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Sukiyaki Nakagawa opens in Hong Kong's Causeway Bay

A new Japanese dining spot is always a treat and Sukiyaki Nakagawa is no exception, writes Carolynne Dear

Sukiyaki Nakagawa opens in Causeway Bay

Sukiyaki Nakagawa, a Kansai-style sukiyaki dining spot has soft-opened in Hong Kong’s Causeway Bay, showcasing premium wagyu beef from Matsusaka, Oita and Jinnai.

The restaurant is helmed by Chef Kazuyuki Itagaki, recently arrived in Hong Kong from Japan’s Akita Prefecture.

Sukiyaki Nakagawa is located in the Cubus building on Causeway Bay’s Hoi Ping Road, a destination that is becoming something of a dining hotspot for Hong Kongers.

I paid a visit with The Bloke on a wet weekday evening; as a thunder and lightning storm raged outside, we were seated at the convivial hinoki bar counter which curves around a light and bright open kitchen. It’s an intimate setting that seats just 15 and encourages interaction with the chefs as they set to work.

Sukiyaki is a dining practice that traces its roots to Tokyo’s Shiba district in the 1860s, when a hot-pot restaurant named Nakagawa pioneered the art of sukiyaki dining. Sukiyaki dishes consist of meat and vegetables that are cooked or simmered at the table by the chef in a shallow iron pot in a mixture of soy, sugar and mirin. 

Sukiyaki Nakagawa opens in Causeway Bay

The trio of appetisers varies according to what's in season

The menu at Sukiyaki Nakagawa is omakase in style, in other words, the choice of dishes is made by the chef. There are three menus to choose from; a six- course ‘Kou’ menu with wagyu, a nine-course wagyu indulgence and a mega ten-course ultimate wagyu experience. We opted for the Kou offering.

We started with a delicate ‘three kinds of appetiser’ platter, including a tiny glass of beer jelly with yoghurt, a little pot of abalone and a slice of duck breast. Appetites whetted, we then moved onto a warming bowl of steamed egg custard with crab.

The theatrics then began with our chef greasing the sukiyaki pan with wagyu fat and white sugar, the aim being to impart a caramelised flavour to the meat. Once the meat was seared, the chef’s secret blend of soy sauce and other seasonings was added to the meat from the selection of pretty and intriguing jars dotted around the counter.

Sukiyaki Nakagawa opens in Causeway Bay

The wagyu was melt-in-the-mouth perfection

We started with slices of A5 Oita wagyu beef which absolutely melted in the mouth. The flavours were sublime - left to our own devices, we could have worked our way through slice after slice. Oita wagyu comes from Bungo Japanese black cattle, raised on farmland and fed a diet of rice and beer mash to create a richly flavoured and tender textured meat. The effort is entirely worth it.

We then moved onto A5 Hokkaido Brown wagyu, which was equally tender but slightly stronger in taste. 

We were also presented with two dips, one a gently warmed yolk and lightly cooked white, the other a golden yolk alongside a whisked, meringue-like white. The eggs are prized Kodawari eggs, which apparently contain up to 30 times as much vitamin E as normal eggs owing to carefully cared-for hens from Hyogo Prefecture.

Our chef then deftly cooked up a little plate of vegetables, including tomato, leek and tofu, all of which we were encouraged to dip into the eggs.

Sukiyaki Nakagawa opens in Causeway Bay

Yumepirika rice from Hokkaido is used in the claypot for its glutinous texture

Our next course was a bowl of Japanese claypot cooked rice using Yumepirika rice from Hokkaido. It has a sticky, glutinous texture which pairs well with sukiyaki. The rice was served with more delicious wagyu and an egg sauce. 

We rounded the meal off with a traditional bowl of miso soup and then cleaned our palates with a small dish of fruits, including the sweetest melon and flavoursome strawberries. 

It had been an entertaining evening, we’d learned a lot about a Japanese cooking style we hadn’t previously explored and we’d been roundly looked after by both the chef and friendly servers. All that was left was to find a dry escape home and away from the storm.

Sukiyaki Nakagawa, 3/F Cubus, 1 Hoi Ping Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, +852 5394 3688.

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