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Hong Kong is spoiled for choice when it comes to high-end Japanese dining options, but few can offer a setting as spectacular as Zuma. The cavernous, 10,000sqft space features not one but three open kitchens (including the sushi counter, robata counter and the main kitchen), while there is also a slick bar area upstairs and a sizeable terrace that represents one of the chicest al fresco dining spaces in the city. As you descend the stairs from the entrance into the stylishly adorned, high-ceilinged main room, the irresistible buzz and presence of the city’s great, good and eminently stylish should let you know you’ve come to the right place.
Billed as a contemporary izakaya, Zuma’s menu is eclectic and intriguing, putting an artful twist on modern Japanese cuisine. It’s hard to pass up at least a small selection from the robata grill, so try the lip-smacking chicken skewers with baby leek with your apertifs. The smaller plates on the menu tend to comprise an ingenious blend of tastes and textures, always presented with thought and flair. The big-eye tuna tartare with miso is enlivened by a lime-salt zestiness, while the thinly sliced seabass sashimi with yuzu, truffle oil and salmon roe offers a surprising mix of subtle flavours and an ocean-fresh blast of moreish minerality. The larger plates usually include a changing selection of dishes built around the freshest seasonal produce, but if in doubt go for the old favourite of miso-marinated black cod – if only all fish were this succulent. As you might expect, sushi and sashimi feature heavily, and there are a variety of creative maki rolls (we loved the salmon, chirashi and yellowtail with avocado) but for the finest selection, and for the sheer spectacle, go for the sashimi omakase, the chef’s choice of premium cuts served with panache in an oversized, ice-filled dish. Do try to leave room for dessert though – the chocolate cake should melt even the hardiest of savoury hearts.
The wine list includes several tipples by the glass and offers more than sufficient for all but the most demanding of drinkers, while the sake selection is as impressively diverse as it is well edited. But make sure you also sample one of their unique cocktails too; it’s what the outdoor terrace was made for.
The staff are particularly attentive at Zuma, though they remain unobtrusive when they need to be. On the evidence of our visit, they were well versed in most aspects of the menu, while the chef personally came to our table to answer a more specific query we had about one of the dishes; a nice touch.
At around HK$1,200 per head, Zuma is not what you’d call inexpensive, but the quality of the ingredients, preparation, setting and ambience will have you returning time and time again.