Walking along the bustling sidewalks of Soho’s Staunton Street, you’d be forgiven for overlooking the minimalist wood facade of Sushi Yonjugo, the newest Japanese eatery courtesy of Infinity Entertainment Group. But don’t let its subtle entrance fool you, because inside you’ll find one of the finest omakase restaurants to be had in the SAR. And, as any discerning diner is aware, this is quite a claim indeed.
Helming the small, brightly appointed 9-seater is Chef Milton Lau, a 35-year veteran of the art of Edomae-style sushi who has honed his craft with stints in Japan, Italy, the US and Australia. Under his guidance, the ever-changing tasting menu offers even experienced epicureans new culinary treats with every visit. For the uninitiated, omakase (roughly translating to ‘leave it up to you’) is a Japanese meal where each and every dish is selected by the chef without any set menu.
To ensure the consistency of his high-calibre offerings, Chef Lau is up well before the sun. “I speak to Japan’s best producers at 4am every morning and make sure that the high-quality ingredients are transported to our restaurant by 10am,” he explains. What results is an expansive experience that spans some 18 to 19 separate courses, available for both lunch (HK$1,580 per person) and dinner (HK$2,280 per head).
Charismatic and attentive, the personable chef started off our own tasting with the impressively plated Hanasaki Crab. A deliciously refreshing appetiser that’s just perfect to beat the summer heat, it featured chilled shredded meat topped with whole slivers of crab laced enticingly with a rich roe sauce that imparted a lovely rich texture – a guaranteed hit with any fan of this luxurious shellfish.
Next to arrive was the Tuna Jaw, an unusual section of what is perhaps the most popular sushi fish in the world. Rather than being served raw, the jaw, in this instance, was thoroughly cooked, doing away with the strong oceanic notes and replacing them with a gelatinous, almost meaty consistency that was as surprising as it was welcome. Accompanying the plate was a selection of condiments – lemon, spicy shredded radish, lemon and soy sauce – all heightening the tuna’s inherent flavour with aplomb.
Following this, we were served a series of freshly prepared sushi. Once again, Chef Lau revealed the depth of his seafood knowledge, eschewing commonly found fish in favour of more exotic fare. First, there was the Baby Sardine Sushi, a buttery and creamy concoction that emanates just a hint of smoky bitterness. Then, we sampled the Baraccuda Sushi, whose freshly grilled flesh was given a dash of richness thanks to a sprinkle of dried egg roe. Rounding out the trio was the Omi Wagyu Sushi, all melt-in-your-mouth umami goodness.
Last but certainly not least, the final standout of our tasting was undoubtedly the Italy-inspired Tuna Carpaccio. Light and refreshing, it possesses a tangy creaminess that is somewhat tempered with the judicious addition of seaweed rolls. A self-confessed homage to his years in Italy, this unique fusion of East-meets-West is proof positive that experimentation – when done well – can yield results far greater than the sum of its parts.
G/F, 35B Staunton Street, Central.
(852) 3689 1045
(Text and photo : Tenzing Thondup)