We’ve never reviewed Kenjo’s because there is no point in telling people what they already know – that it’s the mecca for sushi- and sashimi-lovers in Hong Kong. So when three of Kenjo’s apprentices left to start their own restaurant, we got excited that we could finally write about a collective of talented sushi chefs worthy of some merit.
The interior is not unlike Kenjo’s: blonde wood, twinkly shop lighting, and Japanese edible imports – such as perfectly symmetrical tomatoes, melons, and fresh wasabi branches – accent the minimal dining room. The chefs sit front and centre and that’s where you want to be too.
We grabbed a counter seat close to the action. Part of the charm of dining at Kenjo’s is his larger than life personality, which makes the atmosphere so much fun. But this time, instead of the big boss behind the bar, his apprentices-turned-chefs get their shot at the spotlight. Out from under Kenjo’s shadow, these guys look like they’re having a good time and it’s all smiles around the counter. And that’s precisely why people will love coming here. The chefs want to make your dining experience as exciting and memorable as possible, and if that means downing shots of sake with your clients all-night, every night, so be it.
The young chefs have something to prove, and a legacy to uphold. So they try harder, and perhaps do it better. The menu is identical to Kenjo’s, including the sashimi and sushi set with palette cleansers in-between (around $620 per person depending on appetite). The slices of fish were pretty impressive – yellowtail tuna, two cuts of bluefin toro (chu toro and o-toro), uni, silverskin mackerel, and no salmon (the chefs remembered my dislike of salmon from my Kenjo’s visits). It was some of the highest quality sashimi we’ve had in Hong Kong.
Their seared sea scallop wrapped in nori ($200) is well worth requesting. Gorgeously plump and sweet, the char on the scallop causes the nori to soften quickly, so you must eat it as soon it’s handed to you. No soy sauce is needed; the nori alone takes care of the seasoning. A second must-try item is their chopped toro hand-roll. A fresh steak of tuna is pulled out and finely minced with a cleaver in front of you, a bit of onion is mixed in, then it’s placed on top of vinegar rice and nori ($40). This combination is a classic, but for some reason the balance of fat, salt, acid, and a slight burn from the onion is spectacular.
A word on tradition: if you are seated at the bar, it’s good form to offer a glass of sake to the chefs if you are having some yourself.
Plus, the next time you’re back, they’ll offer you the seasonal, off-the-menu goodies.
Sitting in the restaurant, you get the sense that everyone knows each other. Most people who eat here or at Kenjo’s become instant followers. A lot of that has to do with the quality of supplies and the spot-on service, but most importantly the attention given by its charismatic chefs. And their fans, in return, express their loyalty.
G/F, 110 –114 Tung Lo Wan Rd, Causeway Bay, 2398 8000. Daily noon-3pm, 6pm-11pm.
|Venue name:||Sushi Shin|
G/F, 110 –114 Tung Lo Wan Rd, Causeway Bay