Sophisticated yet affordable dining at the classy bistro by Yoku Moku in Wan Chai
Crossover concept restaurants are gaining traction around the world right now. Central is already home to Mercedes Me and Alfie’s, inside the Dunhill store, while Tokyo’s posh Ginza neighbourhood plays host to Beige by Alain Ducasse inside the Chanel store there. So it’s not much of a stretch for an internationally acclaimed Japanese patisserie, in this case Yoku Moku, to open a concept restaurant where it can serve its clients a complete meal. The company’s Blue Brick Lounge restaurant in Tokyo (closed until August), has been open for a number of years already and is famous for its galette crêpes and relaxed environment.
In something of a coup, Blue Brick Bistro in Wan Chai is the first Yoku Moku restaurant to open outside of Japan and the first bistro by the brand in the world. It’s situated in the recently opened shopping and residential complex The Avenue – an area formerly famous as ‘Invitation Street’ because of the many wedding invitation printers situated there before the block was earmarked for upscale development. In the first stages of its opening, the open-air complex is manicured and well-kept – almost too clean cut for Wan Chai.
Perched above the Yoku Moku store, Blue Brick Bistro’s dark wood, marble and table-clothed ambience gives off a vibe that’s more sophisticated than your average dining spot. We take a look at the menu and, to our surprise, a four-course dinner with pasta for main starts at only $298 – an absolute bargain given the location.
We decide to take on the four-course deal, plus some additional à la carte items. We begin with the signature Japanese-style chicken liver pâté. Gorgeously plated, the spread arrives in a glass bowl and the accompanying toasted baguette sits on a metal rack above hot stones. A small vial of sake is sprinkled on the pebbles by the staff so the bread absorbs the evaporating alcohol vapour. Unfortunately, this adds nothing to the flavour and regardless of the elaborate presentation, the pâté is too salty. Fortunately, our second appetiser, Hokkaido scallop tartare ($108), fares a lot better. Served atop a slice of cucumber, the salmon roe garnish strikes the perfect balance between the shellfish and the vegetable. The pumpkin soup that arrives next is hearty and warming, but nothing out of the ordinary.
We go for mushroom risotto with uni as our main course. With an almost one-for-one ratio between the funghi and risotto, the rice has a perfect al dente bite. The uni is served on the side, and even though it’s the high quality enshui murasaki, its addition to the dish is superfluous – it would’ve been just as great without. Next up, we sample the New Zealand lamb rack with herbed crust ($198). It’s incredibly tender, and though the crust doesn’t add a lot to the dish, the superior ingredients are all that’re required. We share our dessert – a classic Yoko Moku Minami-Aoyama original roll cake also part of the set menu. Once again, it’s good but not outstanding. Still, we’re chuffed that coffee comes with the company’s signature cigaro egg roll. Together with the cake, we feel we’ve had the complete Yoku Moku experience.
Apart from the risotto, there isn’t anything that we’ll be pining for at the Blue Brick Bistro. However, given the extremely wallet friendly prices, the overall quality of the produce and the elegant ambience, it’s a dining spot that’s worth checking out at least once.
|Venue name:||Blue Brick Bistro by Yoku Moku|
Shop G35, G/F, Lee Tung Ave, 200 Queen's Rd E, Wan Chai
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