Restaurant review: Dining at Murasaki – omakase experience well outside the ordinary
It’s not often that you find a vegetarian omakase menu, and this one has some delicious dishes, including a terrific warm salad, mashed potato rocks and two toothsome desserts
Dining at Murasaki, in Hong Kong’s Causeway Bay shopping district, offers something different to the usual omakase experience: an option for vegetarians. This sounded too intriguing to pass up, so I brought along a friend to the review, who asked anxiously if she was going to be forced to go meatless for the evening. She had the murasaki omakase (HK$1,288 plus 10 per cent), while I ordered the yasai omakase (HK$1,088 plus 10 per cent).
Fortunately, I had mentioned to the friendly waiter that I do, normally, eat meat, and he served us a surprise before the omakase meal started; because we visited at the tail end of the Lunar New Year, we received a complimentary course of yu sheng (raw fish salad, eaten to bring wealth in the new year). Made with slices of yellowtail, and ingredients that included carrots, daikon and fried taro chips, it was a delicious and light appetiser.
The first vegetarian omakase course showed us that what we read on the menu isn’t necessarily going to take the form we expect it to be. “Matsutake mushroom with bread, matcha powder and miso” came as two small, clear half-spheres holding warm matsutake broth, and a larger one that was more jellied and filled with chunks of matsutake.
The “warm salad” was one of the best salads I’ve tasted. It was beautiful, with more than 20 types of colourful vegetables from Kyoto, studded with small pieces of fig, with a light dressing and dots of balsamic pearls. Another course, maitake consomme, was clear and subtle.
“Rocks” – mashed potatoes flavoured separately with Brie, Comté and blue cheese, then shaped to look like rocks (although they actually resembled black truffles), dressed with fried burdock and seaweed – was more substantial than most of the other dishes.
I didn’t care for the “truffle” dish; although the yuba (fresh bean curd sheets) was delicate, the soy milk sauce was unappealing.
The two desserts were delicious. “Popping candy”, with fruit pearls, pear brandy jelly and peach crushed ice, was refreshing and light.
Soy milk panna cotta was smooth, and the accompanying balsamic crushed ice was milder than expected and perked up the flavour of the dessert.
Dining at Murasaki, Shop 8, UG/F, Sino Plaza, 255 Gloucester Road, Causeway Bay, tel: 2817 8383. HK$1,088 or HK$1,288 (depending on the omakase meal), without drinks or the service charge. It also offers à la carte options, primarily teppanyaki dishes