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Chef and owner Hiroki Nakanoue has returned to his Hong Kong restaurant to unveil a brand-new omakase menu in celebration of a fresh new look at Sushiyoshi. As the first overseas outpost of Chef Nakanoue’s two-Michelin-starred restaurant in Osaka, the menu features the same alchemy of Edomae-style cuisine using contemporary techniques and flavours that has won so many accolades for the original restaurant.
Chef Nakanoue may be one of the first overseas chefs to revisit the city following the pandemic, a feat of dedication that had him undergo three weeks of hotel quarantine. During this time, he even found a muse in a classic Chinese dish delivered by room service, creating a course on his new omakase menu to pay homage to it.
The new 19-course omakase menu ($3,480/person) showcases a blend of traditional Japanese techniques and European culinary artistry.
The akagai with yam and egg yolk is a twist on traditional nigiri-style sushi, with the “rice” part composed of diced yam held together by creamy egg yolk. The yielding, somewhat crunchy texture of the Japanese yam offers a nice textural complement to the sweet and crunchy akagai shellfish.
The kaki sushi, a delicate sous-vide oyster pressed on top of vinegary rice and brushed in Sushiyoshi’s signature sweet sauce, was passed from the chef straight into our hand. Eating the juicy, sweet oyster right from our palm was a very visceral experience.
Next, going clockwise from left, the kazukodai chimaki sushi, using a seasonal spring sea beam, was a tad on the fishy side on our visit. The ruby kinmedai sushi from Chiba Prefecture was rich and flavourful yet clean on the palate, while the ika sushi, sliced in Ukiyo-e style, was both a feast for the eyes and the palate. We loved the silky yet chewy texture of the squid.
Inspired by a Peking duck meal that was delivered to his hotel room during quarantine, the bonito sashimi is served deconstructed alongside whimsically cut kombu, sliced leek and a Japanese mustard sauce. The idea is to roll the smoky bonito around the accompanying condiments, just like a Peking duck pancake. This is a fun, fresh way to enjoy this powerfully flavoured fish.
The clam soup with Ibonoito somen brims with umami juices, and we were glad that the thin noodles were there to further prolong the enjoyment of the broth. Each morsel of juicy, plump clam was also packed with briny clam juice. We could have easily polished off several bowls of this!
A refined blend of Japanese and European cooking techniques, the uni-and-cheese gougère features fresh homemade uni powder mixed with Gruyère cheese. The result is an addictively moreish morsel that is fluffy on the inside with a beautiful, cheesy crust.
The accompanying sakura-masu salmon is a labour of love, undergoing a six-hour immersion in salmon broth before being marinated for more than two days. A final drizzle of sansho oil heightens the aroma of the rich fish.
The akamutsu bo sushi, a beautifully rolled white-fish toro sushi topped with an aromatic, thin wafer of gélee wrapped in crisp nori, is infused with the aromas of ginger and shiso.
The red miso soup accented with bonito features yieldingly soft grilled aubergine – homey comfort in a bowl.
The uni, caviar and scrambled egg is an extravaganza of egg. The scrambled egg is made at the sushi counter via the bain-marie method to ensure maximal creaminess, and an entire tray of creamy sea urchin roe is blended into the pan for extra umami sweetness. The creaminess of the scrambled egg against the rich sweetness of the uni and brininess of the caviar is a match made in heaven.
Medium marbled tuna, or chutoro, from Wakayama Prefecture’s Nachikatsuura is brushed with homemade red vinegar before being wrapped in crunchy nori. We chewed very slowly to prolong this ecstatic bite.
Moving from left clockwise, the deep-fried hotate, using fresh Hokkaido scallop, is served alongside sea salt and lemon. The delicate, crisp batter keeps the scallop’s flesh incredibly juicy. The awabi sushi, using black abalone from Shimane Prefecture, was deliciously bouncy, while the soy-marinated, ruby-red akami tuna sushi was lean and very clean on the palate.
The tai and tamago maki looks like a beautiful origami piece.
Dessert comes in the form of red bean yokan wagashi and cleansing, astringent matcha.
It was an honour to have acclaimed Chef Nakanoue personally craft each dish for us and narrate us through his new omakase inspirations. The chef will remain in Hong Kong until mid-June, serving this menu alongside his Hong Kong-based head chef, Sugawara. We like how this omakase experience differs from other fine-dining Japanese restaurants through the addition of European culinary techniques and whimsical quirks. It’s a not-so-traditional way of enjoying a genre of cuisine that is usually incredibly bound by strict rules and precise techniques.
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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