Tuesday, March 26, 2024


Sometimes it's refreshing to see new chefs coming through from independent restaurants - one of which was Frankie Wong who headed up this interesting French-Japanese restaurant inside a commercial building at Hart Avenue in TST. 

There's a certain discreet vibe to the place which somehow reminded me of those small izakaya in some random non-descript building in Ginza or something. The restaurant was petite, with the small open kitchen that could seat 8 at a maximum with a small terrace right outside for more casual dining. Decor may need some more work to refine but you know they are serious about their cooking with the equipment they use. 

A 10-course Tasting Menu was served on the day of my visit - in the western style order (rather than the traditional Japanese kaiseki, in case you wonder). The Amuse-bouche of Snow Crab tartlet was lovely, with sherry vinegar "sheet" on top and kombu floss giving the bite a hint of acidity and some texture. Unagi (smoked eel) was done Japanese kabayaki style but served with foie gras mousse on top of a toasted brioche bloc. The buttery toast worked well with the smoky sweet flavor from the piece of eel. 

Chef Frankie and the team began to prepare our chicken main course just as we continued with more seafood dishes. The saba got nice acidity, having cured in apple cider vinegar and mixed with salad greens and complete with vinaigrette and wasabi emulsion; Hokigai (surf clams) was served with an intensely rich broth inspired by Ratatouille, and that contrasted well with the clean crunchy slice of clams and junsai (water shield) underneath. Hokkaido scallop was perfectly seared and served with the aromatic vadouvan sauce for a nice exotic spice kick. 

A few other places served this similar dish of cold pasta and caviar, but the team here was peculiar about every steps to make sure this was delivered perfectly. Pasta was cooked a la minute, tossed in light wakame and truffle paste, topped with a generous quenelle of caviar and ganished with edible flowers. Lobster was another beautiful dish, with the whole tail wrapped in butter to "age" and develop its flavor, then slow-grilled on Lava Stone with the butter melting away and charred up slightly for the rich smoky flavor. The sakura-ebi Kobocha sauce, paprika rub and dots of chili oils worked just perfectly fine with the dish. Lamb was slightly sinewy, but I love the rustic flavor with the piece of lamb saddle rolled with spinach and mushroom duxelle and served with a "yakitori mixed bone jus". 

Then came the chicken. You know it's good the moment you heard the sound of the knife edge touching the skin of the local three-yellow chicken, which was brined, dried, roasted, basted, and roasted again to achieve just the right texture and doneness. The bird was carved and served on a large pan with the heavenly Vin Jaune sauce on the side. Again, not the most original dish but it's nicely executed. The rice on the side was nice too - one couldn't go wrong with the combination with Ikura and scallions on top. So nice I asked for second serving of the chicken AND the rice. 

We finished with the dessert course of pistachio tartlet with mochi filling and ice-cream on the side.  It's so tasty. Sake was a good choice for the menu, slightly aromatic, rounded texture was enjoyable with the rich seafood dishes.

(Meal was by invitation)

When? February 28 2024
Where? Ankoma, 5/F, Kam Lung Commercial Centre, 2 Hart Avenue, Tsim Sha Tsui
Menu Highlights? Butter aged lobster tail, sakura ebi kabocha sauce, homemade chili oil, oden daikon, oxtails
Drinks? Zaku Impression-N Junmai Daiginjo Genshu, Shimizu Seizaburo Shoten, Mie Prefecture
Web: (Instagram) www.instagram.com/ankoma_hk/

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