Kamon isn’t afraid to get a little saucy – all while making the most of its raw ingredients
Teppanyaki isn’t simply a meal. It’s also a performance.
The Japanese style of cooking food over an iron griddle in front of diners is famous for its theatrics, and the skilful way the chefs prepare the meals borders on martial art.
The grand finale, though, is the taste test – and it’s one that Kamon restaurant passes with flying colours. Joining the ranks of many esteemed fusion eateries in Causeway Bay, the Tang Lung Street restaurant injects a degree of French influence and finesse into the culinary tradition of teppanyaki.
With a name that translates roughly to “home door”, Kamon certainly gives off a homey vibe with its inviting, ocean-themed decor. It also boasts stunning harbour views, which are best enjoyed when the restaurant’s half-balcony is open – weather permitting.
Kamon is the first restaurant for founder Harry Yu, who previously worked for KPMG – a Big Four accounting firm – for two decades. Needless to say, his foray into dining was quite a bold departure.
“I just like eating,” he says with a laugh when asked why he made the switch. It’s clear, though, that Kamon wasn’t opened on a whim. The level of thought that went into the restaurant’s design, ingredients and dishes is apparent.
Almost all of the ingredients are imported fresh from Japan, right down to the garlic. This extra step makes all the difference, especially when it comes to raw fish. Kamon’s sashimi platter features three kinds of seafood: tuna, white snapper and king prawn. The slightly sweet, fruity sauce covering the prawns offers a nice contrast to the simple, natural flavours of the snapper and tuna.
Even the wasabi is made fresh. Where other restaurants serve up a dark green, powdery substance that packs an overpowering punch – usually horseradish masquerading as wasabi – Kamon’s offering is light in flavour and melts on the tongue.
Perhaps the restaurant’s signature achievement was its ability to secure a rare silver lobster press made by Christofle, of which only a few exist in the world. The press, valued at over HK$1 million, is also the first to be brought to Asia.
Not for the faint of heart, the lobster is cooked alive on the grill, until it is soft enough for the press. Once it’s placed into the press – which takes two people and a bit of brawn to operate – the lobster essence can be extracted and mixed with lobster paste, homemade seasonings and other fresh ingredients. The result is a delicious sauce which is mixed into a bed of peppers, onions and shimeji mushrooms and topped with the succulent lobster tail.
Another standout dish on the menu is the Japanese abalone. It’s cooked to medium rare over the grill, and then the meat is removed in order to extract the liver juice, which is repurposed onto the plate beside the abalone, which by that point has been fully cooked and sliced. The peppery, flavour-packed sauce elevates the flavours of the abalone and pairs well with the refreshing Japanese seaweed that’s served on the side.
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Following that is another fresh catch: an amadai (snapper). The fish is pan-fried in hot oil with the skin still attached on one side, creating a crunchy layer that contrasts well with the flaky meat inside.
As evidenced already, Kamon isn’t afraid to get a little saucy – all while making the most of its raw ingredients. The sauce for the amadai is prepared by boiling the bones of the fish for two hours, and then adding carrots and other ingredients to the mix. After generously drizzling sauce onto the plate, the fish is plated next and topped with a Japanese shishito pepper, surrounded by pale purple flower buds. The colourful dish is not only a feast for the eyes, but also for the taste buds. Luckily, a spoon has been provided to scoop up every drop of the sauce, which is somewhat akin to a creamy carrot soup.
While seafood is clearly the star of the show at Kamon, the restaurant also offers other standout dishes. The Miyazaki A5 wagyu beef with wasabi, English salt and Japanese garlic comes highly recommended, as does the smoked Iberico pork chop.
You’ll want to try Kamon for its emphasis on fresh, innovative ingredients. And you’ll be sure to return for its homey atmosphere and overall dining experience.
Text: Emily Petsko