Weekend brunch is a quintessential Hong Kong pastime. For occasions when your stomach is craving something other than coffee and avo toast, Uoharu offers a tasty alternative at a reasonable price point.
Hailing from Tokyo, where it’s known for its seafood dishes, Uoharu’s Hong Kong location is the first outside Japan. Occupying the entire seventh floor of Central’s M88 building, Uoharu Hong Kong is contemporary and filled with light, featuring simple wooden furnishings and finishes. There’s even a miniature Japanese-style entrance that requires guests to duck their heads to enter – supposedly demarcating a space where everyone is equal in nature.
Newly introduced this summer, the weekend brunch offers an all-you-can eat selection of dishes together with a welcome drink (sparkling sake) and dessert for $298 per person, while free-flow beverage packages are $98 (non-alcoholic) and $168 (alcoholic – sake, plum wine, draught beer and whisky highballs).
We started brunch with the sashimi platter and deliciously tender beef short ribs, which are slow-cooked for 180 minutes at 60°C to preserve their inherent texture and flavour. These two dishes are served to all diners at the start of the brunch but are unfortunately not part of the all-you-can-eat selection (I could have eaten several plates of those ribs).
The all-you-can-eat selection, although not particularly extensive, is an adequate mix of izakaya classics and more unique offerings that showcase Uoharu’s culinary creativity and reputation for seafood dishes (the restaurant ships its seafood fresh daily from Toyosu Fish Market, working with a 200-year-old family-owned wholesaler).
If you’re looking for hearty, izakaya-style fare, or are nursing your Friday/Saturday night hangover, the deep- fried Awaodori chicken, yakisoba and uni and salmon roe macaroni gratin will not disappoint. The gratin was rich, creamy and cheesy, although if you’re an uni purist, you might find that its muted flavour is overpowered by and “lost” in all the cream and cheese.
I loved the deep-fried chicken. Crisp, well seasoned and tender without being too fatty or oily (the undoing of many other promising karaage out there), I had to resist the urge to order only this for the rest of the meal.
The grilled squid with squid liver is served with a side of squid liver sauce – an interesting take on a classic. I found the sauce a bit too intense for my liking (although I’ve never been a big fan of liver in general), but not to worry – each table holds a tray of five seasonings/sauces, so there’s no shortage of dipping alternatives.
Another unique Uoharu seafood offering is the bagna càuda, an assortment of raw seasonal Japanese vegetables served with an anchovy fondue. Like the liver sauce, the anchovy fondue was slightly too intense for my liking but not altogether unpleasant.
On the sweeter side, I tried the unique biscuits with cream cheese and maple syrup. This is an interesting fusion dish – a stack of crackers served with a specially blended dip made with French fresh cream, Hokkaido 3.6 milk, maple syrup and mixed cheese from Japan and Australia. The dip was smooth and creamy with just the right amount of sweetness and hint of maple syrup, a pleasing finish to a rich meal.
Uoharu’s weekend offering is a welcome addition to Hong Kong’s brunch scene – reasonably priced for a restaurant in Central, with some solid offerings for those who love both Japanese food and weekend brunch.
7/F, M88, 2–8 Wellington Street, Central, 2217 8880, book online
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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