Innovative twists on traditional cuisine from around the region highlight modernising influence
29/F, 1 Peking Road
Tsim Sha Tsui
FARE Japanese and Italian.
AMBIENCE This is a large restaurant dominated by a huge picture window that offers a spectacular view over the harbour. Tables are arranged in tiers so that everyone gets to enjoy the view.
COST HK$2,000 for two including wine.
WHO TO BRING Visitors from out of town.
TURN-ONS The menu is divided into two sections, Italian and Japanese, but the former isn't as intriguing as the latter. Start with fillet of blowfish (yes the famously poisonous one), though this isn't sashimi. It's sun-dried and soft-grilled to perfection. But even this seems pedestrian when followed by cured sea bream wrapped around perfectly blanched asparagus and topped with black truffle and a sliver of mango. There is a large selection of sushi and sashimi. We decided to save ourselves for the cold Inaniwa udon noodles (pictured) with wagyu beef and the star of the show, simmered lobster with Imo Mochi potato. This is served in a miso broth with shiitake mushrooms and syungiko, which is a kind of chrysanthemum leaf. For desserts, try the banana and mango tempura, while the coconut ice cream with Japanese pepper is a must.
TURN-OFFS There are always a lot of people lining up in front of the windows to have their photos taken.
DRINKS A varied selection of international wines plus a smaller range of hot and cold sake.
2/F, InterContinental Hong Kong
18, Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon
AMBIENCE The restaurant is designed to fully utilise the stunning harbour view. The dining room, bar lounge, sushi bar and private dining room are inspired by chef Nobu Matsuhisa's innovative cooking and the imagery of the Japanese countryside where he grew up.
COST About HK$1,800 for two with drinks.
WHO TO BRING Your loved ones or client.
TURN-ONS For starters, we had US beef anticucho, black cod saikyo yaki, assorted sushi and sushi roll and king crab and scallop jalapeno dressing. The ingredients were fresh and procured locally. For mains we tried the slow-cooked salmon (pictured) and French spring chicken. The salmon steak was nicely cooked, with the inside layer remaining soft. The chicken was succulent and the Peruvian anticucho sauce reminded one of Nobu's South American connection.
TURN-OFFS You have to book a couple of days in advance as the restaurant is usually full. The music could be more ethnic/Japanese rather than Western classics.
DRINKS Great collection of Japanese sake and red and white wins, plus good collection of Japanese beers. Mukul Munish
1/F, Amber Lodge
23 Hollywood Rd
AMBIENCE A mix of modern meets traditional Indian decor, with warm lighting from chandeliers over sofa-style booths and colonial-style dining tables and chairs.
COST HK$800 for two, including a glass of wine.
WHO TO BRING Family, friends and business clients, while the private function area is perfect for parties.
TURN-ONS The new menu has twists, with starters such as broccoli cheese tikki with red chilli dip or kadak jhinga (pictured), which are prawn fritters in an Andhra crispy batter with red chilli dip. The large prawns are reminiscent of scampi without the grease, and go well with the chilli dip. You must try papad, a deep-fried crispy lentil pancake topped with spicy masala. There is a range of main courses and you can't go wrong with chicken tikka masala with basmati rice or grilled Nilgiri halibut on a bed of beans and sweet corn with a velvety Nilgiri sauce. Desserts of kulfi (Indian ice cream) and gulab jamun (cottage cheese immersed in syrup with rose water) are the way to end a delicious spicy adventure.
TURN-OFFS The small lift entrance.
DRINKS Selection of wine and spirits, beers, cocktails and mocktails. Tracey Furniss
Shop 002, Pacific Place
Level LG 1
88 Queensway Admiralty
FARE Contemporary Japanese robatayaki.
AMBIENCE Stylish, spacious yet relaxing.
WHO TO BRING Family, friends and colleagues.
COST A three-course dinner for two is about HK$1,700 with a glass of wine.
