Gin Sai Japanese Restaurant 吟彩 | Hong Kong

Rating: ❤❤❤

Gin Sai serves premium Japanese cooked food and kaiseki cuisine in a contemporary Japanese decor with a muted palette of dark brown colors and a custom-made embroidery door from Kyoto. The restaurant is big and spacious with 4 private rooms ideal for corporate gathering or group celebrations. The bar counter in the main dining area offers diners a glimpse into the meticulous cooking skills of the chefs preparing tempura and oden right in front of them. As someone else in our party had already placed the order, I just sat back to enjoy the Japanese culinary ride presented by Gin Sai. 

Starters (4/5) - we were presented with a trio of starters starting with this mouthful of crab meat served conveniently in a spoon. Covered with dashi jelly and paired with boiled spinach, the crab was delightful to eat with its delicate and sweet flavors.

Our second starter were these seasonal firefly squid which supposedly glows in the dark (hence the name). The squid was deliciously yummy as the internal organs instantly burst in my mouth while the tentacles was softly crunchy. The sumiso sauce of miso and vinegar enhanced the flavors perfectly. 

In comparison to the first two, the third starter of sea urchin was just average as the scent of the ocean was a bit strong for me. 

Sashimi (4/5) - 3 kinds of sashimi selected by the chef including hotate, shima-aji and kinmedai. The sashimi were quite fresh and tasty - I especially liked the sweetness of the scallops and the seared kinmedai which gave it an additional layer of smoky flavor.

Oden (5/5) - the oden was excellent using its homemade broth with rich and sweet flavors. The usual suspects like radish, konjac jelly, and tofu were present in our oden as well as a side of mustard for us to add as needed. Just don't make the mistake of adding too much all at once like I did which made the broth really spicy to drink.

Sushi (3.5/5) - more sushi came our way including toro, aji, anago, and a piece of tamago. They were quite good as well but none of the sushi really stood out to me. 

Tempura (4/5) - then we had a series of tempura served to us one by one starting with a prawn with the head already separated. The fried batter of the tempura was light and crispy while the prawn was lovely with a bouncy texture. 

I really enjoyed this piece of fish as well which was fried with the scales attached. The scales gave the fish an extra layer of crunchiness which was surprisingly splendid to eat!

The sea urchin with fresh prawn and shiso was exquisite and delicate but I find the same issue with the sea urchin's overt scent of the sea as in the starter. 

Seiro Mushi (3.5/5) - Gin Sai introduces seiro mushi to Hong Kong, which is a traditional way of steaming fresh ingredients without any seasoning in a square bamboo steamer! It's perfect for those who want a healthier diet, but the meat can end up tasting quite bland as well to those who prefer stronger flavors. We had the Japanese Kurobuta pork first which was tender and chewy with a nice ratio of fat to meat. 

The Wagyu beef was also very tender to eat, but the beef flavor wasn't that strong. Two types of sauces were available for dipping (sesame and vinegar) - while both were delicious to eat with the meat, I preferred the sesame sauce more. 

Sakura Shrimp with Rice (4/5) - the clay pot rice was impressive to look at with the abundant amount of tiny sakura shrimps laying on top! The staff mixed it up for us before serving each of us with our own bowl of rice. The rice was very fragrant and flavorful especially with the light crunchy texture of the shrimps in every bite.

Yuzu Sorbet (3/5) - for dessert, I ended up getting the yuzu sorbet which was way too sweet. It ended up tasting artificial without the delicate fragrance and subtle flavors of yuzu. 

Verdict - Gin Sai delivers a bit of everything in Japanese cuisine from sushi to tempura to robatayaki and more. It's perfect for those who love the convenience of having everything under one roof but may seem a bit mixed to the die-hard traditional Japanese foodies. I do think that the seiro mushi is definitely worthy of trying at least once as that is rare to find in Hong Kong!

Gin Sai Japanese Restaurant

32-38 Cross Lane, Wan Chai
2574 1118

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