6/F, Jardine Centre, 50 Jardine’s Bazaar, CW
I had toast again for dinner yesterday, so that might explain why I’m feeling rather blasé about my recent food ‘conquests’ (read: how to stop your toaster from incinerating all that you condemn to its steel jaws). Since it’s a Thursday, I shall invoke the popular hashtag #throwbackthursday to introduce Xenri No Tsuki Japanese Cuisine on the HK numb today.
Xenri No Tsuki (千里之月鮨旬菜) has been around for a while, consistently living up to its name by Openricers, food bloggers, and unpublished foodies (aka the silent heroes) alike. I myself visited on April 3rd (the boyfriend’s birthday ha ha, couldn’t forget that date now could I…) and we were dying for a sushi fix. This was supposedly the place.
The almost prurient plates of melt-in-your-mouth toro and crunchy ebi-head seemed to be crawling into my camera lens (and later, my mouth) on all fours, like a Terry Richardson shoot with Miley Cyrus – traversing that fine line between art and just plain traumatizing. I suppose my subject matter by comparison was leaning towards the former, although if I had stuffed any more sushi into my poor first-world belly I would have been in distress.
Please forgive me for not remembering some details. As an amuse bouche, we were presented with a dried/cured fish on shiso leaf, with what I believe was a Kewpie mayo dressing; kidney beans; and pickled vegetables. Nice. Nothing special.
G/F, 3 Thomson Road, Wanchai
This Japanese crab restaurant, situated on a quiet corner on Thomson Road, offers something few restaurants in Hong Kong can; a gustatory journey singling out three exceptionally sweet crab species flown in fresh from Japan, without letting you leave until you realise absolutely the true meaning of gastronomic hedonism. Ceasing our hunger may have been a priority at the start of that night – a state that must first and foremost be satisfied, I do not argue there. However, after a course of sweet and succulent grilled King Taraba crab legs with Kani-su, or crab vinegar, and a third course of crispy tempura claws and a Matcha (green tea) salt, and a shabu shabu set featuring various joints of the crab to be plunged into a hot ponzu-like bath, finally to end the crab “nose-to-tail” eating with a fifth course of crab roe rice.. well, the state of being full was almost a non sequitur. The biological urge to nourish ourselves was quickly passed over and replaced, almost just as naturally, by a decadently bent motivation to pleasure our palates with crab, crab and more crab.
Kanizen keeps one eye on the traditional, and the other eye on the future – but both are on the culinary ball. A first impression of the front exterior – defined, clean lines, dark woods and elegant block signage with no windows – admittedly, all seems rather solemn. And then, one press of a button outside slides the large wooden panel back, revealing a foyer featuring a concrete pool of fresh Japanese crab varieties – Matsuba, Taraba, Kegari; what was once solemn now becomes decor meticulousness exuding sexiness via seafood. Another automated wooden panel opens to the main dining section, with a U-shaped bar for crepuscular foodies like Andrew and I to sit and be allured by all manners of crustacean temptations. We went for Mr. Big: the King crab, or Taraba (鱈場蟹).