Hongkongers are spoilt for choice when it comes to Japanese food. In particular in the area where I live – Causeway Bay/Wan Chai – you could probably eat at a different Japanese joint every day for a few months. That said, most Japanese places, while quality varies, offer pretty much the same old: sashimi, sushi, yakitori. Wanting something special for dinner tonight, I Googled and found a really random Izakaya round the corner from home that serves Okinawan grub. I’ve never been to the southern Japanese island nor tried any food from there, so I was interested to have a taste.
Ku-suya Rakuen is situated in a building brimming with mostly Japanese restaurants on a random food-filled street in Causeway Bay. I’d walk past the street many times and dined there twice – at a Viet and a waffles place – but never ventured into this building. I’m glad we did tonight.
We got a bar seat, which overlooked an extensive selection of awamori, a type of alcohol unique to Okinawa, and many other types of Japanese alcohol such as sochu and sake. If you do visit this restaurant in a party of two, I highly recommend getting a bar seat. Oh and reservations are a must. The restaurant is cosy and has a really chilled and casual vibe. Diners, mainly locals and Japanese, speak in hushed tones – something rare for this city, especially in a small restaurant! Overall the atmosphere was fantastic if good conversation over good food is what you’re seeking.
My friend, being relatively new to Hong Kong and Asia, was keen to try a variety of things. It’s great that the portion sizes aren’t huge at Rakuen. We ordered:
- Sea grapes (green caviar) – it’s really seaweed that looks like caviar and goes pop in your mouth; very refreshing and great for cleansing the palate.
- Peanut tofu – made from boiled peanut extract and flour that combines to form a tofu-like blob (that also looks like mozzarella). Friend who dislikes tofu thought it was yummy.
- Fried lotus root chips – served with salt and sweet chilli sauce, this was SOOO good.
- Eggplant in miso – another dish we really liked.
- Steamed clams in sake – this was flavourful but I’m not a big fan of clams to begin with.
- Three types of Kobe beef – amazing marbling that made for really succulent beef, which you grill yourself on a very cool stone top grill.
- Okinawa cold soba – really unique, never had something like that before, al dente noodles in a chilling and refreshing light broth. Love.
- Black sugar ice cream with sesame crusted yam balls – for dessert, I liked the yam balls, he liked the ice cream.
I didn’t have any alcohol but he had a couple of beers and a glass of awamori, which he said tasted like sake. Probably should go with someone who drinks if you want to enjoy your dinner to the fullest!
Overall we both agreed it was a delicious meal and would go back, since we were eyeing grub from other guests’ tables! Now I really want to make that trip to Okinawa.
Ku-suya Rakuen 古酒家-樂宴
12/F Circle Tower
28 Tang Lung Street
Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 3580 0915
Hours: Mon to Sat 6pm to 2am; Sun 6pm to midnight