Ronin HK is the sister restaurant of Japanese Izakaya sensation, Yardbird, focusing on fresh seafood. After seeing pictures on my Instagram feed care of Jin loves to Eat, I immediately booked a table for Irene and me to check out during our Hong Kong eating trip. I placed my reservation thru email (firstname.lastname@example.org), their max is 7 days advance. They were quick to reply and instructions were perfectly clear.
The place is like a hidden eatery, no signage, no window, nothing to even indicate that there’s a restaurant inside. I actually scouted it out when we ate near there during lunch but still was a bit panicked looking for it. The door is grey and blends in to the wall, even the door handle is inconspicuous.
Open the doors and you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to a different land. The place is tiny, there are 14 seats on custom made bar stools, plus 12 standing places. Eating facing the wall is not too exciting but standing up while doing it is even worse. I was so happy I got a reservation. I think this place is soundproofed because once the doors were closed I could not hear any outside noise.
We got there at 6:45pm, after a bit of a walk from IBIS Sheung Wan, up and down hilly roads and a steep concrete staircase. I was happy we were seated at the bar, this is the best place in the house as you can see these people assembling the drinks, from Yardbird favorites to new ones created for Ronin HK.
We were given their menu, printed on a piece of paper. It changes daily depending on the fresh seafood they receive from the South China Sea, Japan and even other parts of the world. The menu is divided into 3 parts, Raw, Smaller, and Bigger (which I think is self explanatory).
Ronin HK has a market tasting menu (HK$900/person, min of 2), but since Irene does not eat beef, oysters nor uni, we decided on ala carte. The whole menu was so enticing it took lots of whittling down to pick a few dishes.
A plate of amuse bouche, Okra wrapped in shiso with pickled lotus root. Light and refreshing, perfect to prime the taste buds.
Akagai Sashimi, Cucumber, Miso, Kinome (HK$70). This is lovely, the ark shell clams were fresh, coated in a mayo like cream with a slight citrus flavor. Yum, yum, yum.
Katsuo Bonito Sashimi, Tosa Shoyu, White Onion (HK$180). Bonito flakes are those wiggly thing you find on top takoyaki. This is the first time I’ve had it fresh and raw. Irene and I loved the firmness and freshness of the fish but they added a bit too much shoyu to it, making it quite salty even for us. A bit less of the shoyu or maybe served on the side would have made this dish top notch.
The waitstaff recommended the Triggerfish, Kyoto Shichimi, Honey, Chestnuts (HK$140). I had no idea what triggerfish is but this dish was one of the best we had that night. The pieces of fish were coated in honey and given a slight spicy kick by the Kyoto Shichimi. We also enjoyed the crunch from the chestnuts. Irene and I left nary a piece left on the plate.
Razor Clams, Spring Onion, Ginger, Crispy Rice (HK$140). Razor Clams from the waters of Scotland. The flavors are light and fresh, nothing overpowering the sweet clam meat. There some texture contrast courtesy of the crispy rice.
Look at how big that razor clam is.
The highlight of the meal for me was the Kagoshima Beef, Maitake, Egg Yolk (HK$380). There’s a beautiful egg yolk at the center of the plate of beef slices, mushrooms and crispy garlic chips, drizzled with a sweetish sauce. I took a piece of barely cooked beef, added some mushroom and garlic chips, rolled it up with my chopsticks and dipped it in the egg yolk and stuffed it into my mouth. The beef almost melted away in a cacophony of flavors.
Irene can’t eat beef so she picked the Unagi, Kinome, Chirashi, Rice (HK$170). Thick cubes of grilled eel on top of sticky Japanese rice garnished with chopped kinome. The served the rice for sharing in a big bowl coupled with a big wooden spoon. We were given 2 smaller bowl with small spoon partner. The unagi were fresh and delicious but had some fish bone while the rice was delicious in bites, the kinome had a numbing effect on our tongue.
Ronin HK is now on my list of all time memorable meals ever. The place is definitely not cheap, but you can feel quality and expertise in every dish. The ambiance and service are also top notch. I was hoping to eat at Yardbird also but they were closed for one week, their yearly renovation.
* Take a trip to the toilet, I guarantee it’s an experience.*
Ronin HK8 On Wn Lane Sheung Wan, Hong Kong Open Monday to Sunday 6PM – Midnight
Reservation accepted by email thru email@example.com