Ronin Hong Kong

It took me a while to get around to Ronin. It’s the new hot spot. The same team behind the hipster-mecca Yardbird, opened this culinary hidden gem in the streets of Sheung Wan. Perhaps I was blinded by the wonderfulness that of its’ bigger sister, Yardbird, which I have been to many times, but failed to blog (still pending). But through a recommendation of a colleague from work, I made a reservation at Ronin. Owned by rockstar couple Matt Abergel and Lindsay Jang, I heard it was overpriced sashimi, or more a sake bar space than a proper restaurant, worst of all, I heard that it was no Yardbird. Valid points, yes, but let’s try out this “modern”/izakaya-style restaurant, shall we?

Finding the restaurant was a bit difficult. Coming out the Sheung Wan train station, is about a 5 minute walk to a main street. “My google maps says it’s right behind this building”, I said. How is that possible, since the street behind the building is another main road. “It needs to be in an alleyway”, I said….Moving left and right with my googlemaps in hand, we found a very small alleyway leaded up with stairs. It was a bit creepy but we headed up the staircase to find ourselves in a large square.

I saw from other food blogs that the main door was blue, so I began scouting for a blue door. Finally, it was in front of me. We slid open the non-descript door to this uber-trendy resto. It was dark, lounge music was playing and it was packed.

Screen Shot 2014-01-03 at 4.07.57 pm

No signage. Just a blue door, as I imagined to to be.

We were escorted to our seats, by Elliot, the beverage manager, A native-Canadian who settled down here not long ago. The restaurant is long. Walking by jars of pickles on the top shelves and alcohol and sake, Ronin’s hipster/urban/ minimalistic design and the 14 seat bar with a back wall for standing room only) make it more of a hole-in-the-wall, a place to unwind with a drink.

ronin-hk-bar

But Ronin, actually serves up great food. Daily catch and market-based menu runs the restaurant. Sure there are regular dishes, but we were told the menu changes daily accordingly to what is found in the market. It’s a playground for Abergel to further his Japanese cooking techniques and using the city’s freshest seafood.

IMG_6487

The menu is divided into 3 sections: Raw, Smaller and Bigger, obviously starting with raw, continuing with smaller nibbles and finishing the meal with a “bigger” dish. We opted for a variety of things.

Image

Before the meal began, a little amuse-bouche. Grilled and smoke grapes

Image

Beginning with Raw…

A sample of three-piece sashimi platter :

Image

Saba Mackerel Sashimi, Persimmon, Smoke / Tai Sea Bream Sashimi, Karasumi, Yuzu / Akagai Blood Clam Sashimi, Nama Nori, Ponzu

Image

Image

Image

All lovely cuts of fish and clam, fresh and to the point. Very distinct flavours. My favourite was the Mackerel and Persimmon with the sweetness pulling through to the smokiness of the fish.

Moving on to Smaller…

Flower Crab, Uni, Mitsuba 

Image

A beautiful dish. Simple and again to the point. The crab was sweet and perfectly cooked and moist, paired very well with the fatty and creamy uni.

Fish head, Shichimi, Lime

Image

A good piece of grilled and smokey fish. The lime too, was grilled. Nice addition. Would have preferred Hamachi head but good effort.

White-Ale battered Kisu, Kimchi Mayo

Image

Light and fluffy batter surrounded the fish. It was not oily, but rather moist and the Mayo was a good addition.

Image

We got a shot of the beer as well to pair with the fried fish.

Triggerfish, Honey, Kyoto Shichimi, Chestnuts

Image

The honey glazed fried tiger fish with slices of crunchy chestnut was great. The fish was sweet, tender and moist. I couldn’t stop eating the chestnut chips.

Kagoshima Beef, Maitake, Egg Yolk

Image

I am a sucker for raw beef and egg yolk so naturally I had to order this dish. The beef was marbled, tender, could have been a bit hotter but melted in your mouth. The egg yolk was gooey and creamy. A little crunchiness from the fried garlic. A must-order!

No desserts are offered at Ronin, and for the better – just more drinks -. The restaurant stayed continuously packed throughout the meal, even at 11pm. It is casual but lively and loud.

Only one fallback, the service did not match the smoothness and efficient of the food. Nevertheless, Matt Abergel has undeniable talent and skill within the kitchen, a boisterous creativity that is able to make Ronin a hidden gem. The staff is friendly and knowledgeable that is only making the culinary experience better. It’s a restaurant away from the bustling city of Hong Kong, an experience to find the restaurant and a definite experience to eat there. Prices are not cheap, especially the wine but quality is high. They also have a good selection of Yardbird-labelled sake to artisanal spirits, or even something from Ronin’s whisky collection is interesting enough to try.

If your wallet is tight then it is recommended to come back for drinks and some good nibbles before a night out!

A big fan of Ronin.

Sure, Ronin’s no Yardbird, but who says it’s trying to be?

Restaurant Ronin

Telephone: 2547 5263

Address: 8 On Wo Lane, Sheung Wan

Website: http://www.roninhk.com

Closed: Sundays

Advertisements
Comments
One Response to “Ronin Hong Kong”
  1. Danny Gross says:

    Very nice On Jan 4, 2014 12:16 PM, “One Spoonful At A Time” wrote:

    > One Spoonful at a Time posted: “It took me a while to get around > to Ronin. It’s the new hot spot. The same team behind the hipster-mecca > Yardbird, opened this culinary hidden gem in the streets of Sheung > Wan. Perhaps I was blinded by the wonderfulness that of its’ bigger sister, > Yardbir”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: