Newly opened Okra Hong Kong in Sheung Wan – tempting Japanese

Hong Kong outlet incorporates non-Asian ingredients into mouth-watering dishes

PUBLISHED : Monday, 22 February, 2016, 12:10pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 27 March, 2016, 11:52pm

Okra Hong Kong opened quietly a few weeks ago and the understated restaurant along Queen’s Road West is fast becoming popular. Okra serves dishes that are very Japanese but incorporate ingredients that are not Asian.

The okra theme is present in the sliding door that looks like a cross-section of the vegetable. The interior looks like a straightforward bar where diners can sit and watch the chefs prepare mouth-watering dishes.

The izakaya has a one-page menu harking back to vinyl or cassettes, with an “A-side” and “B-side”. The former are cold dishes, mostly appetisers, while the latter are larger portions and hot dishes.

Many sounded tempting which made it hard to decide what to order. In the end we chose three from the A-side. The carabinero prawn soup (HK$78) featured one prawn sliced lengthwise and raw. The dashi was poured on top so the pieces were gently poached. The dashi was made with smoked Buddha’s hand (aka fingered citron), and was a little weak in flavour, but we enjoyed the delicate sweetness of the prawn.

Next came a dish called tuna tasting (HK$268) featuring sashimi of five different parts of the tuna, including toro and otoro, the cheek, and the meat inside the head. It came with dashi jelly and different salts – soy, charcoal and bamboo, and lime and lemon.

The cuts here were very interesting, from the smooth and fatty otoro, to the chewy chunks of the cheek and head meat. Sticks of daikon were served to cleanse the palate.

We also enjoyed the uni and smoked anchovies (HK$160) that featured fresh sea urchin on top of flavourful anchovies that were the highlight of the dish, garnished with citrony, lightly salted Buddha’s hand fruit, tofu skin and red shiso leaves.

A signature dish is the egg and XO (HK$98): two sunny side up eggs dressed with a whopping spoonful of slightly spicy home-made XO sauce along with ponzu and chunks of water chestnut. We enjoyed this dish for its creativity, and the water chestnuts added a refreshing crunch and relief from the spiciness.

However, the heat hadn’t subsided when the roasted beef love handle (HK$188) arrived, making it hard to appreciate the subtle flavours. The tender and fatty beef was roasted to medium-rare, sliced thinly and garnished with burnt olive oil soy sauce and accompanied by super sour pickled daikon.

We’re eager to find another opportunity to come back and try other dishes on the menu that changes according to the availability of ingredients.

Okra Hong Kong, 110 Queen’s Road West, Sheung Wan, tel: 2806 1038.