Hong Kong restaurant reviews

Newly opened Haku in Tsim Sha Tsui – French-Japanese omakase

Beautifully presented by attentive staff, the dishes are mostly delicious and creative, although some are let down by overly oily crackers

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 03 August, 2017, 5:00pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 03 August, 2017, 5:00pm

There’s been a lot of hype around Haku, the creative French-Japanese restaurant helmed by the former chef of The Ocean, Agustin Balbi. And for the most part, it lived up to expectations.

Once customers make it past the low-key entrance inside Ocean Terminal in Tsim Sha Tsui, they’re whisked into a Japanese restaurant setting.

The omakase menu (around HK$1,500) is handwritten with a calligraphy brush pen and servers are attentive.

After a series of amuse-bouches that included sweet Hokkaido corn in a squid ink tart, and pickled beetroot nestled in a red rose, the meal began with raw Fukuoka oysters with a lime and green apple granita, garnished with a kinome leaf for a mild peppery finish.

We enjoyed the second course of several types of Kumamoto tomatoes with bellota ham. The dish was finished with sake rice lees that had been dried and ground into powder, which had an intriguing cheesy smell and taste.

Another dish we savoured was the foie gras terrine with duck consomme jelly on top, decorated with cherry pieces and jam. This was a creative idea, but the black lotus chips were too oily for our taste, only adding to the richness of the foie gras.

The Hokkaido uni on brioche was probably the most photogenic of all the dishes. However, there was a layer of aubergine that was completely lost, and the brioche was too soft to hold everything together. It was near impossible to eat it elegantly.

We loved the dish that followed. The deep-fried cube of oxtail meat topped with dried bonito flakes was fantastic, with a crisp exterior and soft and tender inside.

Balbi’s piece de resistance, which he says best sums up Haku, is a combination of fatty tuna with Polmard beef topped with caviar and gold leaf. This decadent combination looked impressive but fell short because of the too oily rice crackers, that, while adding texture, were too flimsy to hold the ingredients.

A beautifully cooked duck was revealed from a smoky cherrywood box, and was later presented thinly sliced with equally thin pieces of abalone. The duck was tender and juicy, but the abalonetasted bland.

A pretty, refreshing dessert of Miyazaki mango in custard, cubes and granita topped with meringue shards was a lovely finish.

Haku, Shop OTG04B,Ocean Terminal, Harbour City, 17 Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, tel: 2115 9965

Other omakase places we’ve written about recently

Newly opened Sushi Ono has omakase for under HK$900, rare in Hong Kong, and it’s delicious too

Restaurant review: Sushi Masataka in Wan Chai – succulent, decadent, perfectly seasoned courses

Restaurant review: Dining at Murasaki – omakase experience well outside the ordinary