DINING OUT


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DINING OUT

SUSHI YOSHITAKE 鮨よしたけ

An eight-seat sushi bar serves intimate omakase straight out of Tokyo.

Even before it officially opened, Sushi Yoshitake was creating a buzz … among Hong Kong’s sushi lovers. The Tokyo branch opened in
Ginza in 2009 and quickly earned three Michelin stars under the guidance of head chef Masahiro Yoshitake. Tucked inside the Mercer
Hotel, Hong Kong’s tiny eight-seat outlet is decorated simply, with a lone sushi bar crafted from pale Japanese cedar running the length of the
room. Perched on plush stools at the bar, lucky diners can watch chef Yoshitake and his talented sous chef, Yoshiharu Kakinuma, in action.

Yoshitake says he has always wanted to serve high-end traditional Edomae-style sushi, and that won’t change just because he’s gone international.

“Nothing has changed with the restaurant here,” he says. “I want to continue to make my original style of sushi rather than replicate the style that is more common in Hong Kong. I’m eager to bring my skill, tastes and technique to the world and I’m very excited to be starting the expansion in this city.”

He says he chose Hong Kong because of its proximity to Japan. “I can still get fresh fish easily. Compared to other cities, such as New York, Hong Kong was the logical decision because it is more convenient to get quality ingredients.”

He takes quality very seriously. The fish was some of the freshest we’ve ever tasted. Our omakase did not include many cooked dishes, instead
focusing on the excellence of the seafood’s natural flavour. Yoshitake infuses creativity into each course with some subtlety, as you might expect from an omakase meal with a with a minimum spend of $2,500.

“I try my best everyday in the kitchen, so I need a customer who appreciates Japanese food,” Yoshitake explains of his cuisine and high price point. “We serve real Japanese-style sushi in the most traditional sense. We use high-end products and ingredients for their ability to make quality dishes. We get top-level fish straight from Japan; the same fish that we use in our restaurant in Ginza [where the omakase is only $200 cheaper than in Hong Kong].

“Once the fish arrives, we spend a lot of time prepping each dish for the omakase. Our dishware comes from a famous artist in Kyushu. Our
knives are of the best quality. Basically, everything is as high-end as possible, and I truly believe that is what sets us apart from the rest.”

Abalone

One of the few cooked dishes in the omakase, the abalone is braised in special water, sake and seaweed. Yoshitake uses only three kinds of abalone, including madaka, the most expensive abalone in the world. It has an exceptionally rich texture and comes with a pungent sauce made from the abalone liver that enhances the creaminess of the dish. Soak up the leftover sauce with a ball of vinegary sushi rice, “Japanese risotto”

Bonito

One of the few cooked dishes in the omakase, the abalone is braised in special water, sake and seaweed. Yoshitake uses only three kinds of abalone, including madaka, the most expensive abalone in the world. It has an exceptionally rich texture and comes with a pungent sauce made from the abalone liver that enhances the creaminess of the dish. Soak up the leftover sauce with a ball of vinegary sushi rice, “Japanese risotto”


Rockfish

A type of snapper, the rockfish at Yoshitake is salted and wrapped in kelp to remove any unpleasant flavours in the fish and to infuse
good taste. It is presented on sushi rice mixed with red vinegar made from sake and cooked in a hagama rather than an electric cooker. All it needs is a brush of Yoshitake’s special soy. We were encouraged to use our hands to eat the dish – wholesome white fish with a pleasant degree of fattiness.

Uni

We’re a sucker for uni, but Yoshitake’s had us closing our eyes and revelling in its perfection. Fresh from Hokkaido, the uni is the highest
quality and most expensive available. We were also served uni pudding: eggs and sweet uni are combined, steamed and covered with a jelly-like top layer made from a dashi broth mixed with soy. The pudding benefits from yet another topping of fresh sea urchin, seaweed and a dash of wasabi.

Toro

Chu toro (rear of the tuna) was followed by ootoro (tuna belly) from a Tokyo fish market supplier who sets aside the best tuna from
Oma in Aomori prefecture, known for producing some of Japan’s most highly prized tuna. Richly coloured and perfectly marbled, the fish looked
almost like beef. Our mouthful was over too fast, with the fish melting incredibly quickly because of its high fat content, leaving us wanting more.

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