Friday, July 14, 2017

Legit Local Tempura Place

To be honest I was not all that convinced when I received an invitation to check out this new tempura restaurant in Central. Coming off a weekend in Tokyo just recently I wasn't exactly in the mood for a Japanese meal knowing it's likely not close to what I would have in Japan, but I was relieved somewhat after seeing Chef Eric behind the counter when I walked into the restaurant on a weeknight joining a group of friends for a dinner tasting. Chef Eric was the tempura chef at a Japanese restaurant in Causeway Bay some years ago which we frequented then, so on more than a few occasions we enjoyed many of the tempura dishes prepared by him. That certainly gave me some level of comfort, and not haven't tried his food for a while I was curious to check it out.

The name of the restaurant was somewhat misleading – though of course tempura is one of their specialties here, but that’s not all. The cooking station right next to the tempura counter and the kitchen behind did produce some cooked Japanese dishes in addition to the tempura courses. And we had the opportunity to try some of those dishes with our omakase dinner set came with quite a number of different choices.

We started with a series of appetizers, well-presented and prepared with seasonal ingredients. My favorite was the small bowl of sea urchin with yuba, a cold appetizer full of flavor and refreshing. As we were finishing our sashimi platter which was the last of the appetizer courses, Chef Eric began the preparation of the tempura courses. Altogether five different tempura dishes were served, some classic items like prawn and kisu (Japanese whiting), but some more creative (like the one with fresh oyster stuffed in green bell peppers). Call me a traditionalist, I was more into those simple ones, and tonight, I loved the kisu and awabi (abalone) most, which was prepared with a slightly thicker batter and went well with just a dab of salt (if you want more a spicy kick, there’s the curry salt available as well). That said, I did enjoy my last tempura dish of anago (sea eel) served with green onion sauce and sesame – the combination of flavor was excellent in this one.

A few more cooked dishes were served after the tempura courses – I loved the bowl of steamed minced crab and fish meat with a brush of dashi gravy on top. It’s like the traditional Japanese chawanmushi except it has a firmer texture and tastier. Of course, one couldn’t go wrong with the charcoal-grilled Miyazaki beef rib-eye, which was served along-side a piece of grilled ox tongue as our meat course.

Given it’s not even officially opened it’s still too early to tell, but the food we had was legit, especially the tempura. It was something I would definitely go back to.

(Dinner was by invitation of the restaurant)

When? July 4 2017
Where? Tempura Taki, 8/F 33 Wellington Street, Central, Hong Kong
Menu Highlights? Tempura Dishes

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