FIRST IMPRESSIONS: Despite its location on the lower ground floor of Eaton Hotel, one never gets the impression of a dark and brooding atmosphere. In fact, Yagura in ancient Japanese means “turret”. However, designers SALT Tokyo and KKS International Hongkong collaborated to produce a stylish dining space where traditional and contemporary Japan fuses seamlessly.
Five eating areas are thoughtfully delineated with subtle lighting: the sushi counter, ko-agari area with a solid wood table and small moss garden, the general seating Yagura zone featuring wooden columns and beams, tempura counter and a semi-private room, shut off by a wooden framed sliding wall.
The culinary culture here follows the izakaya Japanese manner of dining, where a variety of dishes are chosen in a random fashion by the guests and shared.
THE FOOD: Chef Nagano is not only a 21-year veteran of Japanese and Pan-Asian kitchens, but a talented artist as well. His creative sushi rolls such as the Yat Tung Heen Roll with roasted crispy Peking duck and Hoi Sin sauce from the hotel’s Chinese restaurant of the same name, Crunchy Roll with Prawn Tempura and Sesame Seeds and Unagi Roll with Eel, Cream Cheese and Black Capelin Roe ask to be admired when presented on dishes of unique shapes and textures before being devoured by eager appetites. The Wagyu Rolls, hugging juicy asparagus spears, were at once both tender and crunchy, an experience we look forward to repeating.
DRINKS: Highly allergic to alcohol, we could not enjoy Yagura’s private label sake, The Hidden Oasis, produced by the venerable house of Nakano of Nagoya. But our colleague Kenny Coyle assured us it was “refreshing” stuff.
SERVICE: The wait staff is well briefed about the menu selections and unobtrusive in clearing the table. PRICES: The set lunch is priced from HK$88 (US$11) to HK$148 (US$19) per person without drinks. An à-la-carte meal for two could be around HK$300 (US$38) or HK$500 (US$64) for dinner, excluding drinks.
VERDICT: Very authentic Japanese.
CONTACT: Lower Ground, Eaton Hotel Hongkong, 380 Nathan Road, tel 852 2710 1010, www.yagura.com.hk.
Lunch is from 1200 to 1500 (1430 last order); dinner is from 1800 to 2400 (2330 last order).
Margie T Logarta