[Hong Kong] KOKO - Kee Club's Modern Japanese Izakaya
KOKO means "here" in Japanese and it is a new modern Japanese izakaya from Kee Club which specializes in sake with its partnership with famed footballer Hidetoshi Nakata who also happens to be a sake ambassador! Located on Wyndham Street, I can tell it will be the next hot place to grab drinks in LKF because I already saw a full crowd when I was there last week since it has a spacious terrace which overlooks the old Central Police Station!
We started with some drinks and snacks on the terrace first and I got the Ume Sour cocktail to try since I love to drink umeshu! With Belvedere vodka, lemon juice and egg white, I love the balanced flavor since it wasn't too sweet and it's one of those cocktails that you can just keep drinking and drinking. Most of the Japanese food served here has a modern twist to it such as the Spicy Edamame ($48) which is usually blanched in salt water but was tossed with chili, garlic and shiso here which gave it a deliciously spicy kick in flavor.
After we finished the cocktails and snacks, we moved inside into the main dining area and started our sake journey with this Hatsukame Hyogetsu Junmai Daiginjo from Shizuoka prefecture! What's cool about KOKO is that they have a selection of 10-15 pre-selected sake that you can order by glass so that you can try many different types of sake if you wish instead of being forced to stick to one type of sake by the bottle. This one was a bit sweet for me since I like my sake to be spicier.
The first of our appetizers was the Japanese Eggplant and Mizuna ($88) which had been tossed in vinegar and was appetizing to eat with its tangy flavors.
The raw Hokkaido Scallops ($138) arrived in thin slices was deliciously fresh and its pairing with the citrus tomato and seaweed was perfect.
The Spicy Seafood Soup ($128) was a delightful surprise and one of my favorite dishes of the night with its spiced broth, mixed seafood and vegetables! Cooked for 48 hours, it's the perfect cure for the cold winter weather that will warm you up instantly.
The Rock Shrimp Tempura ($128) was addictive to eat with its light crispy batter with a coat of wasabi and yuzu seasoning!
As opposed to just steaming it in sake, the Clams in Sake ($168) were stir-fried first with butter, sake, onion and garlic which added another layer of aroma and flavor to the clams!
As we moved onto our meat courses, we continued our sake journey with this Matsu no Jirushi, Arabashiri Junmai Ginjo from Shiga. Its flavor had a nice balance between sweet and spicy which should be a crowd pleaser and a safe choice to choose for a big crowd with differing preferences.
The Australian Black Angus ($230) ribeye was cooked to medium with light seasoning so as to let the natural flavors of the beef come through but the spicy sauce that came on the side was a hit as well with mustard, miso and shiso.
The Lamb Chops ($228) marinated with black garlic and hatcho miso was cooked perfectly as it was tender and juicy and was paired with a piece of sweetly marinated daikon underneath the lamb.
Out of all the meat dishes, my favorite was definitely the Baby Back Pork Ribs ($188) which was glazed with a layer of sweet and spice sauce that was simply irresistible to eat - plus the meat separate from the bone easily with a gentle tug!
Saved the best for last with this King Crab and Uni Hot Pot ($268)! It tasted just as good as it looked with a tantalizing aroma and rich flavors - I secretly wanted this all to myself!
Sweet lovers will be delighted to know that the desserts here are good too! I actually liked this Almond and Yogurt Cake ($88) with mango and caramel miso ice cream the most as it wasn't too sweet with balanced flavors.
I liked the baked banana in the Green Tea and Banana Baked Cream ($78) but I wasn't so hot on the coconut foam on top since I don't really like the flavor of sweetened shredded coconut which is what this tasted like.
The Dark Chocolate Green Tea Fondant ($98) with vanilla ice cream is sure to be a hit with the cameras! Both the chocolate brownie and green tea lava filling were rich but the chocolate ultimately does overwhelm the matcha in the end. Still a must-try if you love both chocolate and matcha though!
5/F, 77 Wyndham Street, CentralTel: 2109 1777
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