Restaurant review: La Bombance in Causeway Bay – superb kaiseki
Beautifully composed and balanced dishes make this delicious tasting menu good value. The only thing missing was oil on the squeaky door
If you visit La Bombance anytime soon, you won’t be tasting any of the dishes described in this review, because we were there just before they changed the menu, and by now they’re deep into matsutake season. The menu changes about once a month.
Even if you don’t eat the same dishes we did, I highly recommend you book a dinner there – the food is fantastic, and at HK$1,280 plus 10 per cent for the kaiseki tasting menu (the only one available at dinner), it’s a bargain, considering the quality. At that price, the place doesn’t have the ambience of the super high-end kaiseki restaurants you can experience in Japan, where diners sit in an antique-filled private room while gazing into the quiet garden while being served by a waitress clad in a beautiful kimono. At La Bombance, the experience is less serene – diners sit at tables (or in our case, side-by-side at a long counter) that looks out past the balcony onto the Hong Kong skyline. But the food and the tableware are lovely.
We enjoyed every one of the 12 dishes served. One of the highlights of the excellent meal was a composed plate of cold sesame tofu and deep fried kuruma shrimp with black beans and wasabi soy sauce, deep fried ginkgo nut croquette with yuzu pepper mayonnaise, grilled rice ball with foie gras, and fruit tomato with Kyoto pepper, jellyfish, sunflower seed, brasenia, wolfberries and ginger vinegar jelly. Some elements were light and refreshing, others heavier – but all were delicious.
The sashimi course was another beautifully composed plate consisting of hirame (flounder) with ponzu sauce, octopus and torched hokki clam, served with a beautiful bowl of house-made soy sauce and a brush so you can season the ingredients to taste. The brush also made it easy to add soy sauce to the sushi course served next, and which a chef prepared in front of us: chu toro (medium fatty tuna), kombu-flavoured whiting and a miniature, elegant donburi topped with chopped negi and tuna.
Cold Shimabara-shi somen with fresh sakura shrimp kakiage was light, delicate and so good we wanted more.
We also would have been happy with larger portions of two of the heavier dishes – the kabayaki-style grilled eel with sticky rice and sansho, which was intense and deeply flavoured, and the roasted wagyu sirloin with shio koji, served with deep-fried tofu, thinly sliced vegetables, Kyoto leek and matsutake mushroom sauce. This dish was absolutely beautiful: the thinly sliced beef – just warmed through – was wonderfully tender. The last savoury course of salmon roe and salmon kettle rice was fragrant and delicious; the salmon roe – mixed into the hot rice by our server – still maintained its delicate crunch.
Desserts of panna cotta with kyoho grape jelly and Okinawa black sugar sorbet, and warabi mochi with black honey and vanilla ice cream were just as good as the savoury dishes, and because they were so light, we didn’t feel stuffed. The desserts were served with bowls of freshly whisked matcha.
Service was a bit tentative at first, but became warmer throughout the meal.
The only bad thing about the whole meal was that the door leading out to the terrace let out a loud, terribly grating squeak every time it opened and closed – and this happened a lot as diners went outside to get a better look at the view.
La Bombance, 30/F V Point, 18 Tang Lung St, Causeway Bay, tel: 3188 3326. HK$1,280 without drinks or the service charge.