鮮甜，有辣勁的蕃茄咖哩．正！提議單點較抵食． Tomato Curry: Refreshing change from normal Japanese curry. A la carte is more reasonable than set.
We were just browsing the Hung Hom area and walking around the food plaza. The udon shop we wanted to try had already folded! "Kitchen J" was just next to the shop and was found out that it belonged to the "Watami" group, so we figure it should be a bit safe.
It was 1:30p.m. so we didn't need to queue. A look at the menu placed outside the shop front revealed that curry and cutlets seemed to be the highlights.
The restaurant was relatively spacious and brightly lit. The tables were reasonably spaced apart though some tables in the middle of the restaurant were more cramped. The nice thing was that a lot of baby chair were available so parents don't need to worry.
The menu was very comprehensive with lots of photos and in Chinese, English and Japanese. It had curry sets, cutlet sets, rice sets, a lot of a la carte dishes (reminds me of their mother group Watami - a bit of a jack-of-all-trades with decent quality for most dishes).
飲品似乎幾抵．$38 1/2 Red Wine! 送咖哩，正！
飲品似乎幾抵．$38 1/2 Red Wine! 送咖哩，正！...
The drinks and desserts are worth noting. Pretty reasonably priced alcohol, especially the HK$38 per small bottle of red wine. Not a bad idea to go with the curry and red meat!
These non-alcoholic drinks looked very nice as well.
The (American) parfait Ice cream looked pretty good. My wife returned about a week later with her friends to try this out. She said the KJ Parfait was very nice. A decent place for relaxed girl talk during tea time.
太太與朋友Girls Talk 後讚好．
太太與朋友Girls Talk 後讚好．...
~ Japanese curry ~ Level up!
My wife likes Japanese curry a lot. However, I have never been too excited about it. It's just something we make at home if we want a casual, hassle-free dinner. When it comes to curry, I prefer the "real deal", i.e. Indian curry or the distinctive Hong Kong style curry. However, my attention was drawn to the tomato curry provided . It looked very interesting! I don't think I've ever tried Japanese curry made with tomato before. It stated that it was made with more than 10 or 15 different types of herbs?!
I chose a curry pork cutlet set and my wife chose a omlette rice curry set. The sets came with a bowl of soup and a salad. It was HK$98 per set.
Now we get to the interesting part: customizable curry!
You can customize all curry dishes. You could choose between "KJ Tomato Curry" and "KJ Original Curry". You could also specify the level of spiciness. I have to say I haven't tried any Japanese curry, including the homemade varieties and those provided at Japanese restaurants not specializing in curries, that made me "sweat" - figuratively and literally. So I was a bit tempted to order the maximum level.
On the other hand, the description of the Level 3 spiciness was a bit intimidating:
"Spiciness level: Infinity ~ Do give it a try."
In fact, it's the lack of description that's scary.
I'm just here for a meal and not a for a challenge, so being prudent, I chose level two.
My wife chose the "Original Curry" and sensibly, "Normal".
We also ordered a cutlet scallop and a cutlet croquette.
The food arrived in about 10 minutes time. First about the scallop and croquette:
The croquette was very nice. Decent size and very creamy. A little bit bigger than those at "Saboten" but the cream wasn't that strong. Slightly oily but not bad.
However, the batter for both the croquette and the cutlet scallop was very average. A canteen style batter, i.e. bread crumbs and flour without much flavour and texture, you could get in any non-specialist shops. It's not soft and tender enough (like some tempura) to fully wrap the whole scallop tightly nor was it crispy enough to give you the tasty crunchy feeling.
Neither of those were hot enough and the bread crumbs had no taste. Nowhere near the Japanese cutlet specialists such as "Tonkichi", "Romankan Yokohama", "Saboten" and "Ginza Bairin".
吉列帶子 及 可樂: ok 皮不夠鬆化但帶子鮮甜，忌廉ok
吉列帶子 及 可樂: ok 皮不夠鬆化但帶子鮮甜，忌廉ok...
On the other hand, even though the batter wasn't that good, the freshness and taste of the scallop was surprisingly better than those at "Saboten"! Meaty and juicy. Very nice scallop taste! Nice!
