Address: 7/F, Circle Tower, 28 Tung Lung Street, Causeway Bay
I absolutely love Japanese food and Hong Kong is an absolute mecca for this particular cuisine- good, bad, overpriced, cheap, family-owned, chain stores- you have them all. When I chanced upon this tiny restaurant which specializes in home-cooked food, I was very excited to say the least. The interior of the restaurant was a mixture of both Japanese and French influences- and so was the menu, with its selection of Japanese udons and robatayakis and French pastas. Whilst we mainly ordered Japanese-style dishes, I definitely want to come back again to try out their pastas (someone on the table next to me ordered an amazing-smelling crab pasta and I couldn’t help but gape in jealousy- total food envy right there.)The meal started off with an amuse-bouche (which costs around HKD$20- not complimentary) consisting of angel hair pasta, topped with an eggplant, spring onion and meat mixture. The saltiness of the mixture went very well with the otherwise plain pasta and was a nice way to start off a dinner.
Next up was one of Ajitomi’s signature dishes- their Osaka meatballs, which really packed a punch with its delicious flavour and textures. I loved how succulent and juicy the meat was- this was probably due to the fact that little bits of pork fat and konnyaku jelly were mixed into the balls. Paired with sweet soy sauce, I was very close to ordering seconds! For those of you that don’t know what konnyaku is- its a starchy plant which can be made into a jelly. The jelly itself is pretty flavourless and so it’s usually used for its texture purposes.
The Onsen Egg Cold Udon was a great dish to eat on such a hot summer’s night. This dish consisted of cold udon topped with spring onion bits, seaweed, crispy tempura pieces, kimchi, and an onsen egg. I was a little disappointed to see that the egg was a bit overdone when I pulled it apart- I wanted a really nice yolky consistency to go with the rest of the ingredients. Despite this, however, it was still a fun dish to eat- I liked the different colours of the various ingredients placed upon the udon, making it quite visually appealing. The contrasting textures – chewy, soft, crispy, crunchy, moist- also gave this dish an interesting feel to it.
The Chicken Hotpot Rice takes 30 minutes to prepare and is served in a cast iron pot- I felt that this was a nice touch and added to the authenticity of the dish. The rice was chewy and moist and came with carrots, mushroom, burdock and chicken-which was to me a very healthy-tasting and light rice dish.
Finally, for dessert, we ordered a crème brûlée which really hit the spot for a great end to a dinner. Amelie (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0211915/) said that one of life’s simple pleasures was cracking the crust of crème brûlée with a teaspoon, and I wholeheartedly agree! The custard was nice and smooth and you could visibly see the black bits from the vanilla pods incorporated into the dessert.
Circle Tower, 28 Tang Lung St, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong