2022-04-25 471 瀏覽
I grew up in Tin Hau and had witnessed the transformation of the area, in particular how the neighbourhood turned into a foodie heaven. Apart from street level, there are now also commercial buildings featuring multiple floors of restaurants. In fact, this renown teppanyaki restaurant is located in one of them, the Golden Wheel Plaza. I still remember it was last December when I made the reservation. But because of changes in social distancing requirements, this ended up being postponed a few ti
I grew up in Tin Hau and had witnessed the transformation of the area, in particular how the neighbourhood turned into a foodie heaven. Apart from street level, there are now also commercial buildings featuring multiple floors of restaurants. In fact, this renown teppanyaki restaurant is located in one of them, the Golden Wheel Plaza.
I still remember it was last December when I made the reservation. But because of changes in social distancing requirements, this ended up being postponed a few times as dinner was not available. With the relaxation of dinner service finally, it was with great anticipation we came on the night to this Michelin-starred restaurant, which had got the prestige for six years in a row so far.
Apart from the main dining room there are also two private rooms and upon arriving we were seated in one of those. The room could accommodate six diners, with a marble wall and some nice decorations as backdrop of the teppanyaki counter. Glancing up brought a big wow as the ceiling was painted with a beautiful drawing of Japanese cranes and plum blossoms.
Ordering the Omakase Menu ($2,280 each), the chef then came in to greet us. It was a happy surprise as it was owner and head chef Mok san himself who would be serving on the day! He introduced the ingredients on the night, including abalone, sea bream, lobster, oyster, eel, shark’s fin(!) and wagyu beef from Miyazaki. Seeing those fresh ingredients already started my mouth watering.
The appetizer was Hokkaido Scallop and Sea Urchin Sashimi. Both were sweet in taste, and instead of soy sauce, the chef had put some caviar on top to provide a bit of savoury seasoning, amazing in its matching. In addition, the shiso flowers added a fragrant note and further freshen up the whole experience. A very nice starter.
The second course was Japanese Abalone with Liver Sauce. After grilling briefly, Mok san removed the Hokkaido abalone from the shell, cutting away the mouth and then putting them on kelp to cook under lid, while taking the abalone liver to the kitchen to prepare a sauce with kelp and fish stock. He then cut the abalone into pieces, pouring the sauce to simmer briefly, before serving together with the kelp. The abalone was perfectly cooked, very tender in texture, with the liver sauce bringing forth the umami taste beautifully. The kelp was also wonderful in taste, absorbing the essence from the abalone an the sauce. A great dish.
Next was Steamed Japanese Oyster, an additional one from the normal dinner menu. Mok san explained that while the Hyogo oysters could be eaten raw, he preferred the taste after steaming. He put the oysters into the steamer, with some kelp on the bottom. Timing for the optimal readiness, the oysters were then shucked, and served with some yuzu shavings on top. The oyster was plump and juicy, perfectly cooked with a silky bite, with the yuzu shavings providing a refreshing touch to highlight its very sweet taste. Another great dish.
The fourth course was Amadai Fish with Sea Urchin Cream Sauce. Another of the signature, Mok san first lightly seasoned the sea bream and then wiped it dry, before putting into a pan with a thin layer of oil, skin down, covered with a cloth-wrapped lid. In this way the scales were deep-fried to crispiness, while the flesh was effectively steamed from the vapour, keeping it moist. The reason for having the lid cloth-wrapped was to avoid the condensed water dropping back into the pan, avoiding oil splashing and fluctuation of temperature. He shared the inspiration came from his Hakka neighbour when steaming rice cake. The cream sauce had sea urchin added to increase the umami, with seaweed and shiso flowers to further increase the complexity in flavour. A wonder with both crispy scales and moist flesh together on the same piece of fish, all finished in one single cooking process, a testimony of Mok san’s amazing skills, especially that throughout the process he could not see how the fish was cooking. A must-try experience.