However, i still think "Romankan Yokohama" is best when it comes to cutlet scallops. My wife still also prefers Romankan as well (probably cos it's more romantic).
It's also interesting to see that they used a whole scallop, including the side of the scallop, which is quite chewy and adds taste to the scallop. All in all, no complaints.
Now we come to the set meals :
Pork cutlet curry set:
Omelet rice curry set:
First things first, the salad had no dressing whatsoever. We had to ask the staff to give us the Japanese dressing. They seemed a bit shocked when we asked for it and they didn't seem to know what to do at first. Eventually, someone knew what we wanted and brought a small dish of dressing to us. It was barely sufficient but anyway, the vegetables, chopped up lettuce, tomato and sweet corn, weren't too fresh. Not recommended.
The tamago soup (egg soup with spring onions) was way too salty. I like strong flavours but even I though it was too salty. We could barely finish the soup. Not recommended.
I strongly suggest you skip the set and give yourself a 30% discount off the price (if I remember correctly, just the curry is HK$60, which is reasonable for the quality).
However, my tomato curry was very good! ~ Tomato Curry! ~
This was spicy! Tomato adds a layer of sweetness and just greatly enhanced the complexity of the whole dish. Quite different from most Japanese curries, which were quite mild. This was quite powerful and a bit similar to Indian curries mixed with Japanese curry, plus tomato essence. There were at least two different types of mushrooms All in all, a very good "fusion". A lot spicier than the level two curry I had at Izumi. The taste was a lot more complex and aromatic at Kitchen J. Most importantly, I think the curry here was made or pork and/or chicken instead of beef, like at Izumi. Recommended.
The rice had a very nice texture and was aromatic. It was neither too soggy nor too dry. Just right. Again, much better than the rice I had at Izumi curry, which I find too watery, soggy and completely devoid of rice taste.
The batter of the pork cutlets were much much better than the scallop and the croquette. The colour was nice and it was crunchy. Nothing spectacular but the quality was very decent. The batter was crispy and not too oily. The pork cutlets were a bit lean but still tender and had pork taste to it. Mixed very well with the curry and rice!
~ Original ~
My wife's original curry was also very good! The texture was a bit more similar to Izumi but the taste was lighter, fresher and sweeter. I believe they used a lot more vegetables stock than most curry shops (e.g. Izumi and Go Go Curry) when making their curry thus the fresher taste. However, even the normal level had a bit of a punch to it!
The only quibble we had was that the nameko mushrooms were not cut properly so it's in quite big chunks and rather messy to eat. The chicken chunks were very tender as well!
The rice was equally nice.
The omelette had a lot of egg taste, plus a bit of salt, pepper and a bit of margarine. The egg was very tender. I was quite happy with this egg omelette and I think they could hold their own even in the face of omelet rice specialists shops (including those I've tried in Japan e.g. Pomu no ki - オムライス専門店,「ポムの樹」). Definitely better than the bland and watery (as opposed to eggy) omelet I tried at Izumi.
The bill came down to HK$271. I'd say it's not cheap if you order sets. I will definitely recommend ordering just the curry rice without the set. I think it's more reasonable a la carte, i.e. HK$60.
- The tomato curry was a very refreshing change from the norm. The spiciness was definitely similar to Indian curry than the average Japanese variety. Recommended. - The original curry, even at normal level, is quite hot. Beware! Not to be underestimated. The omelette was smooth and had egg taste. - The batter of the cutlet scallop and croquette were very average stuff. The scallop however was not bad. Not especially recommended though as the price is not cheap. - The tamago soup was way too salty ( I did tell the restaurant about that so I hope they've improved) and the salad was not very fresh. So I recommend just going for the curry and not the set. - Good service and pretty spacious interior.
All in all, worth a try!
蕃茄咖哩：很有蕃茄的鮮甜，又有香料味．（二級：辛黨之選）夠辣，比Izumi 的 ”二分”辣起碼一倍！最重要的是好像不是用牛來熬的．沒有Izumi 及Go Go curry 那麼濁（視乎個人起好）．很有野菜精華及香料味．應該用了豬肉或雞肉來熬．推介！