Address: Shop A, UG/F, On Hing Building, 1 On Hing Terrace, Central 中環安慶臺1號安慶大廈地下A舖
Telephone: 2537 7787
I never fail to point out the obvious fact that there are a lot of Japanese restaurants in Hong Kong. While it is difficult to say who serve the best Japanese food, it is much easier to decide who serve the best sake, and MASU Robatayaki & Sushi is definitely one of them. This is hardly surprising, given that the restaurant is run by Privé Group, those guys who run Common Room (see my review here), Privé and Levels and are often responsible for your weekly hangovers.
When the restaurant introduced a 9-course Sake Pairing Menu, available from 24 October 2013 to 7 November 2013, I knew it would be pretty awesome. Priced at $680 per person, this menu not only comes with a great selection of food but more importantly some very fine sakes. While I had an amazing time catching up with a group of friends over this sake dinner, this would be equally great for romantic dinner dates, where you can impress your loved ones with some exclusive sakes and continue the night at one of the nearby bars or clubs.
(1) The appetiser platter arrived, and I liked the crab meat with salmon roes the most, as it was delicate and fresh. These were paired with Masumi Namazake Ginjo, a chilled sake which was mellow and very easy to drink.
(2) The assorted sashimi, of tuna, hamachi and scallop, were paired with Sohamare Hiyaoroshi Junmai Ginjo, a fruity sake. The scallops were soft and pristine, but the tuna could have been sliced a tad thicker for a better bite.
(3) The seared salmon sushi, yellow tail sushi, toro sushi and Masu Roll followed. The toro had an enticingly strong fatty taste (unlike some toro that feels fatty but doesn’t taste that way), and I also adored the combination of ingredients on the Masu Roll. The pairing Yoshi Dai Junmai Daiginjo was sweet with a good level of rice flavour, and matched the sushi nicely.
(4) The hamaguri soup was utterly comforting, with its clean, sweet taste and fat, puffy clams in it.
(5) The beef sukiyaki was paired with Tedorigawa Junmai Yamahai, a dry sake. The sukiyaki sauce was well tuned and the beef had an excellent taste and texture. The extra springy noodles were also moreish!
(6) The assorted robata, of asparagus, minced chicken balls and kogoshima pork belly, was paired with Rihaku Taruzake. The kogoshima pork belly had an exquisite pork taste, and the asparagus was expertly chargrilled. The minced chicken balls were too soft, but they were salvaged by a very delightful sauce.
The sake was served in a masu, after which the restaurant is named. It was a wooden box that was initially used to measure rice and eventually became a container for artisanal sakes, and we drank from the corner of the masu where some salt was sprinkled. The sake acquired a strong and exciting woody taste from the masu, which was in harmony with the chargrill taste of the robata.
(7) The assorted tempura of shrimp, kisu, nasu and sisito, was paired with a sparkling Dassai Sparkling Junmai Daiginjo. The tender, supple kisu (whiting fish) tempura was the winner in this dish. I couldn’t really remember whether the pairing worked, as we downed the sparkling sake like we did champagne!
(8) The cold thin ramen was beyond reproach – the smooth, springy texture was exactly how I dreamed of it to be! I generally quite like the noodles at Masu (see my previous review here, when I had some pretty tasty inaniwa udon).
(9) The last course was our dessert. Having tried the Japanese peach ice cream before, I went for the tofu ice cream. The ice cream was really icy when it was served, but after a bit of thawing, it was delicious with a perceptible soy taste. The kitchen’s offerings have so far been quite inspiring, so I hope their flair will soon extend to the dessert section of the menu!
The food at dinner was overall accomplished, but it was the impressive sake which made the occasion so memorable for me. I do hope my friends and readers who come for this sake dinner will have as great a night as I did!