If you don’t know where to look, you might walk past Kishoku without realising it – or at least walk past the building where it‘s located. Yiu Wa Street is one of those small, one-way streets in Causeway Bay full of rowdy street-side restaurants and bars. There are a couple of high-rises though, including a modern building with neon pink lights spelling out “ZING!” This is the building you enter and take the lift up to the fifth floor.
Although the building’s lobby is bold, Kishoku is all understated elegance. Launched in 2013 by Chef Ah Do (previously of Sushi Ta-ke), it remains a popular choice for diners who enjoy traditional omakase. In Hong Kong, there are more and more restaurants doing a spin or modern twist on omakase. While Kishoku sticks to the classics, they are experimenting with a new ingredient this summer: figs.
‘Tis the season for Japanese figs, one of the oldest cultivated fruits in Japan. Kishoku imports them from Kyushu, Osaka and Tokyo, and they will be available as part of the omakase menus – usually, one fig dish per menu – until the end of August. There are four fig dishes to choose from.
Japanese summer salad ($128)
This salad is served before the sushi courses during the omakase. Fresh cubes of aloe vera were placed in a halved fresh fig. There was a slightly smoky sauce for the aloe, sesame sauce for the fresh fig and the white corn was a palate cleanser at the end. This one was a bit too traditional tasting for me.
Fig and zucchini flower tempura ($160)
Deep-fried food can be done elegantly, and Kishoku certainly showcased that with this dish. The zucchini flower was very fresh and sweet and the head was stuffed with Saikyo Miso–infused Cheddar cheese. I’ll let you imagine how wonderful this tasted once it was all battered and fried. The same goes for the deep-fried Osaka fig wrapped in 30-month-aged prosciutto.
Fig and crab monaka ($220)
Kishoku has a reputation for using exceptionally fresh ingredients, and the food lives up to the hype. This monaka, a rice-flour-based pastry shell, is a good example of fresh ingredients maximising the potential of a dish. Hairy crab was mixed with slow-cooked dried Osaka figs. The mixture was then topped with ripe chunks of avocado and fresh figs and some salmon roe. It was creamy, crunchy, decadent perfection. Run, don’t walk, to try this. It was one of the best things I’ve eaten this year.
Fig yokan ($58)
Another twist on a classic, yokan is usually created with red bean paste, but in this case, it featured a slow-cooked dried Osaka fig. This was a nice, light way to end the meal, though the traditional jelly may not be to everyone’s taste.
There are four ways to enjoy the omakase:
Ki ($950): 4 chef‘s entrées, 3 pieces of sushi
Sho ($1,350): 13 pieces of sushi
Ku ($1,550): 4 types of sashimi, 1 entrée, 8 pieces of sushi
Kishoku ($1,850): 7 types of sashimi, 1 entrée, 5 pieces of sushi
I also want to mention how fantastic Kishoku’s sushi is. The quality of the fish is exceptional. It’s hard to choose just three favourites, but highlights for me include the botan ebi (shrimp) with shiso leaf and flamed shrimp roe, the toro with shiso leaf and sesame and the Hokkaido ma fun uni (sea urchin) with Hokkaido white uni.
And Kishoku‘s most famous dish – the seaweed wrap with chutoro (medium fatty tuna) and otoro (very fatty tuna), with a sprinkling of salt and a shiso leaf – was magic. It was so indulgently fatty, I had to close my eyes for a few seconds and savour it; this made me look a bit odd, and someone actually asked me if I was okay!
Kishoku is a wonderful choice for omakase. It’s great to see the chefs experimenting with seasonal menus, and the summer figs menu is done particularly well. Though some of the dishes are quite traditional and may not be to everyone’s palate, there are many options, so there should be something (many things!) that will satisfy even the most discerning of diners.
5/F, ZING!, 38 Yiu Wa Street, Causeway Bay, 2893 0333
This post also appears on www.jenniexplores.com
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.