New restaurants in Causeway Bay: US$23-a-slice beef tongue left us speechless at Meat Cuisine Hiro
Despite needing deep pockets to cover the bill, and a very confusing menu, this yakiniku – Japanese table-top barbecue – restaurant delivered on taste, with the Hida point end brisket and Hida rib-cap plate fantastic
Be warned: a meal at Meat Cuisine Hiro is going to cost a pretty penny, even if you order modestly, as we did. We realised in retrospect that it would have been more economical – and filling – if we’d ordered one of the cheaper sets, which ranged from HK$680 to HK$1,280 per person.
We had the odd feeling of dejà vu when we walked in, and it turns out the space used to house the excellent Iroha, which also specialised in yakiniku (Japanese table-top barbecue). The friendly manager said it’s been taken over by the Sushi Hiro Group.
The menu is very confusing – it seems repetitive because the same meats are listed in different sections. We finally figured out that the various cuts – premium Hida beef, as well as some from Australia – are available as single pieces as well as a full serving of five slices.
We don’t remember Iroha being quite as expensive as this; five pieces of thick-cut tongue cost a breathtaking HK$880 (US$112), and that is for Australian beef (they don’t offer Japanese tongue, but if they did it would be even more pricey). Instead, we ordered the Australian thin-cut tongue, which was “only” HK$420.
The manager asked if we wanted to cook it ourselves, which at cheaper yakiniku restaurants we prefer to do, or have the waitress cook it. At that price, we wanted as much service as possible.
She cooked the thin slices two at a time before laying them on our plates and instructing us to squeeze on some fresh lemon juice from the array of condiments (which included yuzu kosho, fresh wasabi, salt and finely sliced Japanese onion).
It was good, but we missed the more satisfying bite of the thick-cut tongue. But not at that price.
The other meats we ordered were Hida point end brisket (HK$380) and Hida rib-cap plate (HK$580). The brisket – cut in fairly thick pieces – was fantastic, with a rich, mouth-filling juiciness and a satisfying bite.
But of course, the rib-cap plate was even better. The waitress grilled the slices to medium, which we would normally think is overcooked, but it was so marbled it remained tender and moist.
Hida beef yukke (HK$200) – finely julienned raw beef – disappointed because of the excess of marinated onions, and their sweetness overwhelmed the meat.
With all that beef, we wanted some fresh vegetables. Unfortunately, there are none for the grill, so we ordered Caesar salad (HK$100). It was unlike any other Caesar salad we’d had: a mix of greens (rather than just hearts of cos) with tomatoes and thin slices of air-dried ham.
But the crisp bitter vegetables (which included arugula, frisée and radicchio) helped clear our palates from the fattiness of all that meat. A bowl of hot inaniwa udon, topped with fresh vegetables and shiitake mushroom – filled the holes in our stomach.
Meat Cuisine Hiro, 2/F Jardine Centre, 50 Jardine’s Bazaar, Causeway Bay, tel: 2882 9877. About HK$900 without drinks or the service charge
While you’re in the area: