In good hands

Never quite sure what to order in a Japanese restaurant? Omakase (or “I’ll leave it to you”) ensures you’re in the chef’s good hands.

The opening of Sushi Hakucho in Tsim Sha Tsui, which offers affordable Kyushu-style omakase, is a bright spot in the recent gloom.

Bird Kingdom Group founder and CEO Eric Ting, said: “Focusing on seafood and produce from the pristine waters and land of Kyushu, Japan’s purest and most environmentally-friendly region, Sushi Hakucho offers a unique new omakase experience crafted by one of the island’s most seasoned sushi masters.”

Chef Harada Mokoto has lent his sushi-inventing skills to two lunch menus (from HK$480) and three seven- or eight-course dinner menus (from HK$980).

Among Mokota’s specialties are the ika and quail egg yolk sushi, a pairing of fresh squid with unctuous yolk, as well as ika and urchin sushi.

The snakehead fish sushi features a prized seasonal eel that is higher in fat and has a more robust flavor than the ordinary ones, while the pickled mackerel sushi uses an ancient method to pickle the Tsushima mackerel from Kamamoto prefecture.

Another must-try is the Kyushu red wagyu, which is famed as the only free-grazing cattle in Japan. The meat is rich in mono-unsaturated fat, resulting in buttery juiciness.

One of the things Uma Nota regulars miss the most is its Nipo-Brasileiro style omakase.

First appearing in October, it will be back for dinner on February 1 and 2. The six (HK$490) or eight (HK$590) courses feature the special cooking technique which combine Brazilian churrasco and Japanese robatayaki.

Whet your appetite with a Brazilian favorite, pao de manioca e morcella, a homemade cassava bread topped with caramelized red onion and blood sausage. Follow this with sizzling scallops in yuzu butter and pork shoulder and leek skewers marinated in mirin, soy sauce and sake.

A veggie dish is thrown into the mix in the form of gem lettuce and namban sauce, grilled in halves and served with a garnish of fresh cucumber, carrot and chili.

For mains, the chef captures the richness of marbled M5-grade wagyu sirloin by searing the steak over hot coals at the table. As a nod to the restaurant’s heritage, the sirloin is served with feijao or Brazilian black beans.

In keeping with the tradition of drinking at Brazilian barbecues, a surprise off-menu caipirinha sorbet is served before the final course of pudim de abacaxi and coconut sorbet, a roasted pineapple sponge pudding with creamy coconut sorbet on top.

If you want to keep it short for lunch, Okra’s long-awaited omakase menu is back. It may have been slightly shortened, but that does not mean the flavors are any less punchy.

The new menu features bold and beautiful flavors, including aged toro tartar with charcoal-black salt and white truffle, roasted carabinero sushi starring Spanish scarlet-red prawn, a creamy cod shirako served hot on bamboo, accompanied by citrusy and spicy yuzu kosho and more.

The eight-course menu (HK$980) concludes with a matcha ice cream with a drizzle of amazake and a sprinkle of umami in the form of homemade black bean puree.

Guests can also opt for a sake pairing (from HK$380) of four or eight glasses for a boozy brunch or lunch.

(This article was published at The Standard on January 22, 2021: Weekend Glitz: In good hands)

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