Specialising in the prized chickens of Kagoshima Prefecture in Japan, Kicho opens in Hong Kong with the city’s first comb-to-claw philosophy.
You might not know this but the term nose-to-tail was coined by British restauranteur Fergus Henderson, owner of London’s St. John restaurant, which re-introduced the notion of eating every part of the animal (something our ancestors would have given two thoughts about). While it took a little while to get the public on side, the restaurant, and the many that followed a similar culinary philosophy around the world, was a resounding success.
Continuing in the same vein, Kicho has opened in Hong Kong’s Manning House with a ‘comb to claw’ mantra that’s all about sustainable ritual dining and the famed black Kuro Satsuma chickens of Kagoshima.
Helmed by executive chef Chikashi Yoshida, the all-Japanese culinary team reimagines tori (the Japanese word for chicken) and kappo (literally to cut and to cook) with a contemporary flair, using specially selected Kuro Satsuma birds from Kagoshima Prefecture, which are famed for their high-fat content and umami flavour.
These delectable birds will be cooked over binchotan charcoal made from Japanese white oak and other dense hardwoods in the centuries-old manner. Delivering a distinctive taste and aroma, this charcoal grill paves the way for the sensuous interplay of sights, sizzling sounds and fragrant flavours that greets diners at the counter.
Here, multi-course omakase adventures take place, and span soup, appetisers, creative yakitori skewers, vegetable dishes, rice or noodles, and dessert. Dishes vary according to the season and are guided by the weather and the culinary team’s instinct.
Kicho’s ‘comb to claw’ Tori Kappo dining experience may include clear chicken broth; baked monaka oozing with chicken-liver paste; and succulent grilled chicken breast topped with salmon roe and swaddled in seaweed. Yakitori and other signature dishes can encompass chicken neck with mustard; chicken heart drizzled in homemade ginger and scallion sauce; slow-cooked chicken comb; tsukune (chicken meatball); chicken liver; chicken wing; and chicken thigh enlivened by the chef’s special sauce.
These specialised menus are served at a contemporary rendition of the Japanese counter-dining tradition, with the 18-seat counter – carved from imported Japanese wood – taking centre stage in the 800sqft space. A VIP room to one side offers the option of an even more intimate setting for parties of up to six guests.
Dishes can also be paired with an enviable selection of boutique sakes selected by seasoned sommelier Masashi Kamatani and range from the sustainability-produced Yama no Kotobuki Munakata to the crystalline Sake Hundred Byakko, in which organic rice is polished right down to 18%. In addition, exclusive Tsuno wines will showcase the lively fruit of vines grown in Miyazaki Prefecture.
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