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The two grill rooms down a narrow corridor have clean cypress panelling and stone floors give it a Zen calmness, but the ambience is decidedly a bit more dramatic than the adjacent Sushi Ginza Onodera simply from the sizzling theatrics of teppanyaki. The Tsubaki room seats ten, while Keyaki seats eight, each with two-centimeter-think teppanyaki griddle where executive chef Takuya Abe and his team elevates the art of teppanyaki to a whole another level, with gorgeous tableware and intriguing flavour combinations.
Diners who are a bit too familiar with the sometimes prosaic formula of teppanyaki will be pleasantly surprised by what’s offered here. While the meal started off with a crisp but characterless salad, chef Abe changes the game with an ungrudgingly Japanese and delectable way of preparing French foie gras, brushed with sweet dengaku miso, resting on a neutral bed of soft, almost melon-like Japanese aubergine, floating in a thickened stock redolent of yuzu. Next as a palate cleanser, the Japanese Kuroge wagyu soup shone as a clear consommé with its deep, comforting flavour. Equally luxurious in its briny simplicity is the fresh abalone, grilled with a crescent of its emerald liver and partaken with just a dab of salted plum or a drizzle of sudachi according to your choice. Then came the wagyu. We ordered both Kagoshima and Kobe for sharing to savour both varieties — the Kagoshima being more meaty, with rich, juicy marbling while the A5 Supreme Kobe sirloin was like an intense cube of warm, beefy butter. A sculpted slab of pink Himalayan salt, with clean lines like a classic Chinese ink stone, is provided. One simple, elegant swipe is enough for the medium rare beef to take on a delicate hint of saltiness. The vegetable selection is impressive as well, coming as a beautiful basket of Japanese produce. We chose the chef-recommended giant Shizuoka mushroom, as Sumikawa is the only establishment in Hong Kong that serves it. The earthy fungus had a bite that’s decidedly more muscular than the wagyu. Rice at the end was phenomenal as well, fried with garlic infused oil, simply studded with finely chopped chives or pickled takana.
There is a good selection of red and whites, both old and new world, including Grand Crus and Champagnes and rosés, but take note of their iPad sake menu which feature detailed descriptions and tasting notes of a wide variety of sake from different regions of Japan, from rare boutique labels to astronomical premium brews.
Sumikawa replicates that exceptional high-end teppanyaki experience, and that is evident in the Japanese level of refined omotenashi service from both chefs behind the grill as well as the wait staff.
There is an à la carte menu, but go for the set course options, with lunch starting from HK$380, and sumptuous dinner courses priced between HK$1,380 and HK$2,380. A nice touch is that piece of pink Himalayan salt is yours to take home after dinner.