Sunday, July 17, 2011

Hong Kong - Xenri No Tsuki Japanese Cuisine 千里之月鮨旬菜

In Hong Kong, it is almost as if some restaurants choose to be tucked away in commercial office space.  Without being in the food business, I hazard to guess that the strategy is not commercially fail safe for a variety of reasons that are obvious.  But for anyone in search of something different, this lends itself to the mystique of what one might find at the end of the journey.  One would also hope that you don't leave with an anti-climax at least where the food is concerned.

Xenri No Tsuki (or Xenri from hereon) is one such cosy little place on one of the busiest little lanes in bustling Causeway Bay.  The quiet you arrive at is a welcome reprieve from the chaos just 6 flights down and we happily accepted seating at the sushi counter to watch the chefs in action.

Kyoho Calpis Soda
I ordered a Kyoho Calpis Soda and took my time poring through the surprisingly long menu.  Calpis Soda in itself is already a huge fave of mine in Japanese soda land, but add the drunken fragrant sweetness of Kyoho grapes, it's seventh heaven.  Good thing it was a tall glass..

Peanut Tofu

Tuna Blood?

Sweet Julienned Radish
The amuse bouche was a trio of peanut tofu drizzled with pureed yam, coagulated Tuna's blood and the more commonly found sweet julienned radish  with toasted sesame seeds.  The tofu was excellent in texture but otherwise pretty bland.  The Tuna's blood an interesting starter but other than being a little salty and a good Sake food, I didn't find it all too exciting.

House Special Tofu Salad
The house special tofu salad is one of those made-to-death-but-you-never-tire-of salads.  And here the house-made tofu is wonderfully textured to give a very subtle bite allowing the fragrance of the yellow beans to come through as you chew.  Drizzled with a lightly vinegared sesame dressing on a cold bed of Iceberg, a wonderful summer salad to cool from the heat and humidity outside.

Japanese Oyster
Succulent, juicy, sea-sweet with a fresh twist from the zesty lime wedge. Enough said.

Carpaccio of Amberjack
The sense of arrival of this one was dramatic.  A beautiful plate to set the tone for an Italian-inspired Carpaccio of Amberjack.  It was a tad heavily dressed by Japanese standards but the black truffle oil did not overpower.  A little less oil would have been better to not overcoat the natural texture of the fish.  The lime juice cooked the fish a little but only so as to allow an enjoyable transition between the cooked and raw bits.

Amberjack 2nd way
The other half of the Amberjack was grilled at my request to allow for some variety into the meal but if I had to choose all over again, I would just have all it in the carpaccio.  The fish was on the dry side after grilling and lost a fair bit of its natural oils.  A shame since it's really quite a good fish.

Sushi rice with Minced Toro and Uni
I have a thing for minced fatty tuna and/or sea urchin on sushi rice.  It's a thing that's gone to unhealthy heights since I order it almost to the exclusion of everything else.  Almost always blindsided if I see it on the menu but it's sort of made me discerning by default.  So much so that I think that it's really quite a waste of time in most places.  Not that it's bad but if the time-honored cliche of "it's all about the source and quality of the ingredients" is not fulfilled, it's can be most unsatisfying.  This version was obviously fresh but the tuna and urchin are not the best grades, and as a result, there is little to no natural goodness coming through.  The sushi rice was also not good enough to carry it home so mental note to self is just to order something else next time.

And there will be a next time: Xenri is a nice addition to the CWB repertoire.  It's a comfy casual place to enjoy house specials and the service is a lot warmer than most places.  Smiles all around and attention to detail, a big bonus that is a rarefied find these days.  That in itself, is almost attraction enough.

6/F, Jardine Centre
50 Jardine's Bazaar
Causeway Bay
Tel: +852-2576 1880


  1. This is a really great blog. I'm enjoying reading about dining in exotic Singapore from the other side of the planet in D.C.

  2. Thanks Anonymous for visiting edeats! Glad you're enjoying it. I hope you get to visit Asia and try the different things you've read about here!