Restaurant review: Sake Bar Ginn

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 07 February, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 07 February, 2013, 9:46am

Shop 4C, Ho Lee Commercial Building, 38 D'Aguilar Street, Lan Kwai Fong, Central

Tel: 2536 4355

Open: Monday-Wednesday 5.30pm-1am (kitchen closes at midnight), Thursday-Saturday 5.30pm-2am (kitchen closes at 1am)

Cuisine: Japanese

Price: HK$250, not including drinks or the service charge.

Ambience: it's a relief to enter this unassuming fourth-floor bar, which has such a laid-back groove it makes you forget you're in Lan Kwai Fong.

Pros: if you're a sake fan, you will appreciate the 100-plus varieties offered by the bar's founder, Ayuchi Momose, a sake sommelier and instructor. The food menu features about 30 izakaya-style creations that are good to share and stoke up a thirst. The jolly chef has an obvious pride in his food.

Cons: the only dish we didn't finish was the grilled rib-eye with Japanese citrus (HK$85), which was tough. Prices are similar for many of the dishes but sizes vary so you may end up hungry if you don't order the more substantial items.

Recommended dishes: when we ordered the popular sake-stewed pork belly (HK$55) at about 7pm we were warned that we wouldn't receive it until 8.30pm. Ideally, the cook explained, the meat is stewed for two days, so it is luxury in a mouthful. Ours, which had no discernible taste of sake, was cooked in just eight hours because he had run out of pork the night before. Still, it was juicy and a memorable indulgence. The mentaiko (HK$60) was extravagant in a different way. Salty and spicy, with a texture that beat other versions of cod roe we've had, it was a delicate, delicious thirst enhancer. More robust was the saba misoni (HK$70), an intensely flavoured dish of mackerel simmered in miso that is Japanese comfort food in a bowl.

What else? Four sake sets are available, each affording three varieties of sake from a single brewery: the Shichida set (HK$126) includes a junmai daiginjo (the highest grade of the three), a junmai ginjo and a junmai. Charmaine Chan