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Hong Kong restaurant reviews

Restaurant review: Koko, Central – winning Japanese cuisine and a lively ambience

Indifferent first impressions were forgotten when the dishes arrived; almost everything we tasted from the very short menu was good

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 07 April, 2016, 6:01pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 07 April, 2016, 6:00pm

We were sceptical about Koko, because there was a lot of hype about how it was opened by Hidetoshi Nakata, a famous footballer-turned-sake ambassador in collaboration with the Kee Club. But a charming and helpful manager, the lively ambience and good food won us over.

Our first impression was not good – we were seated in a very quiet part of the restaurant, away from the action, and where we would have just stared at the walls and each other, rather than being able to watch anything (or anybody) else. Fortunately they found us seats in the main room.

The menu is very short – which we like (there’s a better chance at getting the good dishes). We liked almost everything we ordered, and even one dish we didn’t.

The rock shrimp tempura (HK$128) was a healthy portion, and although the batter was a bit thick, it stayed crunchy even when it cooled. Pork and scallop gyoza (HK$98) were light and juicy.

Red mullet escabeche (HK$168) was delicious – the fish had been topped with shredded ginger, carrot and a fried garlic chip, with a delicate ponzu sauce.

We had to ask twice about our order of lamb chops (HK$228). It was worth the wait – the meat was a juicy medium-rare (although they didn’t ask how we wanted it cooked) and flavoured with hatcho miso and black garlic, with shiso sprouts adding even more taste.

We were served the wrong dessert, and when we pointed it out, the manager apologised and told us to enjoy it gratis while the kitchen prepared the correct one.
We were glad because the unordered dessert – a gooey, rich dark chocolate green tea fondant with vanilla ice cream (HK$98) – was much better than the bitter and too-hard green tea ice cream with mochi and red bean paste.

The tableware was lovely, and when I told the manager how much I liked the sake flasks and implements, he gave me the information on the brand and where to order it. susan.jung@scmp.com

 

Koko, 5/F Carfield Building,
77 Wyndham Street, Central,


tel: 2109 1777

About HK$350 without drinks

or the service charge.