It’s been almost five years since Zuma opened its second restaurant, having chosen Hong Kong as the prime destination while Istanbul, Dubai and Miami have closely followed suit and been introduced to this world-famous chain of restaurants developed by Rainer Becker. With so many small-sized izakaya popping up around the city, it was time for me to hop on board and finally give this high-end Japanese bar offering a try (it was an office lunch after all!)
Spread over the 5th and 6th floors of the upscale Landmark shopping complex, Zuma Hong Kong opens up to a spiral glass staircase connecting the high-class bar area with the spacious dining room, outdoor terrace and sake bar. The open space, designed by Noriyoshi Muramatsu in collaboration with the Tokyo design firm, super potato!, is chic, sleek and wonderfully lit featuring an edgy stone top open kitchen stretched across one side and the private dining area sectioned off by a sheet of sparkling glass globes. The place is abuzz with quiet chatter during lunch while the wait staff seem distracted as they rush around, almost running into each other on several occasions. Luckily, this seemed to be remedied when someone who appeared to be the absent restaurant manager returned.
Zuma offers two types of lunch sets – the Ebisu (HK$290) and Hotei (HK$480) each featuring a choice of 3 dishes. We opted for the Hotei and started with the seared scallops and prawn salad with roasted potato. It was a bit disappointing as they weren’t particularly generous with their scallops, leaving the focus of the dish’s flavours more on the roast potatoes.
On the other hand, the spicy beef tartar was a beautiful combination of textures, with a mixture of high quality beef and chopped red onions highlighted by the subtle wasabi sauce and organic egg yolk in the middle. We were a bit unsure of the awkwardly positioned sweet potato crisps but it did bring a welcome crunchy element to the dish.
Our chef’s selection of sashimi was daintily arranged atop an ice bath and with the exception of a slightly sinewy tuna, was tender and fresh. The same can be said about the chirashi donburi which was the most innovative version we had seen to date with unusually large slabs of sashimi layered on top of the white sesame covered rice ball.
If you’re searching for something more filling, you have to turn to the grilled sirloin steak drizzled with wafu sauce and aromatic garlic chips with a side of sauteed mushrooms. Neatly sliced up, the meat was juicy and infused with flavour.
Other options available were the spring king mackerel, which was marinated in a slightly thickened yuzu soy or the teriyaki yellowtail with yuzu radish, both of which had soft, white flesh and was an absolute treat for the tastebuds.
We expected a lot from Hong Kong’s version of the London award-winning restaurant and although the food wasn’t mind-blowing, we did like the relaxed, casual atmosphere and the contemporary food on offer. The price tag on lunch is reasonable especially in comparison to many other Japanese restaurants but overall probably a better business lunch venue rather than a place to unleash your ravenous appetite.