When the weather is this hot, sushi is just the ticket. The combination of raw fish and vinegared rice will whet any appetite jaded by the heat.
In the Japanese spirit of shokunin (artisan), Sen-Ryo has been bringing out annual iterations of its Shokunin sushi featuring the best seasonal ingredients since 2018.
This year, it has launched a six-course menu designed by the shokunins of the specific restaurants with regards to the catch of the day. The Shokunin Sushi and Shokunin Special series are available in two phases at all the chain’s restaurants. The first phase will end on September 7 and the second phase will be available between September 8 and October 3.
At a recent tasting of the Shokunin Special six-course menu (HK$488) with a three-sake pairing (HK$168), the meal began with chef-recommended appetizers – wasabi baby scallops, mentaiko cuttlefish and sazae with ponzu sauce in our case. This was followed by a sashimi platter that we were encouraged to taste from left to right. Both dishes were paired with Tatenokawa 33 percent junmai daiginjo, the sweetest of the three sakes.
Then came the Shokunin Sushi, paired with the fragrant Yamamoto Pure Black junmai ginjo. Again, we worked our way from left to right, starting with the sea bream and raw anglerfish liver and ending with a rich seared wagyu and bafun sea urchin topped with salmon roe.
The Shokunin Sushi a-la-carte menu for the first phase also includes horse mackerel roll. Second phase selections include bafun sea urchin with slow-cooked lobster and seared extra jumbo scallop.
Transitioning from raw to cooked dishes, the sake pairing once again changed to the rich Izumibashi Black Tombo Kimoto junmai, which also worked great with the grilled dishes. For our cooked dish, we had a beef sukiyaki and clam soup. The last course was tofu ice cream in mochi crisp, bringing the dinner to a satisfying end.
New restaurant Yokai in Central is known for its charcoal-grilled chicken skewers. But diners are also raving about its Michelin-grade bluefin tuna belly meal sets. That’s because the fish for the sashimi rice bowls (from HK$338) and sushi (HK$298 for a set of three kinds of tuna) is from Japan’s top tuna merchant, Yamayuki. Unmatched in freshness, the tuna has a perfect fat ratio.
And the sets are designed by chefs from its sister restaurant, three-Michelin-star Sushi Saito.
“Wild-caught fish, especially good quality ones, are few and far in between nowadays, but the number of Japanese restaurants are growing around the world. Fish brokers will give the premium catches only to restaurants they know well, meaning only top outlets get the top fish, and new restaurants must struggle to fight for the good ingredients,” said chef Toshihide Terado. “Since opening Sushi Saito, we’ve established good relations with Japanese suppliers, that’s how we are still the top priority for premium tuna merchant Yamayuki.”
The two restaurants above also do other Japanese dishes but if you’re a true sushi purist, then the new Sushi Mamoru will appeal to you instead. Chef Hirofumi Chiba brings his third-generation mastery of traditional edomae sushi to the heart of Wan Chai. Mamoru (protect) represents Chiba’s commitment to preserve and safeguard centuries-old sushi traditions.
A self-proclaimed “fish geek,” Chiba’s expertise is the result of time spent at various fish markets in Japan. He prefers line-caught fish as the method is more selective and targeted than net fishing.
He sources local vegetables from farms owned by Leading Nation in the New Territories, and works closely with local fishermen in Hong Kong to get the freshest produce.
At Sushi Mamoru, Chiba serves up a seasonal omakase, balancing tradition and innovation. He uses hand-blended aged Hokkaido rice and wasabi sourced directly from famed farmer Keiichi Tashiro in Shizuoka. The Takumi Omakase of over 20 dishes is available for dinner while the shorter Kiwami Omakase is for lunch.
Prices depend on the ingredients chosen but the estimated spending is HK$3,000 for dinner and HK$1,300 for lunch.