Restaurant review: Hige Izakaya, Mid-Levels - simple Japanese
Price: about HK$350 without drinks or the service charge.
Ambience: it's a comfortable, friendly, neighbourhood spot with curtained off tables that screen you from the sight (although not the sounds) of other diners.
Recommended dishes: grilled chicken tails (HK$28) were crisp and fatty, while the hearts (HK$28) were rich and chewy. The grilled Hige sausages (HK$38 for two) were fantastic, with thin, crackling casings and juicy meat. Hot spring egg (HK$48) was light but flavourful, with several types of seaweed and a really delicious dressing. Shabu shabu with Japanese beef (HK$188) had a great selection of vegetables: okra, Japanese leek, three types of mushrooms and flowering chives wrapped in cabbage leaf, large, thin slices of well-marbled beef and a light, delicious broth. We also loved the broth — as well as the slippery, toothsome noodles — in the bowl of Inaniwa udon with fish soup and vegetables. Japanese shishito peppers stuffed with mentaiko (HK$38) were coated with a thin batter, and nicely fried.
Pros: the menu is short and easy to navigate, and there's a chalkboard of specials.
Cons: some of the salt-baked ginkgo nuts (HK$38) were burned, dry and acrid. The special dumplings (HK$78) needed salt. Hanger steak (HK$58) was overcooked, so the meat tasted livery.
What else? Wear shoes that are easy to slip off and on, because you need to remove your footwear at the entrance.
Hige Izakaya, Woodland House, 9A-9C Castle Road, Mid-Levels, tel: 2503 3533; Open: 5pm-11pm