New Japanese restaurants in Hong Kong: Sara – Saga prefecture dining experience in Causeway Bay
The pick of the specialities from southern Japan we tried were grilled chicken thigh with spicy yuzu kosho seasoning, and beef sirloin cutlet – wonderfully fatty, succulent and tender. The seafood we’ll savour another time
Saga prefecture is famous for its pottery, its beautiful landscape, and food (although the latter can be said of just about every area of Japan). Surprisingly, the region has been unrepresented in Hong Kong until now, with the opening of Sara restaurant in Causeway Bay.
I had to accommodate a picky guest, so with regret, I skipped the seafood offerings. From the rest of the menu, we chose dishes with the “Sara recommendation” icon.
Saga assorted vegetable salad with Ariake seaweed (HK$138) was just fantastic. The variety of vegetables was impressive: each of the leafy greens had a distinct taste and texture, the small tomatoes were sweet, and the light dressing enhanced the different flavours.
Even the small sheets of seaweed, served alongside – and which I used to wrap the vegetables – were better than the kind you normally come across.
Asparagus tempura (HK$98) was another winner, with succulent stalks in a lacy, crisp batter.
The grilled chicken thigh (HK$198), from the mitsuse breed of chicken that is famous in the prefecture, had a deep taste and firm, moist meat. It was served with a yuzu kosho seasoning that had a spicy, citrus bite that went very well with the meat.
Spicy miso marinated, grilled pork belly (HK$188) was served at the same time as the chicken, and by the time we started eating it, it was room temperature. The flavour was fine, but the meat was too firm; it would have been much better if it had been served separately.
Our waitress recommended the Saga beef sirloin cutlet (HK$338) served with Maruhide soy sauce, wasabi, and Ichinoshio carbonated salt. The beef – breaded then fried before being served very rare – was wonderfully fatty, succulent and tender.
Soy-milk-made noodles in mitsuse chicken soup (HK$138) had toothsome noodles in a clear, flavourful broth.
Sara, 12/F Oliv, 15-21 Sharp Street East, Causeway Bay, tel: 3620 3491. About HK$500 per person without drinks or the service charge.
While you’re in the area: