Sunday, January 9, 2011

Hong Kong - Harakan 原澗

It wasn't for lack of trying that we only got into this place after a second try.  The fact is that directions within the building leave much to be desired.  It is also ironic that there is no signage at its sister restaurant Habitu, since they share the same roof garden.  

We sit down to a pretty promising menu.  A good mix of fun vs. traditional foods.  An enticing offering of seasonal goodies.  Since we were pretty much done in after a heavy lunch, we were modest in our orders.

Homemade Goma Tofu
The home made Goma (sesame) tofu was smooth, and firmer than regular tofu, as it should be, with a subtle aroma from the roasted seeds, ground and integrated into the bean curd.  Usual condiments of salmon roe and freshly grated wasabi lend a little seasoning and heat, providing extra dimension.  What I didn't really get is the overpowering miso sauce at the bottom of the champagne glass.  It was salty, then sweet and overall, wrestled the last muscle out of the poor tofu.

Slow cooked soft ox tongue in white miso
The ox tongue appetizer would have been a promising dish if not for the overly salty miso.  If you like a spring onion heat, you would like this.  There is a lot of heat with the crunchy and deceptively sweet vegetable as it enters the palate.  But after 2 seconds of chewing, it smokes up the mouth and nostrils very quickly.  The star is the ox tongue since it is very soft from soaking up the miso during the slow braising process.  No complaints save for the sodium levels.

Abalone, fried prawn and uni maki roll
The maki was decent although unspectacularly so.  Rice was nicely done - whole grains but with a sticky enough consistency to hold all together.  The combination of crunchy chilled steamed abalone, with crispy fried prawns, and creamy sea urchin was a yummy one, with something to offer for everyone.

Fried instant noodles with fresh lobster
Fried instant noodles isn't something found at most Japanese restaurants, especially one with the tagline "Fine Japanese Dining" but definitely enticing.  Again, could have been one of those fun hearty foods you would order again, but the salt levels were just too high, and also unfortunately erred on the oily side.  Tasty enough to finish, since it isn't a big portion, but those watching their health might think twice.

This place has promise, but it still has a few nits to iron out, before it is to become a sustainable place, especially in a place like Causeway Bay, where good Japanese restaurants are a dime a dozen.

Shop 311, 3/F Lee Gardens Two
28 Yun Ping Road
Causeway Bay
Tel: +852-2882 8616

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