Rating: ★★★★☆

Address: 12/F, Jardine Center, 50 Jardine’s Bazaar, Causeway Bay 銅鑼灣渣甸街50號渣甸中心12樓

Telephone: 2882 2107

Just like how you would go to Central, Soho or Sheung Wan for Western food, when it comes to Japanese cuisine, Causeway Bay is filled with excellent haunts. Tenzen, in Jardine Center, is a favourite amongst me and my friends. Helmed by Head Chef and co-owner Ethan Lam, Tenzen is a sophisticated yet cosy restaurant serving fresh sashimi and a selection of classic, non-fussy Japanese dishes, at very reasonable prices.

G, a sake-lover, was delighted to find Born sake on the menu, which was apparently a really enjoyable drink. (A blog, Tokyo through the drinking glass, has an entry on Born sake).

(1) We started off with Steamed Clams in Sake Broth ($120). Supple, inviting clams were cooked in a warm, aromatic sake broth, with the sake bringing out the clams’ sea fresh flavours.

(2) A serving of moreish Soft Shell Crab Roll ($70) followed. The soft shell crab has been fried to a beautiful brown colour – a little bit too brown perhaps – but it made for the perfect companion for our sake.

(3) We ordered a plate of Assorted Sushi ($200) to share, and the fish were all pristine and fresh and the sushi rice was also faultless.

(4) A Deluxe Assorted Sushi ($300) platter arrived, and the toro sushi were the most memorable, with the alluring fatty taste of toro lingering in the mouth long after we swallowed.

(5) A Japanese meal feels incomplete without some Assorted Tempura ($120), so a portion of it was ordered. The batter could have been lighter and more airy, but the prawns were gorgeously springy and tasty.

(6) The Enoki Mushrooms Rolled with Beef ($120) was delicious, with a hearty layer of grilled beef wrapped around Enoki mushrooms which have absorbed all the meaty flavours from the beef.

(7) The grilled Beef Tongue ($60) had an appealingly chewy texture, and was scrumptiously seasoned with black pepper which accentuated the beef tongue’s vibrant and tangy flavours.

(8) The Chicken Cartilage ($40) was equally addictive, and the grilling process gave the chicken cartilage a magnificent smoky flavour and a gorgeously crunchy outer layer.

(9) I have always been fond of the dried blow fish at Sushi Kuu, but now I realised that the Dried Blow Fish Marinated with Mirin ($90) at Tenzen was a winner too! Dried flow fish is always great to nibble on, and at Tenzen, they have marinated the blow fish in Mirin which gave it an enticing, sweet flavour and made it even more yummy!   

(10) The waitress asked if we wanted some Ice Cream ($30) for dessert, and when asked what flavours were available (as it didn’t say on the menu), she said, “we have a lot of flavours”. Traditional flavours, such as Green Tea and Tofu, were to be found.

More unusual flavours, such as Red Bean, Yuzu and Chestnut, were also available. My friend R adored the red bean ice cream as she found this flavour hard to come across at Japanese restaurants these days, while I found the Yuzu sorbet absolutely refreshing! The chestnut ice cream reminded me of chestnut paste (on cakes), in a good way.

Conclusion: Tenzen is an excellent, understated restaurant in the heart of Causeway Bay. Besides their wonderful dinner menu, their set lunches offer an exciting variety too!