Restaurant review: Okra Hong Kong, Sai Ying Pun – casual Japanese dining with great music
Backstreet izakaya with limited menu and uncomfortable seating does serve some stand-out dishes
Cuisine: modern Japanese izakaya
Price: about HK$335 without drinks or the service charge.
Ambience: it was quiet when we visited on a weeknight and there were empty seats, even at the counter in front of the open kitchen.
Pros: they play a great, eclectic selection of music. The menu, divided into small plates and large plates (called, respectively, A Side and B Side) is short, with 14 dishes plus a few specials.
Cons: two words – backless barstools. They’re so uncomfortable and don’t invite lingering over a meal – which may be the point. Chicken-fried cobia with crystal hot sauce and daikon (HK$258) had great flavour but we thought the meaty, dense fish overcooked and dry. While the roasted unagi (freshwater eel, described on the menu as being served over “crispy sushi rice”, HK$168) was fatty and rich, it would have been better hotter, and the rice wasn’t crisp.
Recommended dishes: we liked the small dish of smoked and salted anchovies with sea urchin, salted Buddha’s hand, tofu skin and shiso (HK$148), which had a great mix of flavours and textures, as well as the lighter, tangier starter of wild Sicilian seaweed salad with raw kibinago fish with garlic oil and ponzu vinegar (HK$128). Our favourite dish was the fried Brussels sprouts with house-made XO sauce (HK$58) which, charred until they shrivelled, wouldn’t win awards in the looks department, but they had an intense flavour with an unexpected but delicious sweet note provided by shochu-infused raisins. It went very well with our second favourite dish of succulent quail that had been marinated and deep fried (HK$108).
What else? Okra might be hard to find if it’s your first visit: it’s on a pedestrian-only slope on Queen’s Road West.
Okra Hong Kong, 110 Queen’s Road West, Sai Ying Pun, tel: 2806 1038
Open: Monday to Saturday, 6pm-midnight
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