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Hong Kong restaurant reviews

Newly opened Tempura Taki in Central – artful tempura omakase

The service is attentive, the dishes are beautiful and delicious to eat, this fine-dining restaurant stands out from its casual and inexpensive neighbours

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 16 August, 2017, 10:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 16 August, 2017, 10:00am

Located in a tower filled with casual and inexpensive restaurants, Tempura Taki seems a little out of place with its fine-dining tempura omakase menu.

When we visited one weekday evening, we were the only diners there for most of the meal until another couple showed up. As a result we received very attentive service throughout our dinner while sitting at the bar and watching executive chef Eric Chan cooking the tempura.

There are three choices for the omakase menu: six courses for HK$880, eight for HK$1,180 and 10 for HK$1,480, which includes Miyazaki A5 wagyu beef.

The artfully presented appetiser course had a few components: an egg yolk sauce on top of a fresh slice of salmon and crunchy vinegar-marinated lotus root, yuba (fresh tofu skin) topped with creamy uni, and cream cheese.

Next came a bowl of clear broth with a blanched cherry tomato in it, along with a sheet of nori and a shiso leaf. The clean taste of the broth prepared our palates for the main event – the tempura.

Instead of a bowl of tempura sauce mixed with turnip purée to dip our tempura in, we were given a trio of seasonings, including sea salt and a lemony sauce, while a bowl of turnip purée was constantly refilled as we ate as much as we wanted to counteract the heat of the deep-fried items.

We were given 10 tempura items, including prawn with the head prepared separately, delicious, tender mackerel,and crab that was sadly unspectacular. The abalone tempura seemed excessive, but the eel garnished with spring onion was stellar, with smooth meat and a delicate taste that wasn’t overwhelmed by being deep fried.

We were served another crab tempura, and this time it was a winner, as it was topped with fresh (unfried) uni. Chef Chan, previously of Inagiku, believes it is sacrilege to make uni tempura, and we wished he had the same strong opinion for the chopped clams and large Japanese lily bulb, whose natural tastes were overwhelmed.

For the last savoury course, diners could choose between fried rice or noodles and we tried one of each. The tempura rice was flavourful, the cold noodles, with a large dose of grated radish and spring onions, were refreshing.

Tempura Taki, 8/F, The Loop, 33 Wellington Street, Central, tel: 2881 0033

While you’re in the area:

Restaurant review: Hollywood 49 in Central – fine French fare featuring delicious frog legs

Restaurant review: Happy Paradise, SoHo - May Chow’s short menu of clever takes on classic Chinese dishes

The next hip Lan Kwai Fong hangout – first impressions of Employees Only, a New York import