Set in a cosy basement in Jardine House in the heart of Central, there is a real urban buzz to Miso. Diners can be seated on the top level around the teppanyaki bar or be led past the soothing water feature to a busy area dominated by a large square sushi and food preparation bar. The square theme continues in the décor including tables that are placed very close together and set with comfortable, padded furniture. This makes for a sociable atmosphere with an air of subdued excitement. Tables are in demand at lunch and dinner, so early booking is recommended.
The colourful menu is peppered with Japanese delicacies as well as modern combinations of classics designed to appeal to a wider, international audience. Most ingredients are imported fresh from Japan and it is the traditional dishes that depend on this that shine. This explains the popularity of sashimi, for example, that may be ordered as a mixed plate of eight morsels or in individual samples such as a subtle yellowtail or a smooth, strong and succulent mackerel. Similarly, the sushi’s high-quality is obvious either as a satisfying roll or a cone such as the speciality soft shell crab and avocado that almost literally melts in the mouth. Starters are excellent, with something to appeal to every taste and particularly recommended is a plate of pearl oysters baked with just the right amount of wasabi sauce to bring out the ocean flavour. Other fish delights include a moist piece of cod presented on a bed of green bean mashed potato and served with a piquant tomato sauce. Meat lovers are also catered for and both the juicy slices of tataki beef on a bed of raw shredded vegetables with a mouth-watering miso sauce or the delicate rack of lamb make for very acceptable alternatives.
The tiny wine selection is augmented by the more popular range of sake and a good range of drinks. Many diners simply sip the delicate Japanese tea served continuously throughout the meal. Well worth considering are the miso drinks served either hot or cold, particularly the one with lime and honey and infused with ginger.
Busy serving staff members are in perpetual motion replenishing tea and changing plates after each course. They are unrelentingly helpful and polite and try their best to anticipate diners’ needs.
Excluding drinks, two people should be able to sample a wide range of dishes for about HK$500.