Surprising oasis: Youka in Wan Chai
FARE Traditional Japanese washoku.
AMBIENCE A cosy restaurant with Zen décor, Youka offers a peaceful respite from the hustle and bustle of one of Wan Chai's busiest streets. Despite its street-level location, it is sometimes easy to miss Youka's understated entrance - and also because it is overshadowed by famous neighbour Fook Lam Moon.
COST $1,280 for an omakase dinner set.
WHO TO BRING The mix of traditional and modern décor, plus a variety of seating arrangements, make it suitable for anything from a romantic dinner to larger groups.
TURN-ONS Other than a slight hiccup when the server told us she would have to check if chef Ito Katsuhiro would be willing to make us an omakase set, there was little else to fault with the food or service. The set was a mixture of cooked and raw fish and offered enough variety to keep the taste buds happy. As expected, the sashimi and sushi boasted the freshest fish, but even the simple seared scallop and braised cod were excellent. One of the highlights was the raw oyster served in a shell with soy sauce, spring onions and a touch of lime. The tempura was also a pleasant surprise with a very light crispy batter that disintegrated at first bite but still offered a crunchy texture to the fried vegetables.
TURN-OFFS While it was nice getting surprises with the meal, not having a menu makes it difficult to figure out or remember all the dishes. We weren't terribly thrilled with the texture of the milt either.
DRINKS A better selection of sakes than wines.
Shop 1D, 35-45 Johnston Road, Wan Chai, 2833 5188