pieces of delicately pressed sushi. Kushiro’s sushi rice is steamed using natural water from the top of Mount Fuji (to avoid any contaminates), with this water said to enhance the sweetness of the rice. We find it mind-boggling that someone has to cart down water daily and ship it to Hong Kong!
All the fish was incredibly fresh and pressed delicately, with just a slight brush of shoyu.
We love tamagoyaki at fine Japanese restaurants because it always resembles the most delicate sponge cake rather than omelette.
A soothing bowl of dashi simmered with daikon and red prawn helped to wash down all that decadence.
A trio of sweet treats, ranging from Japanese melon, to sesame chocolate, to peanut crumble, wrapped up our meal. This was the first time we tried sesame and chocolate together – a delicious surprise. We also loved the slight saltiness of the peanut crumble, which helped to balance the sweetness of the melon and sesame chocolate.
Kushiro executes each dish with flawless finesse. A meal here is a culinary journey rather than just a meal. Although the steep omakase dinner price is not for the faint of heart, the $880 lunch menu could be more palatable. Ultimately, the prices reflect the high quality of the ingredients and culinary skills behind each dish. Kushrio is definitely worthy of a splurge!
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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