Nipo-Brasileiro cuisine on Lee Tung Avenue
Fancy trying something different for your next date night? Head to the shiny new Lee Tung Avenue in Wan Chai and check out DJAPA, the latest restaurant on the block. Spread across two floors, DJAPA serves ‘nipo-brasileiro‘ cuisine (that’s Japanese Brazilian). Not sure what that entails? Neither was I, and I was intrigued to find out…
You’ll find a semi-al fresco bar area on the ground floor, which immediately sets the tone with colourful Brazil-inspired decor. Think exposed concrete, colourful chairs, graffiti on the walls, purposefully broken mirrors and mosaics. The look of the downstairs area is casual and fun, with so many little details adding to the ‘distressed’ look of the place, which is cool if a little contrived.
The bar serves an array of creative cocktails, but houses a stellar selection of Japanese whiskey. This includes rare bottles from a recent Bonham’s auction – this is definitely somewhere for whiskey lovers to check out. Sticking to a mocktail (it was a Monday night after all!), the bartender created a refreshing sparkling berry concoction that was perfect in the heat.
Upstairs, the elaborate decoration continues but is slightly more refined, with large French windows and a warm and inviting enrionment that doesn’t feel stuffy. What blew me away most of all was the quality of artwork on display both downstairs and upstairs at DJAPA… Upstairs features a giant pumpkin by the amazing Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama that’s truly magnificent – I would recommend getting a table next to this as it would be easy to gaze at it all night. Apart from the Kusama, the whole restaurant is decked out with art from world-famous Japanese artists like Takashi Murakami and Yoshitomo Nara, as well as wall art from Brazilian street artists. Art-lovers will certainly enjoy spotting all the different works around the restaurant as they tuck into the unique fare!
So, what is Japanese Brazilian food actually like? Think small dishes using top-quality ingredients with exciting flavours from both cuisines. We began with a small bowl of a ceviche-style fish ($98), that was fresh and light. The citrus flavour from the yuzu grapes gave the dish an unusual flavour that was perfect for whetting our appetites.
Next up was the beautifully presented speciality dish Bobó de Camarão ($128), a prawn curry served in whole pumpkin! The juicy prawns popping out of the top had even more of a sweetness when combined with the pumpkin, which had an almost fruity flavour. This was one of the most unique tasting dishes of the night, and combined with the coconut rice was an unique but delicious pairing.
I would also recommend ordering some of the beef skewers/robata (from $48 per skewer) – you can choose from a variety of different cuts and grades – which literally melted in the mouth and were full of flavour. A must-order!
The grilled king prawns ($98 per prawn) were also spectacular – they were enormous and the meat was so tender and sweet.
As an art-lover myself, I really enjoyed the fantastic decor and surroundings at DJAPA. The artwork on display is worthing checking out on its own, but if you’re after good food and a relaxed vibe then definitely grab few drinks and dishes too! The food is easy to share, tasty and a bit different from the usual Wan Chai fare on offer, and I will definitely be back for a fun date night or with a few friends.
DJAPA, Shops G18-20 & F18A, Lee Tung Avenue, 200 Queen’s Road East, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, 2617 2900, www.facebook.com/hkdjapa