[Hong Kong] Zuma
Zuma | www.zumarestaurant.com | OpenRice
Address: 中環德輔道中12-16號置地廣場5樓 – 5/F, The Landmark, 12-16 Des Voeux Road Central (Central District)
Date visited: 2013.05
Total bill: HKD$3,059.10 (including 10% service charge) + additional tip for two people
Will return: Definitely
What to get: Daikoku tasting menu
Zuma is a contemporary Japanese restaurant located in The Landmark building in Hong Kong, which also houses three Michelin-starred restaurant L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon and some of the world’s most luxurious brands. Everything in this building will cost you a vital organ or two.
While this meal at Zuma was far more expensive than the firstborn I sacrificed to eat at Morimoto, I thought it was worth every dollar that I charged on my mom’s credit card (sorry). As a reference, you can easily feed a round table of 10 people family-style at a fairly nice Chinese restaurant in Asia for the amount we paid for two people at Zuma. Everything was top quality and well executed. There was only one thing that I didn’t like in the entire meal, which was a component in the dessert platter. Both my friend (who is picky and particular) and I (I am just picky) agreed this meal will be at the top for awhile.
The first Zuma location opened in London in 2002, followed by locations in Hong Kong, Istanbul, Dubai, Miami, and Bangkok.
This is a review specifically for the Daikoku tasting menu at Zuma set at HKD$970 (~USD$125), which requires at least two people to both order it. If this is your first (and maybe only time) at Zuma, I highly recommend the tasting menu. Even the people sitting next to us were blatantly taking photos of our food.
Zuma has three separate kitchens. Two kitchens are out in the open (sushi bar and meat grill) and one kitchen is sealed behind glass walls (all other dishes). We were seated at the bar in front of the kitchen that grilled meat. While our seats were in front of the grill kitchen, the grill was quite a distance away from the bar so the cooking didn’t interfere with our eating at all and it was nice to see the chefs working on the food. There are normal tables you can sit at as well but for two people, I prefer the bar.
Sushi bar (far left), grill (middle), and closed kitchen (far right).
Right off bat, there was a fresh wasabi root sighting. Wasabi root is expensive and a lot of restaurants use horseradish powder as an alternative to reduce cost. If you see “wasabi” that looks like green play-doh, gtfo asap. High quality (but not necessarily expensive) Japanese restaurants will no doubt use fresh wasabi. I saw one of the chefs hold a wasabi root in the middle of preparing a dish. It was a good sign of the food that followed.
The service was exceptional. After we sat down, a staff came by and went through the menu with us. Our servers were very aware of the pace we were eating (especially with my instagramming antics slowing us down) and spaced out the courses nicely. Most of the courses were brought out on the same serving plate for both of us so the photos show food in multiples of two. Our eating dishes were swapped out for clean dishes every 2-3 courses even if they only had minor spots.
1. Rhubarb and Lemongrass Martini (HKD$118)
2. Hot Sake (HKD$400)
3. Old-Fashioned (HKD$140)
4. Earl Grey Pisco Sour (HKD$108)
Maguro no taru taru: tuna tartare, miso, myoga and sweet potato crisps
There was a distinct wasabi taste in the tartare, which held the tartare together nicely. The sweet potato chips tasted great with the tartare. Taro chips would have gone well with it, too. All the ingredients mixed really well together. Morimoto’s tuna tartare was really good, but this was even better. Believe it.
Suzuki no osashimi: sliced seabass, yuzu, truffle oil and salmon roe
The truffle oil made the sea bass taste very rich. There was a noticeable garlic taste in the mixture. Pretty good. Not a fan of the fish-flavored gusher salmon roe on the side though.
Gyu no tataki yuzu-koshu fuumi: seared beef with yuzu koshu-ponzu
Beef tataki, like tuna tataki, is thinly slice beef seared on the outside but still raw on the inside. The beef was paired with a tangy ponzu sauce that had a slight kick to it.
Tokusen nigiri sushi, sashimi moriwase: nigiri sushi and select sashimi
I am always skeptical about receiving an unknown selection of fish. Let’s face it, most places give a few good fish and then the rest noob fish as filler. But oh no, not this one. I was very pleased with the sashimi selection, which included hamachi (yellowtail), baby hamachi, ebi (shrimp), and tuna. These were all good fish that I would have chosen myself if I had gone a la carte . All the pieces were super fresh and the shrimp was so creamy. Pure quality. I strongly recommend pairing this with sake.
The nigiri included two white fish pieces and two tuna pieces. The white fish itself was fine but there was a little bit of ginger in the garnish, which we both could taste and didn’t like (two ginger haters over here). The tuna was slightly seared on the outside in a tuna tataki fashion.
There was also a hamachi roll and a spicy tuna roll, which were both good, with the hamachi roll tasting slightly better than the tuna roll.
Hotate to ringo-wasabi no robatayaki: grilled scallops, grated apple and wasabi
The scallops were just slightly overcooked but it wasn’t too noticeable. The apple paired nicely with the scallops.
Gindara saikyo-yaki: black cod wrapped in hoba leaf
The flavor of this cod tasted similar to barbecued eel. While I usually don’t like fish skin, this skin tasted really good.
Gyuhire sumibiyaki karami zuke: Australian spicy beef tenderloin, sesame and sweet soy
There was an option to upgrade to Japanese wagyu beef (additional HKD$240) and I considered it for a second but my friend convinced me to allocate the money to another drink. I regret nothing because the Australian beef in the normal course was damn good. I got mine medium rare and my friend got his medium. The meat was juicy, loose, and tender. Just wow. This meat could not have been cooked any better.
Aka dashi: red miso soup
Good for a few sips but too full at this point to chug this.
Daikoku dessert platter
This whole thing was meant to be shared between two people, which included green tea banana cake, vanilla ice cream, sweet chawanmushi, green tea ice cream, and chocolate crackpot molten cake.
Green tea banana bread cake
Banana bread on top of a layer of green tea cake at the bottom. My friend and I both really liked this.
Vanilla ice cream with sesame wafer cookie and lychee
This was the portion of the dessert that I said was the only thing I didn’t like about this meal. In fact, my friend and I both really hated this. The chawanmushi (steamed egg custard) was super runny and not good. On top of that, there was grapefruit, which is a fruit that really doesn’t mix well with egg. Please take this off your dessert menu thx.
Green tea ice cream with sesame wafer cookie and lychee
Chocolate molten cake
Warm, gooey chocolate came gushing out of this crackpot jajaja. The chocolate flavor was really good.