This was a belated birthday dinner but it was still very special. My friend suggested we go to seki tei as she's been befre and recommended it for a quiet evening out for us 3 girls. The facade gave the impression of a discreet izakaya tucked between loud bars and overbearing neon lights. The restaurant was quite small but did not feel claustrophobic, with about 6-7 seats at the counter and about 8 or 9 tables, so roughly able to seat 26 or 27 people. The daily specials were up on a blackboard, as were other staples from the menu. The toilet was small but clean, and they tried to imitate Japanese bathroom amenities by putting out some hair wax and gel for those who need a touch up.
We ordered a lot of food, and everything was beautifully presented and very fresh. Our selection of sashimi was impressive, particulary the uni which looked like thick tongues piled on each other, and there was crispy seaweed to wrap it in to be consumed in one big, melt-in-your-mouth lump. The seaweed gave it a contrasting crispiness which made the uni taste even more briny and delicious. I'm not a big uni fan but even I have to admit it was pretty damn tasty. The botan ebi was fat and succulent, and the chef put the contents of the head onto a gunkan-maki. The whelk was super fresh and sliced extra thin (kudos to the chef) and retained its crunchy texture (as we say in Chinese - sok-sok-sang). The oyster was very fatty and juicy too, and there was a vinegar sauce to go with it.
Next up was the much coveted horse sashimi, which I happend to come across in a certain Good Eating mag today, and was anticipating my first taste of raw horse meat. The half portion of 8 pieces was absolute HEAVEN. The thin slices were cold at first, but once you dip it lightly into the garlicky vinegar and put it in your mouth, it just melts and disappears. The well marbled meat did not taste greasy at all, and I was so surprised that there was not a shred of fibre left after the meat dissolved on my tongue, just like that, and it was gone. (Google basashi and you'll find a website that reports a place in Tokyo's icecream city which sells basashi flavoured icecream. You really have to give it to the Japanese for being innovative.)
Next up was the squid in ink on a bed of julienne cucumbers, which was an interesting dish, but a little too salty for me. Then came a bunch of grilled stuff - hamachi head, fugu slices, eel, chicken cartilage, scallops, pumpkin cakes (pipping hot and lightly crispy on the outside, finely mashed and soft on the inside) and a very crispy onigiri with daikon condiments on the side. We dug into the hamachi head which was very tasty and moist even with the skin done to a perfect crispiness, and everything else was well executed and seasoned just right. We then added had a cold tofu (served on a plate, and not swimming in a bowl of ice water as done in other restaurants I've been to, which means the tofu isn't soggy and dripping and the water diluting the sauce that comes with it), and an Inaniwa udon that was super chilled and cooked al dente. The clams were large pieces of goodness but I found the soup a little overpowering with too much chives and parsley.
The waitresses were friendly and knowledgeable, and able to give us recommendations and suggested us to eat the food in a certain orde so as not to confuse the palate. The one thing they could improve on is getting the orders right - they gave us 2 onigiri in the same flavour when we asked for 2 flavours but 1 each, and they forgot our sardine sashimi but we were too full by the time realised that we cancelled the order.
Super big slices of uni
Head of botan ebi
Hamachi and squid in ink sauce
Grilled eel and scallop
Pumpkin cakes and chicken cartilage
Onigiri - salmon
Table Wait Time: 0 minute(s)
Date of Visit: Oct 21, 2010
Spending per head: Approximately HKD700(Dinner)Other Ratings:
Value for Money 4