Finding the balance between scrumptious izakaya bites and drinking dens makes a winning feat—to be in a venue where chattering and beers come together. Inspired by the well-loved nightlife of downtown Japanese cities, AMAZAKE pays tribute to the concept with its range of cocktails, delicious food and drinking games. Cha Siu Papers Times stopped by the Lan Kwai Fong getaway to try a selection of the best bites, paired with cocktails.
Party district by night
Hidden away beneath the familiar clubs—PLAY and Levels, for example—Amazake is typically a post-night-out respite which steers from the dancing crowd and instead focuses on the fun in drinking games, which include beer pong and stack cup, yet offers more than its late-night ambience. Open for lunch and dinner, the restaurant is a traditional Japanese robatayaki and sushi joint, popular amongst office crowds and dinner dates. Interiors are chic, reminiscent of an old-school Japanese diner, with walls boasting sumo illustrations by design firm J Candice Interior Architects.
Diverting away from traditional menu offerings, we tried the recommended ‘Tacos’ (HK$120/three pieces), a trio comprising a salmon and avocado, scallop uni and fatty tuna scallion. The Mexican-influenced dish was surprisingly delicious, complementing both cultural flavours into one exotic curation.
Next, we had one of the restaurant’s signature sashimis—the Hamachi (HK$120). Thinly sliced and rolled in an elegant presentation, the amberjack sat on a bed of delicate yuzu miso sauce to enrich the overall taste of the subtle fish. This was an outstanding favourite from the menu, the hamachi being so soft and tender, while the drizzle of yuzu sauce gave a hint of acidity.
No izakaya trip is complete without ordering and devouring sushi. We tried the Amazake House Roll (HK$140), a row of six rice concoctions, stuffed with crab meat and cucumber slices, topped with sea urchin, chopped fatty tuna and salmon roe, a classic recipe updated with its chosen toppings.
For a little snacking, we tried the Chef’s Special Robatayaki Platter (HK$128), a dish comprising five types of meats, including chicken wing and ox tongue. Some of the meats were a little chewy, but each was well-seasoned and gave a lovely barbecue taste at every bite.
The fried rice at Amazake is updated with a gourmet touch. Served with Wagyu beef, foie gras and onsen tamago, the fried rice (HK$138) was a feasty serving fit for a full table. As there were only two of us, we couldn’t finish the dish unfortunately but it’s definitely worth an order on a group trip. The Wagyu beef was tender, however, some of the flavours were lost in the dish due to the overwhelming taste of foie gras at every bite. We would recommend having a few mouthfuls of this to enjoy the flavours, but after a few chews, the combination of foie gras and Wagyu beef does become a bit empowering.
Finally, we tried the Minced Chicken Stuffed with Lotus Root (HK$68). Ending on a wonderful note, this dish was a unique concoction, using a crispy fried batter to coat the soft, tender chicken mixed with lotus root for a flavour I’ve never tried before.
There are a variety of signature cocktails, beers and sakes to choose from on a humble evening out. We opted for the cocktails (due to their pretty presentations) and we tried the Amazake (pictured) and the Shisojito. They were both fruity and fresh, but a bit too sweet for me. On a typical izakaya occasion, I would prefer to go for classic sake to complement the dishes.
Amazake boasts a buzzing atmosphere, welcoming guests at most times of the day (or more likely, night). Although the restaurant is nestled between clubs, it celebrates a pre- or post-night out vibe, while also being a chic lunch or dinner spot. Drinkers can stop by to play a round of beer pong during the late nights or indulge in the scrumptious izakaya dishes which are as tasty as they look. Take a trip to Tokyo at this hidden drinking and eating den.
Amazake, G/F, On Hing Building, 1 On Hing Terrace, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2537 7787, amazake.hk