FOOD & WINE

Restaurant review: Ore-no Kappou by Ginza Okamoto - raw beats the cooked

The sushi and sashimi hit the spot, but the hot dishes were not so stellar

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 20 May, 2015, 10:53pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 07 February, 2017, 12:00pm

With its catchphrase "Michelin for the masses", the Ore-no chain from Japan says it serves Michelin-quality food at affordable prices. They do this, in part, by having customers stand (to get more people into the space) and using a time limit on their stay.

Ore-no Kappou by Ginza Okamoto — the chain's branch in Hong Kong — has seats (thank goodness), and although there were signs stating we had a two-hour time limit, that wasn't a problem. Our meal wasn't Michelin-quality — and the prices weren't exactly "for the masses" — but we liked much of what we tried.

The raw dishes were the best part of the meal. The sashimi moriawase (HK$480 for the smaller portion) was delicious and generous: three slices each of top-quality otoro, hirame, aji and torigai, plus a mound of small but smooth and rich uni. The saba sushi (HK$60) was slices of marinated mackerel over pressed, nicely vinegared rice.

A dish of grilled abalone, sea urchin, scallops and sea mustard (HK$300) was recommended by our waitress. Wrapped in hosho paper, the ingredients didn't taste of the grill, but were fresh and briny, and we liked the abalone. The grilled French quail with shichimi and sansho pepper sauce (HK$120) was meaty and moist, but the grilled Kyoto bamboo shoots (HK$180), while tender, needed more char to intensify the flavour.

The shrimp and vegetable kakiage (HK$80) was awful: four large, stodgy balls that were far too heavy, which was the same complaint we had about the hot udon noodles with spicy crab miso soup (HK$80). The noodles were too soft, and the soup was so thick it was almost a gravy.

Service could be improved: the staff weren't able to answer some of our questions (even basic ones, like what fish was on the sashimi platter), although they did pace the meal well.

Ore-no Kappou by Ginza Okamoto, 6/F California Tower, 32 D'Aguilar Street, Lan Kwai Fong, tel: 2328 3302. About HK$700 without drinks or the service charge