Newly opened Djapa in Wan Chai – artistic Japanese-Brazilian fusion

Murakami on the walls, art on the plate – Lee Tung Avenue restaurant has impressive interior and cutely presented, inventive dishes, washed down with beautiful, creative cocktails

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 20 October, 2016, 11:49am
UPDATED : Thursday, 20 October, 2016, 11:49am

A slew of restaurants has opened along Lee Tung Avenue, the newish development that replaced Wedding Card street in Wan Chai. One of the latest additions is Japanese-Brazilian fusion Djapa.

The interior is very impressive – the owners are art collectors keen on sharing part of their collection on the upstairs level. There are two Takashi Murakami pieces on the walls, along with one by his former protégé Mr, as well as a Yayoi Kusama tiled pumpkin sculpture. Two Brazilian artists have decorated the walls with graffiti, lending a colourful atmosphere.

The menu requires a bit of deciphering and the friendly staff are able to explain what everything is.

The turbot yuzu (HK$98) was a refreshing ceviche, although it hadn’t been marinated long enough. It was served with cubes of nagaimo (Chinese mountain yam), grapes and mini shiso leaves.

In the dish of tropical clams (HK$88), the plump, briny clam meat was removed from the shell, cooked, mixed with tomato, avocado and corn salsa then piled back into the half shell.

Suntanned crabs (HK$128) had a cute presentation: three deep-fried mini Japanese crabs (called tamagogani) were placed on a “beach” with cassava flour “sand”, then decorated with salmon roe and a cocktail umbrella.

For mains, we tried a selection of grilled beef from Japan – three pieces per skewer – Kagoshima chuck roll A4 (HK$68), Ohmi striploin A5 (HK$148) and Kobe rib-eye (HK$48). They were served with three sauces – Mexican with dried chilli, passion fruit curry, and tamarind miso. The Kagoshima chuck roll A4 was the least fatty, while the Ohmi striploin A5 was quite oily. We also had the sweetbread (HK$38), but it didn’t have a pronounced flavour. Of all the sauces, we preferred the Mexican dried chilli the best, as the others were on the sweet side.

For dessert, the cinnamon maca (apples cooked with cinnamon and syrup, HK$38) sounded tempting. Unfortunately, the apple wedges were cold and not cooked through. The portion was large enough for two or more to share.

The cocktails here are creative and some were beautifully presented. When we visited less than a week after it opened, we were offered complimentary champagne with dessert.

Djapa, shops G18-20 and F18A, Lee Tung Avenue, 200 Queen’s Road East, Wan Chai, tel: 2617 2900

Other places in Lee Tung Avenue we’ve written about recently

Bar review: La Bo La in Wan Chai – Vietnamese tapas bar has nice vibe but drinks need work Restaurant review: Hay! in Wan Chai – low-cost Shanghai fare

Restaurant review: Hei House, Wan Chai – unsatisfying Malaysian fusion fare

Bar review: Ophelia in Wan Chai – heavy on the concept, light on the flavours