Original, inventive Japanese-inspired dishes in Ocean Terminal.
Words Tiffany Chan Photos Samantha Sin
Decidedly Japanese – all beautiful wood and carefully chosen tableware – Haku is a calm respite from the insufferable maze of a mall that is Harbour City. A collaborative effort between Japanese chef Hideaki Matsuo of three-Michelin-starred Kashiwaya in Osaka (the Hong Kong branch has two stars) and Argentinian chef Agustin Balbi, formerly of The Ocean in Repulse Bay, the restaurant specialises in Japanese kappou cuisine with a modern touch. The best seats in the house are at the centre of the elevated chef ’s table (the fifth and sixth seats from the left, to be exact), with front-row views of Balbi and his team working their magic in the open, and spotlessly clean kitchen.
Balbi starts the evening with a wham with the prettiest amuse-bouches. Pickled beetroot is rolled so it almost resembles fruit leather and nestled in the core of a red rose. A nori cone is filled with dashi cream and bursts with umami. From the menu, we start with an enormous, meaty Fukuoka oyster ($168), topped with yuzukosho and green apple granita, and garnished with sansho pepper leaf, which leaves the slightest numbing sensation on the tongue. Uni toast ($348) is everything we hoped it would be. Creamy slabs of Hokkaido uni perch on thick brioche – which isn’t really brioche at all; it’s lighter and fluffier, more like panettone – slathered in roasted eggplant and red miso cream. Next, chutoro fatty tuna tartare, mixed with Polmard beef and topped generously with Kristal caviar ($488), is the ultimate indulgence. The oiliness of the fish just coats the inside of the mouth, and the beef is beautifully sweet. We spoon it onto the rice tuile, which adds just the right amount of crunch. To end, the Amanatsu orange ($108) with layers of orange granita, Hokkaido yogurt foam and Cointreau panna cotta is a perfect palate refresher.
We’re calling it – this was one of the most memorable meals we’ve had in 2017. At just 29 years old, the seriously talented Balbi never fails to surprise with his consistently original food. We’re not fans of the location, but if anything could draw us back to Harbour City, it’s Haku. For dinner, expect to pay $1,000 per person, without wine, which is fair by Hong Kong standards, especially given the quality of the meal. e restaurant is set to open in mid-July.
Spending: an a la carte menu is available and diners can get away with paying just over $1,000pp (depending on what you order), though we suggest trying the tasting menus: the four-course lunch sets are $288; $388 and $420, and the dinner tasting menu is $1,380.
Highlights: Japanese tomatoes with kamasu and bellota ham ($148); Hokkaido uni with eggplant on brioche ($388); and Kagoshima wagyu with eringi and baby kabu ($488)
What else: sit at the chef’s table if you can, otherwise there’s also a private room that seats up to eight.
Shop OT G04B, Ocean Terminal, Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui
Tel: 2115 9965