TURN-ONS The robata marinated dishes are cooked over a charcoal grill in an open kitchen, and the black cod robata is outstanding, as are the beef skewers with asparagus. Sweet potato robata, edamame and maitake mushrooms are a good starter before heading to the grilled dishes, of which we tried the pork belly as well as the hotate skewers with three large scallops (pictured). A Japanese meal is never complete without tempura, and the vegetable tempura did not disappoint. The dessert platter of chocolate cake, fresh fruits and ice cream, is a light and refreshing finale.
TURN-OFFS The table was sticky with a hint of the previous diner's rice. The waitress recommended giant crab legs and, although it's said to be a great dish, it was overpriced.
DRINKS A selection of wine and sake. Tracey Furniss
G/F, 18 Shelly Street
FARE Japanese robatayaki grill.
AMBIENCE A comfy mix of bar seating and casual dining. The dark interior is imbued with the glare of a large screen showing subtitled anime flicks.
WHO TO BRING Workmates, friends before SoHo bar hopping.
COST HK$1,000 for dinner for two with drinks.
TURN-ONS The dining area around the grill feels like a sunken pit, but this is elevated bar food. The grilled scallops, the size of a golf ball, came with a dollop of apple wasabi that was tart, sweet and married well with the meaty flesh of the oversized molluscs. My companion praised the chicken soft bone skewer (pictured), while the pork belly was a thin slice of well-proportioned meat to fat. The mackerel pike were as long as chopsticks but wider, the charred silvery skin giving way to sardine-like flesh that is salty and moreish.
TURN-OFFS The salmon, tuna and yellowtail sashimi platter was fresh but did not excite, while the vegetable tempura was too thick. Dessert was disappointing, with the white peach sorbet lacking a balance of tartness and sweet nectar, while the roasted rice ice cream was out of stock.
DRINKS Good selection of beers and sake, shochu, cocktails. Lana Lam
Levels 5 & 6, The Landmark
15 Queen's Road
FARE Contemporary Japanese.
AMBIENCE The two-level restaurant is reminiscent of a Japanese garden with an open-plan, natural stone kitchen.
COST Brunch for two for about HK$1,400 with drinks.
WHO TO BRING During the week, Zuma is mostly visited by business people from surrounding Central office buildings. At weekends it's mostly families as the restaurant has a great brunch buffet.
TURN-ONS The buffet-style sushi and sashimi section has dishes including dynamite spider roll (pictured) - consisting of soft crab meat, Zuma nigiri zushi, vegetarian sushi, sashimi omakashi and hamachi roll. For a main course we ordered the salmon fillet with teriyaki sauce and pickled cucumber, and spicy beef tenderloin with sesame, red chilli and sweet soy. The salmon was tender with teriyaki flavours, while the beef retained the tenderness and flavour. The dessert platter was a combination of tropical fruits and layered rhubarb, vanilla and raspberry snowball ice cream.
TURN-OFFS We were seated near the buffet table and felt a bit crowded.
DRINKS Selection of wines and sake. Mukul Munish
Se Sa Me
2/F, L Place, 139 Queens Road Central
FARE Japanese fusion.
AMBIENCE Spacious dining room with curved booths in the middle.
WHO TO BRING Corporate clients, fans of fancy sushi.
COST HK$1,500 for two with drinks.
TURN-ONS The chefs have infused a playfulness in the dishes, described as 'Japanasian'. The toro scallion maki roll are bite-sized morsels of creamy tuna hugged by well-seasoned rice, while the beef toban with pickled wasabi and shishito peppers is tenderloin at its best. My friend liked the large, white flakes and mahogany brown glaze of the black cod miso (pictured), and we both relished the chilled Tedorigawa sake.
TURN-OFFS The compressed watermelon is beautifully presented, but fails to satisfy, while the ocean garden salad with seaweed, dashi jelly and cucumber lacks the requisite crunch. The signature dessert is seven textures of sesame, which is not one to remember.
DRINKS An extensive list of wines, sake, shochu and cocktails. Lana Lam