Avant-garde Japanese dishes paired with the perfect sake

Winnie Chung

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 22 March, 2016, 10:43pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 22 March, 2016, 10:43pm

Given that it is notoriously difficult to book at the eight-seat restaurant Godenya - and that it only accepts first-time diners on recommendations by known clientele - we have decided to classify this sake-pairing establishment as a private kitchen.

Hong Kong's dining scene has certainly benefited from owner Shinya Goshima's decision to close his Tokyo restaurant of the same name and decamp to the city with his younger brother, who serves as chef.

Goshi-san is a certified sake master and takes great pride in serving his sake at the optimum temperature, something he says enhances both the drink and the food. Godenya serves an eight-course menu (HK$1,300 to HK$1,500, depending on seasonal ingredients) that changes every two months and experiments very successfully in mixing Japanese and local ingredients.

Our menu started with simple raw cherry salmon served on a bed of steamed egg with a sprig of shiso flowers on top for colour, paired with Asahigiku served at 18 degrees Celsius. The mix of hot and cold was a refreshing precursor to the meal.

All eight courses were a delight that had us continually ooh-ing and aah-ing. If we had to pick our highlights, it would be the kawahagi (thread-sail filefish) with liver, served with Kakurei at 45 degrees, and the angler fish with citron and black truffle sauce that was served with red Inemankai at 20 degrees.

The angler fish was served imaginatively in a hollowed-out yuzu fruit, which added a refreshing acidic tang. The chopped fish was cooked with fermented beancurd that gave it a rich, creamy and cheesy taste. It might be a bit strong for diners not too used to the taste but had us scraping everything from the fruit.

Among the delights of our meal was the care that Goshi-san puts into choosing the pottery in which he serves food and drink, along with the delicate presentation of the food.

G/F, 182 Wellington Street, Central