Tsim Sha Tsui
Date of review: February 2, 2015 | Reviewed by:
Sagano has been operating in this location for years, and it has been retained despite the Hotel Nikko being transformed into New World Millenium hotel. It’s an understated Japanese restaurant that has seen better days, as the décor definitely feels as though it is from an earlier era. The windows look out towards the harbour, albeit to the more industrial side of eastern Hong Kong island. Simple wood dividers offer some privacy between tables, while also serve the purpose of shielding diners from the corridor, but makes it difficult to flag down the attention of staff. A quiet soundtrack plays gently, though the hard surfaces of the restaurant means that the voices of louder diners travels quite a fair bit.
At Sagano, you will find a wide range of Japanese classics, from sushi and sashimi to teppanyaki and tempura. The restaurant also proudly peddles its multi-course kaiseki sets, which take in the full spectrum of dishes available. The presentation is, as expected, wonderful, with details such as flower branches and leaves utilised to create points of interest among the many small dishes. The assorted sashimi is nicely presented but some of the fish is a little flavourless and on the colder side; the plump amaebi are among the better selections. Tempura arrives looking crisp and golden, but is a little on the greasier side. We’re much more satisfied with other dishes, such as a small portion of miso cod, and the vinegared crab legs with pickled cucumber. Sushi is neatly presented, the rice on the denser side but still enjoyable. For dessert, we’re impressed by the wobbly milk pudding and a serving of bittersweet matcha ice cream.
There is a solid presentation of sakes in various sizes, including a sparkling sake and umeshu available by the glass. Most but not all of the sakes have tasting notes. Other than that, the wine list is quite general with a few options from most countries.
Service could be improved here, as it was difficult to get the attention of staff upon arrival and also during the course of the meal. The layout of the room is partly to blame, but we think that quality hotel service means making regular rounds to ensure diners have everything they need, in spite of design shortcomings.
A dinner set meal for two with sake and service will come to around HK$2,800 – more if you go for the wagyu beef sets – which we thought was surprisingly expensive for the quality of the food and the location.