Hong Kong restaurant reviews

Restaurant review: Kanidou Noda in Central – crab-focused Japanese omakase

An impressive array of crab dishes expertly prepared, with shabu shabu, sashimi, sushi and tempura make for a great set meal

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 12 January, 2017, 5:31pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 12 January, 2017, 5:31pm

The chefs at Kanidou Noda must have thought we were very greedy. I misread the menu, and thought that the Kanidou omakase (HK$1,500 plus 10 per cent) included a choice of Kagoshima eel or Kagoshima nozaki wagyu, with the beef costing an additional HK$200. We found out when we received the bill that both were optional, and each had a HK$200 supplement.

Next time I visit – and I’ve already made the booking – I’ll skip the optional course because although good, it paled in comparison to the focus of the restaurant: crab.

The friendly chef proudly showed us the crabs: kegani (hairy crab) and the much larger taraba (king crab) that were alive and kicking. By the end of the meal, we’d eaten the entire kegani, and a good part of the taraba.

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The omakase didn’t sound impressive: appetiser, sashimi, hot dish, grilled dish, deep-fried dish, rice, soup, pickles and dessert. So far, so manageable. But it turned out to be far more impressive and extensive than that, with the different parts of the crab showing up in many different ways.

The appetiser course was chilled broccoli rabe, tender octopus, shrimp, and a fantastic piece of ankimo (monkfish liver). The sashimi course featured both types of crab: hairy crab, which, raw, was a little tough, and sweet, soft king crab, as well as flounder and toro.

Grilled king crab leg was succulent, served with sudachi and a dish of vinegar, both of which enhanced the sweetness.

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The waitress asked if we ate shirako and, after receiving an enthusiastic yes, presented us with an excellent dish of wonderfully creamy fish “male roe” in a delicious broth with chrysanthemum petals and a soft piece of daikon.

After that, every course was crab until dessert. Tempura of king crab and fiddlehead fern had a nice, light batter. Boiled hairy crab legs with the crab miso was pure and simple.

The waitress put a portable burner between me and my guest for the next course of king crab shabu shabu, which was one of the evening’s highlights. After the broth came to a vigorous boil, we turned off the burner so the crab and vegetables wouldn’t get overcooked. It was a hands-on dish, and after we’d eaten all the crab (there was a lot of it) we drank some of the hot broth that had a delicate sweetness from the crustacean.

The savoury part of the meal concluded with rice – but what rice! It was large pot of hairy crab and uni rice that the chef mixed together for us and portioned into bowls – and to make it even better, he topped it with a generous amount of ikura, several of our favourite ingredients in one bowl. The rice came with crab miso soup and pickles.

If you like crab, this is a great place to visit but be sure to book in advance: the L-shaped counter seats only nine, and there are two tables that seat up to four.

Kanidou Noda, Lam’s Building, 6-10 Kau U Fong, Central, tel: 2813 0380. HK$1,500 without drinks or the service charge

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