Japanese omakase restaurant Kishoku is currently in its fifth year and while it has made its name with its authentic omakase [chef’s selection] offerings, this winter it is launching a Winter Hotpot Dinner set meal.
Where is it?
The restaurant is tucked away on a street behind the Times Square shopping mall in the city’s Causeway Bay district, near Causeway Bay MTR exit A. It’s on the fifth floor of the Bigfoot Centre on Yiu Wa Street, which can make it tricky to spot, so keep your eyes open for the sign above the entranceway. Travellers staying at the Excelsior Hotel in Causeway Bay can walk to the restaurant in about 15 minutes, while those in the Renaissance Hong Kong Harbour View Hotel or the Grand Hyatt Hong Kong can get there on foot in about 20 minutes.
Kishoku is an intimate dining venue, with most of its spaces cordoned off into booths just past the sliding door that marks the entrance. Beyond that is the most communal part of the restaurant, a high-top counter that surrounds a live cooking station with fresh cuts of fish on display, with space for approximately a dozen people. For groups wanting a more private experience, a room with space for about eight people is located at the back.
The restaurant is well lit and the light brown woods used in the interior give it an authentic and somewhat vibrant atmosphere.
While Kishoku is known as an omakase restaurant, we sampled its new Winter Hotpot Dinner set menu, which is currently running until January 30, 2018. This set includes a total of seven dishes, with prices varying depending on the type of hotpot selected – HK$880 per person for the Chicken Hotpot and HK$1,080 per person for the Wagyu Beef Sukiyaki Hotpot. Most dishes are served individually rather than communal style, with each person able to get their choice of hotpot, however groups have to number at least four people. The menu needs two days’ advance booking in order to prepare.
The set begins with a chilled miso toro (tuna) appetiser, which comes in a covered bowl with smoke in it that leaves the fish with a great smokey flavour to it. Meanwhile, the small edible pink flowers add a nice floral kick to the dish.
This is followed by a large sashimi platter – one of the dishes shared between two people – that features five items, including shimaji horse mackerel, crab (this really melts in the mouth), scallops, kinki (fish) and oysters. This is where the set meal’s autumnal and winter theme particularly begins to come through in the design of the dishes, with small twigs and yellow leaves adorning the plate.
Next comes the hotpot. The chicken hotpot has an opaque, white soup which is tasty, but we heartily recommend the Wagyu beef hotpot, which has a delicious, slightly sweet soya soup base. The hotpots themselves are all individual and have small flames beneath them to keep them warm (the soup can also be topped up), and diners dip the meat in themselves to cook it. Both hotpots also come with an onsen egg for dipping the meat in before eating – we also recommend adding the egg to the soup once it is finished to create a fluffy scrambled egg mixture.
After the hotpot comes a sea urchin and seafood stone pot rice (the seafood portion comprises shrimp, scallops, oysters, akagai clams and fish eggs). If you’re not a fan of wasabi there can be quite a bit to pick past, but otherwise this is a delicious dish with melt-in-your-mouth sea urchin (uni), lightly seared scallops and ikura (fish roe) that burst in your mouth when you bite into them.
The final savoury dish of the set menu is the madai fish soup, followed by dessert, which comprises persimmon pear and a crunchy strawberry roll.
If, however, you are looking to sample some of Kishoku’s other non-set menu dishes, here are a few we tried and can recommend: the signature toro “sandwich” – two thick, juicy pieces of fish with caviar and gold flakes that are wrapped in a piece of seaweed; crispy balls of toro wrapped around minced toro and mozzarella with caviar, which come sitting in a nest of twigs like a bird’s egg; or the sushi platter of kinmetai fish, samekarei fish toped with fish liver, and Wagyu sushi with foie gras.
Kishoku recently partnered with renowned local mixologist Antonio Lai, the mind behind popular cocktail bars Origin and Quinary (the latter regularly features on Drinks International’s The World’s 50 Best Bars list), to develop a series of bespoke gins. Each of the five London dry gins are infused with a different ingredient – grapefruit, lemon, shiso, cucumber and earl grey – making for a superb gin and tonic flight if you’re looking to sample more than one. The shiso gin and tonic is particularly worth trying.
Both the food and drinks at Kishoku are exquisite, and it’s clear that careful consideration has been made not only in the preparation of the dishes but also in the concepts behind them. Its range of signature gins also will make any gin-lover excited, though unfortunately you can’t buy individual bottles to take home at the moment. While the set is quite pricey, the range and quality of the dishes you get for what you pay is worth it, and is a great way to impress potential business partners.
Price: HK$880+ (chicken hotpot); HK$1,080 (Wagyu beef sukiyaki hotpot)
Contact: 5th floor, Bigfoot Centre, 38 Yiu Wa Street, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong; tel: 2893 0333; kishoku.hk