Wednesday, April 19, 2017

On My Day Off: Izakaya Dinner

A long story why I ended up on this side of harbor after spending a good afternoon browsing through exhibits at the Art Basel on the other side (alright, for me it’s more about the champagne at the VIP lounge than the art pieces, I admit), but anyway, since we were around this neighborhood (TST, that is), I thought it's a good idea to check out this new Japanese izakaya nearby that I always meant to try. Goshaku sat on the sixth floor of a commercial building on Knutsford Terrace and behind the restaurant was the same team which operates Keyaki near LKF and a handful of other Japanese casual diners around town.

Décor of the place resembles just about any typical izakaya around – wooden tables and chairs, sake labels, bottles and crates lying around as decorations, generic J-pop music and loud noises from people drinking and talking. Well, except at Goshaku, they have a huge collection of sakes kept in the array of refrigerator display units on one side of the dining area, categorized by regions of production. Customers were welcomed (or even encouraged) to walk around and pick the bottle to top the glasses or little carafes (it’s priced per glass, or 90ml to be exact)

The food menu has good variety but nothing too out of ordinary. There’s a selection of bar snacks, sashimi and seafood, cooked dishes, kushiyaki skewers (chicken, pork, beef and more) and some chef’s special items either on the piece of printed paper or on the blackboard.

We were more in the mood of a quick meal so we only ordered a few dishes to share. Their grilled skewers were definitely solid – I particularly loved the tsukimi tsukune (minced chicken) served with the traditional dipping sauce with the raw egg yolk. Well-marinated with a slightly charred crust and some crunchiness from the soft cartilages mixed in. I was a bit disappointed at the grilled ox tongue, cut into bite-sized chunks with coarse-grain mustard served on the side. I thought the chef might have been a tad bit heavy on the salt.

We also had a couple of cooked seafood dishes – both of which coming from their special menu and were delicious. The abalone was slow cooked with a sweet marinate, finished either on a grill or torched then served in the shell with tender texture, and the grilled saba fish was done with a charred and crispy skin, served simply with a stalk of young ginger and soy sauce on the side.

We finished with a pair of "starchy" dishes. Not a lot of fillings in the Kansai-style Okonomiyaki except the flour batter, but it’s well-cooked and loaded with sauces giving the dish good flavor, and it’s comforting ending our meal with a bowl of udon with thin slices of saga beef and soy-dashi broth.

Didn't go for anything overly fancy to drink but picked a couple that we haven't tried. With over 200 bottles available on any given night it wasn't that hard finding something we have yet seen or tasted once you looked past those familiar labels. Went for a neutral/dry junmai ginjo from Tokyo followed by a junmai ginjo from Kochi Prefecture of Shikoku (special bottle commissioned by the Tokyo-based Hasegawa shop) Both were pleasant and rich enough to go with the dishes with quite heavy flavor.

I think the place is good for what they serve and definitely somewhere I am more than comfortable of coming more often.

When? March 23 2017
Where? Goshaku, 6/F, 1 Knutsford Terrace, Tsimshatsui, Hong Kong
Menu Highlights? All Kushiyaki skewers
Bunkajin "Yurakucho de Nomimasho" Junmai Ginjo - Arisawa Shuzo, Kochi Prefecture
文佳人 有楽町で飲みましょう 純米吟醸 - 高知県 アリサワ酒造
Kisho Junmai Ginjo Yamadanishiki Fukurozuri - Nozaki Shuzo, Tokyo
喜正 純米吟醸 山田錦 袋吊り - 東京都 野﨑酒造

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