Fisherman's Cuisine Hamayaki Taisho
8 King Street, Tai Hang
Tel: 2895 5000
Open: Monday-Friday 6pm-10.45pm; Saturday and Sunday noon-3pm, 5pm-10.45pm
Cuisine: Japanese tabletop barbecue
Price: about HK$350 without drinks and the service charge.
Ambience: very casual. Diners sit on wooden backless stools at square tables in the small, open-front restaurant. Each table has a gas grill on which the servers cook many of the orders.
Pros: the shellfish dishes were very fresh.
Cons: as with yakitori and kushiyaki, the food here is meant to go with alcohol (although we saw very few people drinking it). So it's seasoned accordingly. Some of the food was very salty for those of us only drinking tea. Ordering can be confusing because it's not clear about the size of each dish: some will feed only one person, while others will suffice for several. The live turban shell (HK$68 each), barbecued in the shell, was unpleasantly bitter, while the dried sardines (HK$38 for four) were too salty and intense on their own and probably should be eaten with rice. Atka mackerel (HK$92 for a large half) had the rich fattiness we expected from the fish, but its very soft texture became unpleasant after a few bites.
Recommended dishes: surf clam (HK$84 each), cooked in the shell on the grill, needed only a little soy sauce to bring out the sweetness of the flesh. The tuna cheek (HK$84) consisted of rich, tender and succulent chunks of dark-fleshed fish. Whelks (HK$45 for five pieces) had a pleasantly bouncy texture, as did the deep-fried chicken soft bones (HK$38). Our favourite dish was the crab roe (HK$72), cooked in its shell with an egg yolk, which was so rich and delicious we were tempted to order another portion. Tomato salad (HK$38) seemed plain at first - the tomatoes were juicy but not as sweet as many we've tasted - but did a good job of balancing the saltiness of the other dishes. Shellfish and spiral shell rice (HK$88) was a simple and pleasantly plain ending to the meal.
What else? Almost the entire menu is seafood, so don't come here if you're in the mood for meat.