The fifth course was Pan-fried Shark’s Fin with Crab Meat Sauce, another additional from the normal dinner menu. Mok san presented the large piece of shark’s fin that had been cooked with supreme broth beforehand, and then he pan-fried it on the teppan on both sides, before serving together with a sauce made from crab white and brown meat. The slight crunchy bite of the shark’s fin, infused with the flavours from the broth and supplemented with the delicate sweetness of the crab meat and mustard, was very delicious. The chef also shaved some dried caviar, like the Japanese salted mullet roes (Karasumi), on top to add some additional umami taste. It was a great fusion of traditional Chinese cuisine and ingredients with teppanyaki technique.
The sixth course was Lobster with Brown Meat Sauce. Mok san had removed the green-coloured brown meat from the lobster to make a cream sauce, with some tomatoes added. During cooking the sauce turned to a nice orange brown colour. Even though the French blue lobster was not as big as its Boston or Australian counterpart, I like the firmer texture and sweet taste, with the touch of melted butter giving a beautiful richness. The dried caviar shavings again provided additional umami notes. The chef also provided some green tea noodles on the side, allowing us to scoop up the last drop of the tasty sauce afterwards. Delicious.
The seventh course was another addition from the normal dinner menu. The Grilled Eel and Sea Urchin Hand Roll was phenomenal in taste, with Mok san first grilling the eel before heating the special sauce on pan to thicken and then pouring on top. At the same time he toasted the nori sheet on pan to crispiness. Cutting the eel into strips, he then added together some shari to the nori sheet, before scooping a generous amount of sea urchin on top to form a hand roll, finishing with sesame of different colours. The contrasting sensation of the cold sea urchin and hot grilled eel was amazing, with the creamy sea urchin super sweet and tasty, and the intense umami flavours of the eel matching wonderfully. Another must-try.
The eighth course was another highlight. The prime A-5 Miyazaki wagyu beef tenderloin was our favourite cut as it was lean and tender. And Mok san grilled it to my preferred medium rare, charred to crispness on the surface while still red on the inside. Cutting into bite sizes, he added some wasabi, Himalayan salt and deep-fried garlic slices as condiments. He even showed me his perfect combination with a bit of wasabi and a piece of garlic on top of the beef cube. Even after finishing all the pieces, I did not feel the fattiness. Really delicious.
Together with the wagyu beef, Mok san also prepared some Assorted Seasonal Vegetables, including grilled pumpkin and portobello mushroom, as well as stir-fried bean sprouts with Shanghai pak choi. Both the pumpkin and mushroom had its original flavours nicely highlighted through the grilling process, and the bean sprouts had retained its crunchy texture while the pak choi sufficiently cooked, again demonstrating the chef’s impeccable skills.
Mok san then made the final course - Fried Rice. The cooking process was another show. First, he stir-fried the finely chopped vegetables and whitebaits for a while, before adding the rice. Whisking the premium Japanese eggs and stir-frying on the side, he cut the eggs into small pieces before mixing, in order to keep the rice dry. He then added the toasted Sakura shrimps and chopped spring onion to finish. Served together pickles and miso soup containing the meaty claw of the blue lobster, this fried rice had the wonderful ‘high-temperature’ mouthfeel, nicely seasoned, and was a great finale to the meal. Fantastic to the end.
The Seasonal Fresh Fruit was Melon from Hokkaido, very sweet and juicy, great in cleansing the palate.
Some people might regard teppanyaki as simple cooking, it truly highlights the skills of the chef in picking the best ingredients, the right seasoning, and the control of temperature and timing. Seeing Mok san in action was a treat in many ways. He was also very friendly and talked with us all the while, allowing us to know him better, on where he lived and grew up, how he started his career many years ago in Yamato, his fond memories in Shangri-la, as well as his numerous hobbies. The bill on the night was $5,082 and for sure we would be visiting Mok san again in future.