OMG omakase - our three best meals at Hong Kong Japanese restaurants

Eating the chef’s selection menu at a top Japanese restaurant is a pricey pleasure, but usually worth the expense. These were our three favourite Hong Kong omakase moments of the past 12 months

PUBLISHED : Monday, 03 October, 2016, 1:02pm
UPDATED : Monday, 03 October, 2016, 1:24pm

Lovers of fine Japanese cuisine know the best way – often the only way – to sample a restaurant’s choicest fare is to put themselves in the hands of the head chef and order an omakase (chef’s selection) menu. We looked back at dinners we’ve sampled in Hong Kong in the past 12 months to come up with our three best omakase experiences. Here, in no particular order, are extracts from what we wrote about them.

Mikasaya Sushi Restaurant, Tsim Sha Tsui

We had been hearing good things about Mikasaya Sushi Restaurant, which until recently was known as Sushi Toku. Friends told us to try it as soon as possible, and when we sat down, the diners sitting next to us couldn’t praise it highly enough.

We chose one of the cheapest omakase options: HK$1,200 for sushi, soup and dessert.

The first piece of sushi – hirame (flounder) prepared us for the chef’s style, which is for firmer rice that’s seasoned with red vinegar.

Of the 16 sushi pieces we were served (including toro negi maki), several were stand-outs. If asked to choose my favourite piece, it was a toss-up between the kawahagi (filefish) with the fish’s liver and minced chives, and anago with sansho.

Click here for full review.

Sushi Tokami, Tsim Sha Tsui

I knew Sushi Tokami was popular when posts about it began showing up on my Facebook feed. Most of the reports were enthusiastic, with one friend saying it’s the best sushi meal he’s had in Hong Kong. They specialise in tuna.

The omakase meal (HK$2,000) is extensive, with seasonal snacks, sashimi, a special dish, seasonal or grilled dish, 12 pieces of sushi, soup and fruit.

Our favourite non-sushi courses were the aka ebi sashimi that had been lightly torched, giving the shrimp a smoky flavour; thick, succulent pieces of smoked kinmedai served with thin shavings of sweet raw onion and ginger flower; kawahagi (filefish) mixed with its liver and served on top of rice; and grilled tachiuo (scabbard fish) served with bamboo shoot and a fiddlehead fern.

Of the sushi dishes, we loved the hobo (sea robin); hotate (scallop) with sudachi and black salt; sumi ika (squid) and nodokuro (rosy seabass).

Click here for full review.

Sushi Gin, Causeway Bay

Having an omakase meal while sitting at the sushi counter at Sushi Gin is a lovely experience. If it’s a clear day, you’ll have a great view – but even better is being able to watch the chefs as they prepare your meal.

We ordered the Shou omakase menu (HK$1,680). It’s a long, filling meal (10 cold dishes, many with several elements; two hot ones; a palate cleanser; then the sushi) but much of what we ate was delicious, with beautiful presentation.

One of our favourite courses was the Hokkaido purple needle uni served in its shell with salmon roe and chopped tuna. We ate the uni on its own, then used nori sheets to wrap the tuna and salmon roe.

Of the hot dishes, we liked the tempura course, which was very different from the lightly battered shrimp and vegetables you normally get.

We were served nine pieces of sushi, and loved the iwashi with myoga, the Hokkaido uni, and lightly torched engawa.

Click here for full review.

As for the most expensive omakase meal we’ve had, it was at Sushi Yoshitake, now called Sushi Shikon. It was three years ago, cost HK$3,500, and was worth every cent. The Hong Kong restaurant has since earned a third Michelin star to match the three the original restaurant in Tokyo was awarded.