[Hong Kong] Okra - Japanese Fusion Izakaya
Okra was one of the new restaurants I was looking forward to try since I read a lot of rave reviews about it but unfortunately it ended up being a disappointment for me. With a branch in Beijing, the chef Max Levy serves Japanese fusion dishes that are meant to be shared and downed with sake. Since they don't take reservations supposedly (but rumor has it that you can reserve by email), I came here around 6:30pm on a weekday with a girlfriend and got seated by the open kitchen where we watched the chefs in action. The menu was small and divided into "A-sides" for smaller dishes and "B-sides" for bigger and bolder creations, so we ordered a few from each section to share.
We started off with the Carabineros Prawn Soup ($78) which was served with two raw red Spanish prawns and dashi infused with smoked Buddha's hand fruit. The hot broth was poured on top of the seafood at the table and while the prawn was lovely to eat with its fresh and sweet flavors, the dashi was less impressive as it didn't have enough umami flavor and had an astringent mouth feel to it.
The Smoked Anchovies and Bafuni ($148) with salted Buddha's hand, tofu skin and shiso was another mixed bag. It was an interesting and bold combination for sure and it may even work if the Bafun uni was fresher as it was quite fishy.
The Smoked Yuzu Jam Baby Back Ribs ($138) was charred and served with pickles, but while the meat was tender and easy to eat off the bones, we thought that the outside could have been crispier plus we couldn't really taste the yuzu either. It was flavorful enough though and I loved the slight tinge of spiciness in the sauce that had been slathered on the ribs.
The Unakyu Foie Gras ($238) with house made BBQ unagi, honey miso duck liver and sanbaizu was the best dish of the night as the unagi had a nice crisp to it which was perfectly complimented by the creaminess of the duck liver. The only thing that would make this even better would be some sweetened unagi sauce to bring out more flavors!
At this point in the meal, we were still hungry so decided to order one more dish to try - the Dry Aged Tuna ($108) with tuna that had been dry aged below freezing and lightly fried with ume ketchup. After we each took a bite though, I regretted ordering it. The tuna tasted really fishy and funky with tiny bones in it. I definitely did not want to eat another bite so we told the staff what we thought and at least they let us return it but not before asking us if we had eaten dry aged tuna before. Actually many high-end sushi chefs in Japan prefer to age their tuna for at least several days in order to improve the taste and texture, and they definitely didn't taste like this. The interesting thing was that we only ordered this dish because the menu said it was recommended by TimeOut, but when I read the actual review, this was the only dish that they didn't like because of the bones so...I'm confused.
Okra Hong Kong
110 Queen's Road West, Sai Ying PunTel: +852 2806 1038
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