Saturday, August 24, 2013

Ronin in HK

I will confess – despite the rave reviews it opened to, I didn’t enjoy my first experience here. We sat by the door and faced a wall all dinner. The menu read like a grocery list and the servers that explained it seemed condescending. The food, however, was pretty good so it did deserve a second go.
My second visit here was slightly more spontaneous, we were wondering the neighbourhood for decided to pop in for a few bites – plates are petite and dainty. The menu has changed since I last went. They now offer a tasting menu for HKD 900 which like the daily printed menu is based on the fresh seafood that they source.
Ronin will always be compared to Yardbird since it is their second venture hoping to strike gold like yardbird. Well, if Yardbird is yang, Ronin is yin. Like the food, the environment is more zen from the adrenaline pumping yardbird where you sometimes need to shout over dinner. The flavours are softer, clean and light – they let the ingredients do the talking. And on a totally random note, I really like the stoneware that they picked out for the restaurant.

We skipped the sashimi section this time.  We tried some the last time and the flavours were nice but the fish didn’t seem to be at the right temperature slightly on the warmish side despite being served on a bed of shaved ice. After seeing a few pictures of this delicious creation of this on the internet, we decided to try to heftily priced flower crab with mitzuba and uni. It is a luxurious combination without being too rich. The creamy uni gives it that richness and the crab gave the slight sweetness and I could have spoon after spoon but I think it lacks something that will give it a good pop – maybe ikura? We finished off with their unagi chirashi. The unagi was plumped, glazed and grilled and spiked with sprinkles of sancho pepper served on a bed of rice. The sancho pepper gave it that interesting dimension of lemony flavour and tingling sensation, this dish I really liked.
So my second visit here was more successful. Perhaps the early kinks have been evened out and the cooking and staff have found their stride. I might give the tasting menu on my third visit.
8 On Wo Lane
Central, HK

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