Food review: Hokahoka in Causeway Bay
9/F Kyoto Plaza, 491-499 Lockhart Road, Causeway Bay
Tel: 2892 8899
Open: noon-3pm, 6pm-midnight
Price: HK$340 without drinks or the service charge
Ambience: sake casks are the first thing you see when the lift doors open. The place is casual, as befits an izakaya (Japanese drinking establishment), but the lighting isn't as dim as in some of these places.
Pros: as with most izakaya, the menu lists lots of dishes that are meant to go with alcohol, and which use different cooking methods, such as kushiyaki (grilled skewers), fried items, salads, some sushi/sashimi, and a home-style selection.
Cons: service was friendly enough, but we had to remind staff about a couple of dishes. The spring onion in the grilled chicken skewer (HK$35) was tough. The grilled rice ball (HK$25) should have been cooked longer so it could develop more of a crust, but the miso soup was delicious.
Recommended dishes: the tomato salad (HK$45) didn't look like much but the tomatoes were sweet and the garlicky dressing refreshing. The uni hand roll (HK$100) was generous with the small tongues of sea urchin, although a little too heavy-handed with the wasabi. Mixed tempura (HK$90) had a light batter, and was a hearty portion. Deep-fried chicken soft bones (HK$40) can be difficult to make because the small, tough pieces of cartilage need to be cooked long enough so they're tender, but still retain some bite, and the one here hit the right balance. Grilled cod roe (HK$80) was nice and moist, and the pieces were served with sliced cucumber, which refreshed the palate. The stewed potato and beef (HK$60) was less sweet than other versions we've tasted, but the combination of soft pieces of potato, tender sliced meat and small bundles of konnyaku noodles made it a hearty, comforting dish.
What else? Another branch of Hokahoka can be found in Tsim Sha Tsui (tel: 2366 1784).