Japanese inspired food in Central
If you’ve been in Hong Kong a while you will know all about KEE Club – one of Hong Kong’s trendiest private members clubs. Located in the heart of Central near Lan Kwai Fong, KEE Club is decked out with the finest art works, serves up the tastiest food, delicious cocktails, and hosts fabulous nights of fun with world-renowned DJs and performers. Known for being the place to see and be seen, KEE Club has a reputation for sophistication and style – read more about it here. So when we heard that they’d opened up a brand new concept just up the road on Wyndham Street, we were intrigued to see what they’d come up with.
Koko is situated opposite the old Police Station (which is set to open as an awesome new art space next year) with a view over Wyndham Street from the spacious terrace. This is an impressive al fresco space that is hard to find in such a convenient location, and is much more laid back than I was expecting. Think comfortable two seaters, potted plants, dim lighting and a chilled out vibe – perfect for unwinding after work with a cocktail or two before you hit the town.
Koko is inspired by Japanese cuisine and culture, and KEE Club have partnered with famous footballer and sake ambassador, Hidetoshi Nakata to create a ‘social dining’ izakaya concept. Of course, sake is the highlight here, and Koko offers a range of different sakes to suit different palates and dishes, with rare and vintage options available too. I enjoyed trying the sake with each course and the nuttier flavours definitely appealed to my tastebuds! Apart from the sakes themselves, the cocktails are pretty delicious too and are almost too easy to drink. They seem to taste even better when you’re sat outside on the terrace too…
The food at Koko is designed to complement the drinks (mainly the many different sakes), so before we had the main meal we were treated to some small dishes on the terrace. This was exactly the kind of food I would want with a great cocktail – easy to eat, tasty and simple but sophisticated.
Edamame is the perfect healthy snack, and I was surprised by how delicious the sweet, spicy sauce was that accompanied the edamame ($48). The chilli, garlic and shiso gave a kick to the usually bland beans, ideal for whetting our appetites.
I most enjoyed the Tuna Tartare bites with quails egg ($88) – crunch of the crisp with the contrasting texture of the meaty tuna and soft boiled egg was delicious, and I would definitely order these again to go with my cocktail.
Another great small bite was the Tsukune ($118). These chicken meatballs were succulent and made even more rich and decadent when dipped into the soft egg and nori, making me more excited for the main meal ahead.
After moving inside to one of the intimate dining ‘booths’, we were then treated to a serving of Hokkaido Scallops with citrus tomato and seaweed ($138). Light and refreshing, this went perfectly with the first sake we tried, ‘Hatsukame’, which almost had an almost fruity flavour.
Continuing with seafood, we tried the Spicy Seafood Soup ($128) – just what I was craving on a cold day. The warm, flavourful dashi broth felt nourishing yet refined, and the chunky bites of seafood gave the soup a deeper flavour. I would definitely recommend this dish is you’re looking for something slightly unusual that’s still comforting. Along with the soup we were presented with a pretty plate of Clams in Sake ($168), which had such a clean, straight-from-the-sea taste. Soaked in sake, this dish was obviously a winner paired with the drink itself!
On to the meaty mains. We were lucky to try three (huge!) meat dishes: the Australian Black Angus Ribeye Steak with pea shoots and spicy sauce ($230), the Lamb Chops with black garlic and Hatcho Miso ($228) and the Baby Back Pork Ribs ($188). The lamb chops and steak were perfectly cooked, but the standout was the melt in your mouth ribs which were literally falling off the bone… pure sticky, meaty goodness that you could eat forever!
The King Crab and Uni Hot Pot ($298) was not something I expected to like, considering I’m not a massive uni fan (shameful, I know). However, the slightly strange creamy combination of rice, crab and uni was oh-so satisfying, true comfort food that’s perfect for winter with the subtle umami flavour. The best bit? All the crispy edges…
You know Sassy Girls love dessert, and even though I was suitably stuffed by this point from the generous sharing portions, I couldn’t resist a bite of each dessert. The Green Tea and Banana Baked Cream with Coconut Foam ($78) was creative, but lacked an intensity of flavour, unlike the unusual Almond and Yogurt Cake with Mango and Caramel Miso ice-cream ($88). That being said, the highlight of the desserts was definitely the Dark Chocolate Green Tea Fondant ($98), which was sinfully delicious and oozed a surprisingly bright green molten centre that was silky smooth.
If you’re looking for a convenient, chilled out spot with outdoor space, Koko is a must-try. I would recommend heading there for cocktails on the terrace after work along with a few light nibbles, before you tuck into a hearty dinner with sake. It’s the perfect pre-night out location, exuding the same sophisticated vibe as KEE Club but with a more laid-back atmosphere. Smack bang in the middle of Central with a view of the old police station, it’s also a great casual option if you’ve got visitors in town or even for a date… Koko won’t disappoint on drinks and easy, delicious food.