Tabibito | Hong Kong

Rating: ❤❤❤❤

I was chatting with a fellow foodie friend and it turned out that we both wanted to try Tabibito, a new Japanese tapas restaurant in Sheung Wan. Tabibito stands for traveler in Japanese which alludes to their mission - to creatively combine Japanese dishes with other culinary methods around the world. We managed to make a reservation the day before and arrived to discover a chic and modern restaurant located in the equally hip neighborhood of Po Hing Fong. The menu consisted of a variety of Japanese tapas dishes categorized by Raw, Sea (seafood), Land (meat), and Soil (veggies). Our party of 5 ordered a bit of everything to try and after we ordered, we were given free sake by the owner! What a great way to start our meal!

Spicy Wagyu Tartar ($158) - the presentation was quite beautiful with the bright colors of the garnishes on the side of the beef topped with a gorgeous egg yolk. After it was presented to us, our waiter helped us mixed everything up. The beef was very fresh and flavorful while the spicy miso was mild and gentle so it didn't overwhelm the delicate flavors of the raw beef. The side of rice crackers that came with the dish was nice and crunchy, which complimented the soft textures of the beef. [5/5]
Spicy Wagyu Tartar ($158)
Sweet Corn Tempura ($78) - the sweet corn tempura was deep-fried with layers of mozzarella cheese and corn with a topping of green tea sea salt. After having some really good corn tempura at Yardbird, it was a bit disappointing to eat the ones here because it was simply too cheesy which overwhelmed the sweetness of the corn. [3.5/5]
Sweet Corn Tempura ($78)
Baked Scallops ($118) - the baked scallops came packed with goodies like foie gras, cured meat, and button mushrooms which made the flavors a bit more complexed than it needed to be. While all of the ingredients tasted delicious on its own, the flavor of the scallop had been submerged by the richer flavors from the other ingredients. Sometimes, it's better to just keep it simple. [4/5]
Baked Scallops ($118)
Chicken Karaage ($98) - the chicken karaage was above average with its crunchy coat of batter on the outside and moist meat on the inside. [4/5]
Chicken Karaage ($98)
Uni Mac and Cheese ($148) - this dish sounded appealing on paper but failed on execution. Infused with truffle, the uni mac and cheese was baked with Gruyere and parmesan cheese. The strong flavor of the Gruyere cheese completely covered the delicate flavors of uni. We couldn't taste the uni at all so we felt like we were just eating regular mac and cheese. [3/5]
Uni Mac and Cheese ($148)
Sloppy Joe ($98) - nothing sloppy about this! Made with roast pork leg, BBQ sauce, cabbage slaw, and pickled onions, the dainty sandwiches were a delight to eat as the flavors of all of the ingredients came together very well. [5/5]
Sloppy Joe ($98)
Steamed Razor Clams ($128) - another dish where the complexity didn't work in its favor. The razor clams were steamed with eringi mushrooms and Hitachino White Ale beer which sounded very creative on the menu. Unfortunately the razor clams were overcooked so they were a bit tough to eat and they tasted like mushrooms for some reason. [3.5/5]
Steamed Razor Clams ($128)
24 Hour Rib Nikomi ($208) - the beef short rib was braised for 24 hours with red wine demi-glace and kimchi on the side. The flavors of the beef was pretty delicious but I found the beef to be a bit tough and not tender enough. Perhaps another 24 hours should do it? Hehe. I do love the spicy kimchi on the side though. [4/5]
24 Hour Rib Nikomi ($208)
Beef Tataki Donburi ($128) - this dish was scrumptious! Topped with a quail egg yolk, the rice was flavorful from the yakiniku sauce mixed into it. The slices of beef flank were cooked to perfection at medium-rare which were so soft and tender to eat. This was my favorite dish of the night! [5/5]
Beef Tataki Donburi ($128)
Jidori and Kurobuta Meatballs ($118) - this was basically chicken and pork meatballs cooked with caramelized onions and cheddar as sauce. The meatballs were alright to eat, but I didn't find the flavors of this dish particularly appealing. [3/5]
Jidori and Kurobuta Meatballs ($118)
Pork Katsu Skewers ($88) - the pork katsu was delicious with its succulent pork belly and crispy outer shell. The fried batter didn't separate from the meat easily while the sweet onions sandwiched between the meat was a nice touch. My favorite part was the sauce, which was a blend of tonkatsu sauce and dijon mustard. Sweet and spicy at the same time, it enhanced the flavors of the pork katsu tremendously! [5/5]
Pork Katsu Skewers ($88)
Serradura - the only dessert they had was a serradura dessert made with miso and it was yummy! The texture was creamy and light while it was mildly sweet with a hint of miso flavor. A great dessert to round off our evening! [4/5]

Verdict - I thought the menu was pretty creative and interesting on the whole while there were still some fine-tuning to do with some of the dishes. Some of them were thoroughly impressive while others were a bit mixed - especially the seafood dishes since the flavors of the ingredients can be so delicate and fine. The service was really good and honest though. Initially we wanted to order the stuffed baby squid but our friend visiting from Japan told us that it was not in season yet. Nonetheless, we went ahead with the order and our waiter proceeded to tell us that they only had the larger squid and asked if we were okay with it. We ended up not ordering it, but appreciated his honesty! The ambiance was fantastic as well since it was casual and hip, which was perfect for a friends gathering. Overall, I would say that Tabibito is worth a visit.


G/F, 20 Po Hing Fong, Sheung Wan
2547 2833

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