When Wasabisabi in Causeway Bay first opened its doors nine years ago, the über trendy Japanese dining room attracted a glam crowd enticed by the restaurant’s sleek and sexy interiors and contemporary Japanese cuisine. Unusually, for a restaurant located in a shopping mall, the restaurant has stood the test of time and still looks as sensational as when it first opened its doors. Wasabisabi’s signature design feature – an illuminated catwalk snaking its way from entrance to main dining hall and dramatic sushi bar – still looks en vogue today and would not look lost in an MTV music video. Not the ideal place if privacy is a priority – diners are seated a little too close together.
Wasabisabi’s menu, although contemporary, isn’t so out there that it puts off sushi purists. To start, the excellent seared and thinly sliced beef tenderloin with garlic onion sauce (HK$168) works a treat in kick starting taste buds to life. The beef is juicy and tender and its natural flavours are complimented by the rich garlicky sauce. The baked Chilean seabass with Japanese mushroom and truffle oil (HK$188) is cooked to juicy perfection. It is a delicious – if environmentally unsustainable- departure from the staid miso black god found in other Japanese eateries. The dish’s elegant presentation showcases a generous serving of sea bass garnished with a stem of shiso flowers and mushrooms: a mouthwatering fusion of flavours from land and sea. The contemporary sushi platter (HK$498) features 11 types of sushi: it is good, although not as creative as one might expect. A must-try for tempura lovers, the Taraba king crab tempura (HK$228) goes perfectly with a cold glass of Japanese beer. Succulent slithers of crab meat is delicately placed in casings of batter, wedged with seaweed and served in bite-sized portions. The dish leaves you wondering how the chef managed to control the doneness of the crab with the crispness of the batter. The menu carries a good mix of Western-inspired Japanese desserts – the highlight being the trio of crème brûlées (HK$108) in three flavours: green tea, espresso and ginger - a glorious end to a fabulous meal.
As expected from an Aqua Group restaurant, the wine list carries a good selection of easy-to-drink wines from leading wine growing regions. Not to be missed however, are the delicious cocktails on offer – and there are a fair few to choose from. The Tokyo-To-Go (HK$95) consisting of sake, gin, elderflower, apple juice & yuzu is light and fruity. The cocktail is served sake-style from a sake carafe and dangerously easy to drink.
Wasabisabi’s service is fine overall, but it is a little inconsistent. Throughout the entire meal, none of the waiters introduced any of the dishes and it was only until desert arrived that the waiter decided an introduction was necessary. This attention to detail would have been more impressive when serving unconventional dishes such as the contemporary sushi platter.
Dinner for two costs about HK$1,000 per person and up, excluding drinks.