September 29, 2023

Geruhage HK tour day 1: sushi outside Japan

Pin It

My friend had three objectives for his trip to Hong Kong, and it was my job to work them into his schedule. One of them would be Shikon by Yoshitake (すし 志魂), which is a strange request for someone who has access to every single top sushi restaurant in Japan. It turns out that my friend was under the mistaken impression that he had not been to the restaurant when it held 3 Michelin stars. In fact, his last visit in 2016 was to then Sushi Yoshitake Hong Kong (鮨 よしたけ), which did have 3 Michelin stars but has since moved location as well as had a name change. Anyway, I dutifully booked us seats at the counter in front of Kakinuma-san.

Before we started, the staff informed us of an extra "add on (追加)" available for the night - which was octopus (蛸). Now, I know that Japanese chefs pride themselves on the way they tenderize octopus tentacles, and I'm always happy to enjoy them as part of a regular set menu... but I just don't think I love it enough for me to pay extra for it.

With the current ban on seafood imports from certain Japanese prefectures - including a couple of landlocked ones - the restaurant has displayed a map of Japan showing the affected areas. As seafood from other parts of Japan still need to go through random radiation checks, they now spend more time sitting in warehouses after arrival, which definitely negatively impacts the quality.

Steamed egg custard matsutake mushroom puree on top with fresh salmon caviar and yuzu zest (松茸 茶碗蒸し) - the salmon roe (イクラ) comes from fish caught off Hokkaido.

The matsutake (松茸) purée was not a smooth one, but we had little chunks of the mushroom.

Crimson sea bream (ハナダイ) - as usual the seasonal white fish is served with two pieces of the same fish but different presentations. The crimson sea bream (血鯛 or ハナダイ depending on region) came from Shizuoka Prefecture (静岡県). First piece came brushed with salt water on top, a few drops of sudachi (酢橘) juice, then topped with marinated sea cucumber innards (海鼠腸). The fish was pretty tender without being mushy.

Crimson sea bream (ハナダイ), second piece - to be taken with soy sauce and wasabi. Also very nice.

Smoked bonito marinated shallot soy sauce (鰹) - the bonito from Kagoshima Prefecture (鹿児島県) was sooo tender, just as I would expect. Came with shreds of Hokkaido horseradish paste on top along with a combination of baby green onion (芽葱), myoga (茗荷), and red perilla (赤紫蘇) leaves. This was a very good dish, but I guess I still prefer the purity of having just the finsih with some spring onion and oil.

Charcoal grilled botan shrimp with ginger jelly and black caviar (牡丹海老) - the botan shrimp (牡丹海老) had been lightly marinated as kobujime (昆布締め) before being lightly seared with binchotan (備長炭), and served with grilled eggplant paste at the bottom. The smoky flavors were pretty nice.

Served with ginger jelly on top with finely chopped perilla leaves, as well as Perseus No. 2 caviar.

Steamed abalone with abalone liver sauce (鮑) - since imports from Chiba Prefecture (千葉県) are now banned by the government, these abalones now come from Shimane Prefecture (島根県). I thought this was much more chewy compared to before despite being steamed in sake for 6 hours, as I had already noted from my last visit 2 months ago. I still love the broth, so I lifted up the serving vessel to drink it all.

As always, a ball of shari (シャリ) is served with our leftover abalone liver sauce, and topped up with more sauce. This is always so magical!

Next we see an eel from Aichi Prefecture (愛知県), which had just been grilled and still got the sauce bubbling on top.

Charcoal grilled eel with cucumber (鰻) - I loooove eel kabayaki (蒲焼) with the sauce, and of course the sansho (山椒) powder.

The nigiri portion comes next, with 10 pieces (十貫) total.

Cuttlefish (墨烏賊) - I always love watching taisho (大将) prep cuttlefish, and tonight Kaki-san criss-cross scored the underside of the neta (ネタ) around 11 times while the top side is scored 13-14 times. Always very tender while retaining a good bite.

Crimson sea bream (ハナダイ) - my substitute for fatty tuna (大トロ). Thick cut, yet both tender and firm at the same time.

Golden eye snapper (金目鯛) - sourced from Sasue Maeda (サスエ前田魚店) in Yaizu (焼津), Shizuoka Prefecture. Thick cut, tender with a nice bounce.

Bonito (鰹) - my substitute for medium fatty tuna (中トロ). Usually very tender but this came with a surprising crunch thanks to the myoseptum.

Gizzard shad (小肌) - good balance of salt and acidity. Beautiful piece.

Horse mackerel (鯵) - from Kagoshima. Always so beautifully presented with the scoring, and always incredibly tender like jelly. More acidity today and expected.

Sea urchin (雲丹) - the Japanese green sea urchin (馬糞雲丹) gets mixed into the shari, and tongues of purple sea urchin (紫雲丹) from Hadate Suisan (羽立水産) on top.

Tiger prawn (車海老) - the prawn was very sweet, so bouncy and firm. So good.

Sea eel (穴子) - from Tsushima Island (対馬島) in Nagasaki Prefecture (長崎県). Made as a bozushi (棒鮨) with the nori (海苔) on the inside. With crunchy narazuke (奈良漬け) of course.

Castella egg (玉子)

Miso soup (味噌椀) - no soup picture today.

Abalone hand roll (鮑手巻き) - since Geruhage mentioned the abalone hand roll earlier tonight, I decided that I would order it as an extra... and that became 4 orders. Very, very good - probably as good as the first time I had it. But with the exchange rate being where they are, pricing for this piece becomes shocking once you look at it in Yen.

Kyoho jelly - I love Kyoho (巨峰) grapes, so this was totally up my alley.

I brought along two bottles of sake that I like very much:

Rihaku Daijinjo Tobingakoi (李白大吟釀斗瓶囲い), 2019, #1686 - very round and soft on the palate, lots of fermented rice lees on the nose but a little more fermented and developed, so starting to turn with a hint of savory profile. A bit dry and spicy on the finish, but just a teeny little bit.

The Toji Series Edition 1 Junmai Daiginjo, 1999 BY02, 01xx/1000 - definitely a lot more savory on the nose, very much fermented and definitely got that koshu profile on the nose. Almost a little smoky. But sooooo smooth and silky on the palate, and actually very sweet on the palate. Seems to deliver the best of both worlds - freshness and sweetness from the younger part, along with the smoothness and fermented nose from the older koshu.

We had a lot of fun tonight. Kaki-san has been in Hong Kong for 11 years now and clearly misses home, and tonight he had a Japanese customer he could converse with who is also knowledgeable about food and even his supplier. We exchanged a few stories, including one about the customers I saw on my last visit here who didn't want any rice. I guess every high end restaurant in town has its fair share of fuckwit customers...

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails

TripAdvisor Travel Map