Crystal Leung checks out Hong Kong’s Sushi Rin, the city’s newest shrine to Edomae.
Hong Kong’s love affair with Japanese cuisine is indisputable, and its affection for omakase has grown rapidly in recent years. Authorizing the chef to do the thinking for them, discerning epicures have to trust that the veteran not only has an eye for fresh and high-quality ingredients but also possesses the knowledge and skill to present the catches in their absolute best form to ensure consistency and authenticity.
Specializing in Edomae-style dining, Sushi Rin has curated a new summer menu to take guests on a gastronomic journey of omakase, so we pop into their Sheung Wan venue on a quiet Thursday night to see how they stack up to the competition.
Walking through a wooden sliding door, we’re welcomed into an intimate, slender dining space where a sushi counter is the focal point, dedicated to hosting up to ten guests at a time. Comprising seven sashimi serves, two hot dishes, and six pieces of sushi, our omakase menu starts off with a trifecta of appetizers that includes Okinawa mozuku seaweed soaked in vinegar and topped with a tomato wedge sourced from Shizuoka Prefecture; a Japanese ivory shell cooked in kelp stock; and succulent octopus enhanced with a refreshing hint of green yuzu skin.
As an advocate of seasonal eating, the restaurant’s summer menu has put the focus on top-notch shellfish produce. At its peak in August, the castle stone clam from Iwate Prefecture is bursting with unadulterated sweetness, while the Hokkaido whelk drizzled with pepper and lime juice has a chewy if not crunchy texture. Relished for its mild brininess and sweet finish, the plump, mellow Hokkaido oyster is enlivened with a dash of tosazu vinegar jelly, sour sauce, as well as a chilli and turnip mash, contributing complexity to the taste buds.
One of my favourite sashimi has to be seabass from the Bungo Channel. Menegi, a sort of sweet, young green onion, is wrapped around delicate fish slices, adding interest to the palate as well as to the eyes. The accompanying bamboo charcoal sea salt and sour sauce also provide distinctive flavour profiles to the flesh. For those who are suckers for tuna, the wild-caught medium toro from Ine Town, Kyoto, will certainly melt in your mouth and have you in raptures.
After savouring a variety of raw fish courses, the Chawanmushi comes as a warm hug in the middle of the feast. The silky steamed egg custard is studded with the meat and roe of a horsehair crab and is smothered with flavoursome crab shell broth, resulting in an explosion of sweet and umami flavours. Adding crunchiness to the meal, the tempura plate features maitake mushroom, shishito pepper, eel, and sweet potato, all of which are lightly showered with homemade curry salt that imparts a zesty kick.
Next up is the sushi, each meticulously seasoned by the chef with a light brush of soy sauce and a gentle touch of wasabi. Showing patience and precision in flawless execution, the selection ranges from fatty tuna and thinly sliced purplish amberjack to seasonal white uni from Miyagi Prefecture, which leaves a lingering oceanic brine on the palate. For those who enjoy aburi-style sushi, the lightly-seared mackerel is topped with a pinch of green onion and sesame to add a piquant smack to its soft texture.
The omakase indulgence is topped off with a soothing miso soup and a silky milk pudding dressed with Kyoto Uji Matcha sauce that’s guaranteed to put a smile on your dial.
With a seasonal menu that allows fresh ingredients to stand front and centre and sushi masters delivering deceptively simple and perfectly executed courses, Sushi Rin is definitely a destination we would revisit for a night of gustatory satisfaction.
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