Restaruant review: Xenri D'Zen, Causeway Bay
3/F Jardine Centre, 50 Jardine's Bazaar, Causeway Bay
Tel: 3523 1955
Open: noon-2.30pm (last order), 6pm-10.30pm (last order)
Cuisine: "new kaiseki"
Price: at dinner there's a choice of a HK$900 set and HK$1,200 set, both with nine courses.
Ambience: we were the only diners in the restaurant.
Pros: the servers were attentive, but watched us discreetly from a distance. My guest ordered the HK$900 set and I had the HK$1,200 set, and although the main dishes were listed out of sync on the menu, they switched it around and served us that course at the same time.
Cons: on the appetiser course, I didn't particularly care for the mullet roe with radish or the -196 degree Celsius Shutou cream cheese, although the Hakata black bean curd was smooth and cool. The salt-grilled Aomori thornyhead fish on my menu and the herb-baked Japanese grouper in puff pastry that my guest had were disappointing. The former was slightly dull in flavour, while in the latter, the puff pastry was undercooked and heavy. The dry codfish pumpkin rice roll was stodgy.
Recommended dishes: the melon manju Nagasaki sea eel in a perfectly clear consomme was subtle and delicious. The three types of sashimi included
aji (Spanish mackerel) and ark shell clam; my set had thick sweet slices of
akami (regular tuna) topped with gold leaf and my guest's had equally thick slices of richer-tasting toro tuna. The Hokkaido king crab tempura came as large, juicy chunks. My guest's main was Australian M9 wagyu, while mine was A5 Kagoshima Japanese wagyu. Small plates of raw beef with pumpkin, shishito pepper and eggplant were presented, along with hot stone grills for a DIY tabletop barbecue that let us compare the meats. For dessert, the "D'Zen's secret" turned out to be liquid nitrogen frozen-to-order blackberry ice cream with strawberry sauce and large, sweet raspberries.
What else? Xenri D'Zen is the sister restaurant of Xenri No Tsuki on the sixth floor of the same building.