February 13, 2021

Frying solo

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Sankala is off lunching with a friend, leaving me to fend for myself on a Saturday.  I wanted a meal that was a little better than a casual bite at a cha chaan teng (茶餐廳), but didn't wanna get killed by chef friends at places like Petrus or Écriture.   In the end, I placed a last-minute call to Ippoh (一宝) and got myself a seat for their second seating.

I have known about this place since The Great One first wrote about it years ago, but given the limited seating and the reported difficulty in securing a seat, somehow I never got around to visiting this place.  My hankering for quality tempura (天ぷら) has largely gone unsatiated in Hong Kong over the last few years, and I finally decided to see if this was, indeed, the best option for tempura in town.

I was told that the only choice available was omakase (お任せ), which was fine for me. I was just happy to have a seat, and that they had enough ingredients to serve me.

This was put down in front of me by the lone serving staff without any explanation.  I waited a little... but still, nothing.  Finally, I asked the chef in Japanese, and was told that this was olive flounder (平目).  Cooked and wrapped around shredded spring onions.  This was OK.

Then came the salad, which included lettuce, pickled rakkyo (辣韮), and salted kombu (塩昆布).

The condiments came at the same time, which included a slice of lemon (with squeezer), salt, and a ball of grated radish (大根おろし) one can mix into the giant spoon of sauce(つゆ).

First up were two prawn heads, signalling that there would be two prawns coming our way.

The first Japanese tiger prawn (車海老) was served straight up.

The second Japanese tiger prawn came wrapped in a perilla (紫蘇) leaf and nori (海苔).  A nice touch.

Sillago (鱚) - now the chef asked us to dip it into the sauce.  This was pretty big, and the quality of the fish certainly showed.

Sweet potato (薩摩芋) - thick cut.  Nice and soft texture, and very moist inside.

Maitake (舞茸) - nice and crunchy.

Cuttlefish (烏賊) - the chef finally told us what he was putting in front of us... with the 7th piece.  But it was too big to be an ordinary squid.  The piece was more than an inch thick, yet it was very tender and yielded easily to one's bite.

I've really missed having good cuttlefish tempura.

Corn (とうもころし) 

Sakura shrimp (桜海老のかき揚げ) - always very tasty.

Sea urchin (雲丹) - I was lucky enough to get 2 pieces since there was an extra one.  The sea urchin tasted a little more custardy, not as sweet and ice cream-like.

Scallop (帆立貝) - served with a little dab of yuzukosho (柚子胡椒) on the side.  This was done mi-cuit, and it was very tender.  And very sweet.

Shiruko (汁粉) - mochi with a azuki bean paste filling.

There was a choice of tendon (天丼) or tencha (天茶), and I picked the latter as I haven't had it in a long time.  Nice with some pickles.

Finally, the sweets to finish the meal.  A single strawberry, which was nice and ripe, and an owl-shaped monaka (最中) with matcha ice cream with azuki bean paste.

A very filling lunch, especially after that bowl of tencha.  Most of the ingredients appeared to be high quality, and I like that the chef focuses on tempura and dispenses with other stuff.  While this isn't on the same level as the top places in Japan, I guess it's still good to have choices when it comes to decent tempura in town...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

may I know how do u rank them against tenkai pls?


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