Posts tagged “Wagyu

Nobu Hong Kong review: all skirt, no knickers

Review:

I’ve eaten at Nobu in London way back in 2003 when it was the hottest ticket in town, and frankly don’t remember much about the food – notwithstanding the lychee martinis my friend and I were piling down, but we were so busy gossiping about our latest TV-land exploits (or more importantly the exploits of those we’d been working with) that the food completely passed me by. I take this as a sign that it was rather pleasant but not jaw-dropping, and hence haven’t been back since.

photo from Intercon website

photo from Intercon website

We thought we’d give it a go here as we wanted to compare and contrast against the other Japanese restaurants we like. Some people will cry foul now because Nobu is apparently a fusion restaurant. But ultimately it relies on its Japanese-ness to bring the crowds in.

The upshot is that I won’t be going back to this edition of Nobu either.

We went for a special occasion and paid more to book a harbour-view table only to arrive and discover that the harbour-view is limited to the person who isn’t sitting with their back to it. (If you are in a bigger group they do have round tables that are in another part of the restaurant by some very large windows, or if you are a couple make sure you ask for one of the corner tables as then you can sit around the table and both people can look out the window).  Anyway, not a good start…

Food: We had a set menu of 7-8 courses and apart from the wagyu beef (which at the end of the day is their signature dish), there was nothing of note. The marker of quality of Japanese restaurants – the fish – wasn’t any better quality or fresher than any number of other good restaurants in Hong Kong, which was disappointing because Nobu positions itself as something above and beyond, which in our experience, it wasn’t.

Drinks: Good wine and sake list, nice selection of beers, everything you expect.

Ambience: A lot of hype was built around the design of this restaurant, and it is cool. It doesn’t blow me away, but has it’s little quirks and features that makes it an interesting place to look at, but you really know that you are in a hotel restaurant. Also, they do pack you in and there isn’t a lot of room between tables in the section where we sat.

Service: The service was efficient and subtle. What you’d expect in a 5* hotel (although nothing in my opinion surpasses that of the Mandarin Oriental in this town).

Price: The set menu was $2888 per head, and we spent another $500 on 2 carafe’s of sake and a 1/2l bottle of water as they refused to fill our glasses from the tap.

Location: Intercontinental Hotel, 18 Sailsbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong. Tel: 852 2721 1211

I came away thinking that is was an expensive, brand name restaurant that didn’t live up to the hype. I’d go to Kiyotaki or Jun over Nobu every day of the week unless I was desperate for Wagyu beef, and then I think I’d look for somewhere new first before going back here (in fact I’d probably go across the corridor to The Steak House…).

Bo Innovation – unique in Hong Kong

Review

Ah – a special occasion at last, and so to Bo Innovation.

I’d seen this restaurant when it was in Central near the FCC, but the one time I went to go I picked the day after the damn place had shut before moving to Wanchai behind The Pawn.

Then, I saw it on Bourdain and knew I had to go – I hadn’t realised that it was all this molecular stuff that Demon Chef was up to, and for those who put any store by the Michelin guide in HK, this restaurant thoroughly deseves it’s rating. It’s difficult to really pigeon-hole this restaurant.  It’s not Chinese, but I wouldn’t class it as fusion either. It’s just really unusual and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Bo Innovation

Sat at the chef’s table and had the tasting menu, the stand-outs for me were:

Uni with dan dan noodles.  Really, really good, and the uni was super fresh.

Toro with foie gras powder and freeze dried raspberry – this really is a piece de resistance the toro was just melt in your mouth stuff, and then the foie gras powder added another rich rounded taste, coupled with the lovely berry tartness from the raspberry.  Don’t knock it til you try it.  Sublime.

Peat Shoot Cappucino with “har mi” crouton.  Just really sweet and lovely

causticcandy_bo_innovation

Molecular xiao long bao and lap mei fan.  The xiao long bao was so clever.  A little bubble of stock that tasted just like the dim sum should.

Cod with black bean, honey and pickled bak choy: The quality of the cod was fantastic.  The best black cod I’ve ever had (BH agreed)

Duck char siu, with foie gras.  Again super quality ingredients, amazingly tasty.

Wagyu fat choi hotpot:  this was wagyu beef cheek, done like a true french pot au feu, breathtakingly simple with the clearest of stock, the sweetest of veg beautifully al dente and the fat in the cheek had turned to jelly which made it positively orgasmic.  Truly a masterpiece.

causticcandy_bo_innovation1

Dessert – had 3 or four little deserts  – all fun/molecular and tiny.

So basically 8 out of the 10 courses were stella, and the other couple were still very good.

We washed all this down with a bottle of pink Ruinart champagne which surprisingly worked really well with the entire menu, give it a go.

Price: Dinner was $1080 each for the menu so with champagne, service and tip I spent exactly $4000.  Worth every penny, would go once a week if I had the cash.

Ambience: fantastic experience sitting chatting to Demon Chef and his workers, great space with high roof and an outside terrace.  Upbeat vibe because the kitchen is open and people are excited about the food.

Location: 2F, J Residence, 60 Johnston Road, Wanchai (same building as The Pawn and Ovo Lounge, but entrance round the corner). Website

If you are a foodie you have to go to this restaurant – no other home grown Hongkee chef is doing this in the territory.