Opening its doors on Tuesday 15 May, Fukuro pays homage to traditional izakaya restaurants with killer hospitality, food and drinks
District: Soho, Hong Kong
Cuisine: Japanese Izakaya
How much: Highballs & Cocktails start at $98, Dishes range from $48 to $598
Must Order: Kurafuto Highball, The Oysters, Hamachi Collar
The Best For: Late Night Date Night
Sassy Tip: The excellent staff may pair your choice of sake with their ideal bowl, but ask nicely and you can have a pick of your own personal sake bowl!
“Fukuro!” choruses energetically through the wooden walls of this pared-back underground establishment as each guest walks in. And that’s exactly how everyone is treated here – like the most esteemed of guests. From the traditional overflow pour of sake, to the articulate and knowledgable staff, the superb hospitality shines just as bright as the fab food at Fukuro.
In traditional izakaya fashion, the dishes are small but plentiful and are paired with a striking drinks list that can hold its own, while still allowing the food to stand out. Hitting the highballs first, we started with the recommend Kurafuto ($98), a mezcal and grapefruit dream for those with an inclination towards the smokey, without being overpowering. The Natukashi ($98) is dangerously easy to drink, aptly named after “nostalgia” it sends me back to days of sipping grape sodas as a child in Tokyo (see, danger!). After a highball (or three), you’ll be just as intoxicated by the energy around you and find yourself shouting “Fukuro!” in unison.
As plates and plates of stunning izakya dishes decorated our table, it was difficult to know where to begin. But soon enough, an obvious choice was made as my eyes and stomach were drawn to – I kid you not – the largest mammoth-sized oysters I have ever seen. The Oysters ($78), fresh from Hyogo, flavoured with a Yuzu ponzu and garnished with red onion are just as big in flavour as they are in size. And although a little difficult to manoeuvre into your mouth, are a must-order. Other highlights from this portion of the evening included the fresh sashimi Platter of Market Fish ($298/598), with each raw fish cured in a unique way. If you’re feeling a little snacky, The Cripsy Caramel Buttercorn ($68) is just as delightful as it sounds and the traditional Spinach Ohitashi ($58) with sweet white sesame puree is the perfect way to sneak in your greens.
Moving on to the Robata portion of the menu, we were treated to the best of Japanese grilled goodies. The A4 Wagyu Sukiyaki ($258) is a smokier twist on the winter dish and is topped off with a cured egg yolk for you to mix into your own A-grade beef concoction. Always a sucker for a yolk, I could not recommend this more. And although nearly impossible to choose from, my personal winner of the evening goes to The Hamachi Collar ($158)! A dream dish for two, this fish is perfectly delicate, made tender and tangy by the Fuji apple ponzu, a sweeter take on traditional Japanese barbecue in the best possible way.
Don’t fret, your regular dessert dilemma is solved for you with only one sweet choice on the menu, the Monaka Ice Cream Sandwich ($48 per piece) is a fascinating seaweed ice cream topped with a raspberry compote sandwiched between the perfectly crisp monaka wafer, and is a delightfully fun way to end the meal. Pair it your choice of sake (because why not), though we recommend an unfiltered rice sake that has that natural milky quality for that milk-and-cookies feel!
Japanese for the nocturnal owl, “Fukuro” will have you shouting its name long into the night after an evening of quality drinking and dining, with all the other like-minded night-owls in the room.
This cozy space is walk-in only, but can host a booking of a large table of 10 to 12 people with a minimum spend of $8,400.
Fukuro, 1-5 Elgin Street, Central, Hong Kong, www.fukuro.com.hk