Header image: the osusume counter at Kacho Fugetsu
CUBUS in Causeway Bay only welcomed dual-concept venue Kacho Fugetsu this past November, and it’s already hard to get a booking. Even though it’s 5,300 square feet over two floors, the restaurant section seems small, seating up to 40 people, including a private room for up to eight guests.
This stylish “urban izakaya” is very pretty, with a black floor and tabletops contrasting with the soft, zen-like light from the backlit open kitchen. The name “Kacho Fugetsu” derives from a Japanese yojijukugo that means “experience the beauties of nature and, in doing so learn, about yourself”, with a focus on appreciating the beautiful imperfections of nature. The interior design is meant to reflect the wabi-sabi aesthetics of asymmetry, roughness, simplicity and natural objects.
The entrance to the restaurant is on the 25th floor, and a staircase from there leads to the lounge on the 23rd floor, catering to an indulgent night of cocktails for up to 60 guests.
UPDATE: opening hours are 11am– 6pm while government restrictions are in place.
Fresh seafood on ice is the first thing you see upon entering the restaurant. A handful of items are flown in from Japan every day (depending on... you know... the situation) and vary according to what’s fresh at the Japanese fish market that morning. These items make up the osusume counter, from which you can choose the chef’s à-la-carte recommendation when you visit.
We began with a chilled bottle of 一酌一景 大吟釀 Isyaku Ikkei sake ($280/300ml) from Kyoto – perfect for two to share. This was followed up with the Shizuoka-ken fruit tomato salad ($78). Japanese tomatoes are not a deep, rich red like Italian tomatoes, so you could be fooled into thinking that they’re unripe, picked too soon for a speedy export. But they are more like a tomato-style fruit – crunchy (as far as tomatoes can be), sweet and delicious. The salad is dressed with a familiar tart dressing and topped with ruby-coloured pickled shallot. It’s moreish, but it’s not a large serving, and it was gone quickly. If we weren’t hungry before, we were after – the kraken had awoken.
As recommended by the chef, we tried the fresh oysters (market price; $118/each). A very large oyster can be daunting. We often prefer a small size in order to enjoy each part of the oyster at the same time, and this oyster was huge. But we needn’t have been concerned; it was perfectly prepared, so there were no logistical difficulties, and it tasted divine. Bouncy but firm, the taste was fresh, sweet, not salty. A slight smokiness in the dressing complemented the flavours, alongside the tender spice of shisho flowers.
The foie gras chawanmushi ($78) is delicious. We often see foie gras added needlessly to dishes, but in this case, the flavours meld to improve the silky egg custard.
The toro and snow crab tartare with sea urchin ($288) comes with a healthy serving of scallop. The tuna tartare and shredded snow crab are delicate in flavour, pairing well with the rich, buttery uni. We thought this was best eaten without the accompanying seaweed wrappers, which are a touch overpowering for this decadent combination, but go with a touch of soy sauce and the tiniest hint of wasabi if you really can’t resist.
Our plate of hot kushiyaki consisted of five pieces. The tiger prawn wrapped with chicken skin ($98) was our favourite, and the shiro unagi ($68) was also excellent, both having just a bit of char from the robata grill. They are simply served with a wedge of lime and two sauces in case you are of need.
Next, fresh off the grill was a generous serving of tender, marinated and lightly charred Australian Wagyu flank robatayaki ($178).
The pan-fried crispy-skin amadai with sweetcorn purée ($188) impressed on arrival. The scales were blistered and crispy, sprouting from the fish like fresh petals, whilst the meat was fall-apart tender and juicy. The cod-like fish was sweet and agreeable, but we found the accompanying corn purée a bit bland, and it masked the natural flavours rather than complemented them.
A fun way to eat rice is with the Japanese rice cake mentaiko yaki onigiri ($48). This comes with a crispy, chewy crust on the outside, soft, sticky rice on the inside and a few different sauce options (we loved the cod-roe topping).
We ended our meal on a less indulgent note with some warabi mochi ($38). Much like a cup of tea, this herbal treat signified the end of our feasting for the night.
Heading downstairs to the 23rd floor after dinner, we stopped in for a look at the lounge. It’s quite dark, offering plenty of privacy even in an open layout, but the atmosphere is relaxed and sophisticated. Whilst we didn’t try any (this time!), some of the cocktails on offer are Grace ($128), a gin-based tipple with a rose aroma that’s mixed with Italicus liqueur, rose syrup and lemon juice, and Smoky Tea ($148), smoked applewood in a strong whisky cocktail with Earl Grey tea, apple juice and lemon juice. They also boast a “Zaku” collection of sake.
Kacho Fugetsu feels like a grown-up restaurant more than a casual izakaya. We visited early on a Monday night, sitting at the counter because the restaurant was near capacity. These front-row seats offer a unique view of the various seafood on offer, even if the stools are a bit high. It remains to be seen whether the osusume counter will remain freshly stocked given Hong Kong's ongoing cargo woes, but fortunately, the quality robata items are more than enough to satisfy.
Whilst the restaurant was buzzing, the lounge was very quiet. There are Japanese bar bites available there, but the space feels quite distinct (and distant) from the upstairs restaurant. The Kacho Fugetsu lounge might be a hidden gem for those in the know, in which case it won’t be quiet for long.
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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