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Restaurants, Japanese Tsim Sha Tsui
3 out of 5 stars
haku tartare
haku wagyu beef
haku interior

Upscale Japanese dining in Harbour City that uses quality ingredients but delivers underwhelming dishes

A collaboration between chef Hideaki Matsuo of the three Michelin starred Kashiwaya in Osaka and executive chef Agustin Balbi, formerly executive chef at Repulse Bay restaurant The Ocean, Haku serves modern Japanese cuisine with a European edge. Despite being based in Harbour City – that well known centre of high-end dining ­– the restaurant looks gorgeous, done up in a style of Japanese minimalist chic.

Although there’s an a la carte menu, we opt for the eight-course tasting menu – at $1,380 it’s not cheap but it includes most of the a la carte options we fancy. First to arrive are oysters from Fukuoka topped with yuzu kosho and green apple granita. The kosho is too salty and the granita flavourless, resulting in freezing cold oysters that aren’t allowed to let their natural flavours shine. The Japanese tomatoes with Bellota ham is an improvement. The sweet, juicy pops of tomato pairs well with some delicious barracuda fish, of which we wish there was more as three tiny chunks doesn’t quite cut it.

The third course, foie gras with lotus roots chips, is fab. Creamy foie gras that isn’t too gamey comes topped with fresh Sicilian cherries, paired with extra crunchy tempura squid ink lotus root chips. Just when we think we’re on the right track things swerve off course again. The Hokkaido uni on brioche with eggplant and red miso has quality urchin, but that's all we can taste.

The next two courses – oxtail croquettes, and tartare of fatty tuna and Polmard beef topped with Kristal caviar – both cry out for something extra. The oxtail is under seasoned and it’s hard to distinguish the individual flavours of the tuna and the beef, which are crushed by briny caviar. Up next, our knives slide through the A4 Kagoshima wagyu like butter and the meat melts in our mouth. All well and good but there’s a lack of seasoning and the dish is too reliant on the accompanying black truffle sauce to provide an interesting flavour.

The dessert of cherries with white chocolate and edible flowers looks pretty and is an adequate palate cleanser but it lacks any wow factor. 

There’s a certain quality to Haku, in the décor, ingredients and service, but the execution is slightly off. Given the hefty bill as we exit, it’s hard not to leave feeling a little disappointed.

Venue name: Haku
Address: Shop OTG04, G/F, Ocean Terminal, Harbour City
17 Canton Road
Tsim Sha Tsui
Hong Kong

Opening hours: 12pm-2.30pm, 6pm-10pm
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