December 3, 2022

It's always sunny in Sheung Wan

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I don't eat much sushi in Hong Kong since, unlike many locals, I don't really have a craving for it. I'm perfectly happy just having a couple of meals of sushi a year, as long as they're of sufficiently high quality. This means I'm pretty selective about where I have my sushi, and the truth is that in the past few years, I really only go to about 3 sushiyas. Meanwhile, a bunch of places I had never paid attention to have suddenly gotten very popular and difficult to book during the pandemic years. Since I never bothered to visit any of these places, naturally I am not a frequent or VIP customer... so there's pretty much no chance of me getting seats by myself.

So when Mrs Birdiegolf asked whether Four Sheets and I wanted to join them at Sushi Haré (鮨晴), we decided pretty quickly to say "YES". I wanted to at least see what else is out there...

We started the meal late, thanks to one of the trio of ladies at the other end of the counter being 15 minutes late. SIGH. Some people just have no respect. Worst of all, she's a regular.

Squid (墨烏賊) - interesting to see a square piece of laver (海苔) inserted between the shari (シャリ) and neta (ネタ). The shari didn't seem to have much warmth, and the rice grains were slightly firm and chewy. The neta itself came thick cut with good tenderness, and was brushed with soy sauce on top instead of being salted.

The pickled ginger (がり) here interestingly doesn't show much acidity, but is rather more salty.

Chawanmushi (茶碗蒸し) - so my bowl came with some sea urchin as a substitute for fish cum. A few pieces of yuzu (柚子) zest on top, seemingly pickled.

Bottarga (唐墨) - I saw this written on a board placed on the side and asked the chef. So this was the additional piece (追加) of the day, and OF COURSE we would take it! In fact, I had two pieces since Four Sheets doesn't like this. Marinated with sake lees (酒粕), this was predictably soft and sticky in the center. We got some acidity here in addition to the umami (旨味), and of course that little bit of bitterness on the finish that I love so much.

Striped jack (縞鯵) - reasonably thick cut, and the skin was a little chewy.

Mackerel (鯖) - now with warmer shari. Good acidity to go with the fattiness of the fish. Very tasty.

Shrimp taro (海老芋) - the fried taro had a very, very smooth and fine texture as expected, and tonight this came with some shredded crab meat as well as some minced ginger which had a little more kick than expected.

Thread-sail filefish (皮剥) - served in the typical fashion of mixing in the fish liver sauce with the shredded fish, along with a sprinkling of chopped chives.

Female snow crab (香箱蟹) - normally I would have loved having the female snow crabs with all the roe, ovaries, and eggs, but this was drunken and raw... I very reluctantly ate some but did not finish.

Sardine (鰯) - with asatsuki (浅葱) on top. Chilled to the perfect serving temperature, this was so beautiful with how the marinade works with the fat of the fish.

Oyster (牡蠣) - from Akkeshi (厚岸) in Hokkaido. Braised with soy sauce and ginger.

Sujiko (筋子) - there was fairly heavy sake flavors in the marinade. Still kinda salty, maybe from the brush of soy sauce on top. The laver was very crispy and toasty.

Splendid alfonsino (金目鯛) - the neta was nice and soft, and I could taste a little bit of the wasabi.

Broadbanded thornyhead (喜知次) - nicely grilled to deliver that crispy and toasty skin. The texture retained some firmness yet it was still very succulent.

Monkfish liver (鮟肝) - these came in thin slices. Very fluffy and light, and kinda powdery almost.

Japanese bluefish (黒睦) - our subtitute for fatty tuna (トロ). The skin was wonderfully smoky, and the thick cut meant the texture was somewhat crunchy despite being tender after aging.

Yellowtail (鰤) - our substitute for lean tuna (赤身). The vinegar in the shari is now more noticeable. Once again the very thick cut ensure a crunchy texture - what I want out of yellowtail in the cold months - while still nice and tender.

Japanese green sea urchin (馬糞雲丹) - Russian in origin and packed by Kaneyo Kamomeyo Suisan (カネヨ鴎洋水産). Now the vinegar in the shari was much stronger, and the shari itself was very warm. The sea urchin was sweet as soon as it hit the palate, but there was also that iodine kick.

Got a small bowl of soup.

Conger eel (穴子) - pretty fluffy and unfortunately still a little muddy.

Egg (卵焼き) - this came with steam still rising out of the block, and had that real fluffy texture that the Japanese would call ふわふわ. Apparently no sugar was added so there was just the tiniest hint of sweetness.

Strawberry and mochi (餅).

We were advised that Inazuka-san enjoys Champagne, which is why there were 2 bottles of bubbly tonight. I, of course, need more opportunities to drink the sake in my collection...

Henri Giraud MV15, dégorgée le 14 octobre 2020 - good yeasty notes, with some minerals. Good ripeness on the palate, but not ripe to the point of plenty of marmalade.

Krug Rosé, 19ème Édition, ID 313042 - some yeast and a little bit of red fruits. An hour after opening, the toasty notes really came out... so drinking very nicely now.

Daishichi Myouka Rangyoku Junmai Daiginjo Shizuku Genshu (大七 妙花蘭曲 生酛 純米大吟醸 雫原酒), 2015 - seimaibuai (精米歩合) of 50%. Served around 30 minutes after opening. Very floral and fragrant, with a little banana. Medium dry on the palate at first, but then became very soft and rounded after opening for an hour.

This was a pretty happy dinner, and we got along with Inazuka-san as well as a Japanese guest who has known the chef for many years. I even ended up getting myself a free T-shirt...

1 comment:

Markus Schmidt said...

I realize Sushi Haré is difficult to book. I tried the two phone nos available online but neither number (if dialed from Switzerland) appears to exist. A number of SMS messages went through but there is no reply. Do you have any other tip as to how to contact them (an email address?)? this would be for a reservation for late December '23.
Thank you in advance


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