Haku’s new plant-based menu brings quality Japanese ingredients and thoughtful fusion combinations together – prioritising presentation and flavour equally.
District: Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon
Cuisine: Modern Japanese Fusion
How much: $800 per person for the fine-dining 6-course vegetarian menu. For $900, the menu can be extended to an 8-course tasting menu.
Must Order: The Shio Tomato with Fermented Black Olive Oil and Sunflower Seeds (available on the tasting menu)
The Best For: A celebration date night, or a group dinner for four to six people
Whether you’re looking to minimise your meat intake or simply wish to enjoy evening of quality Japanese food, the new vegetarian menu at Haku won’t disappoint. This innovative menu merges fine-dining and fusion food, with a quaint, casual and homely feel. The new veg menu was brought to life by Executive Chef, Agustin Balbi, showcasing the freshest seasonal produce flown in daily from all parts of Japan, with a mission to guide your taste buds on a journey through Japan’s nature-rich countryside. These just-arrived ingredients are then prepared in traditional Japanese ways and accentuated with modern fusion twists to bring about a new burst of flavours. Because HAKU works so closely with the vegetable farmers in Japan, who get to decide which ingredient is best suited given the season and stock, it’s to be expected that items on the menu are subject to change. If it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for us!
Recognising that people with vegan diets wouldn’t be able to make the most of everything at Haku, Chef Balbi made it his mission to cater to all varying dietary requirements – without compromising on flavour. Oh, and if you’re avoiding egg, cheese and any other animal products, it’s worth knowing that the vegetarian menu can be amended into a purely vegan option – just let Haku know 24 hours in advance. We got to try the new menu out for ourselves, and here are some of our highlights.
Dinner began with four traditional welcome snacks, followed by the first dish of Shio tomato, fermented black olive oil and sunflower seeds. The tomatoes are grown on drained land, so they’re extra juicy and rich in salt and minerals. Bursting with a distinct combination of fresh flavours, this was actually one of our favourite dishes purely because you could taste just how fresh the simple ingredients were. Next up was the Matsu kinoko with tamanegi, peanuts and dried olives, featuring carefully selected vegetables from all over Japan. The Kappo-style kitchen (also known as the “theatre”), is a concept set up to promote a comfortable, effortless flow of conversation between chefs and guests. But even if you’re not sitting by the sushi bar, you’ll get to chat to the chef, and all the staff are knowledgable about the produce.
Each course is set on the plate in a precise and intricate way, making presentation and flavour equal priorities. Another favourite of ours was the traditional Tomorokoshi, with a fusion twist of manchego, chanterelles and togarashi. Sweetcorn is a well-loved street snack in Japan, commonly grill-fired and enjoyed simply, with nothing but a touch of soy sauce; but at HAKU, Chef Balbi combines sweet tomorokoshi with savoury Spanish manchego cheese to create a perfectly balanced combination. Next up, The Koshihikari rice with Kubota vegetables is a comforting dish that draws on the Japanese household tradition of enjoying rice with okazu (side dishes). Though the rice was on the simpler side, it was a good way to round off a decadent meal.
Save space for dessert – you won’t want to miss the Hakuhou peach with yogurt foam and granita. The Okayama white summer peach, with its creamy texture and richness, leaves a refreshing lingering flavour. The peaches are grown under extremely strict conditions, with temperature-controlled greenhouses and careful shipping procedures, so that each peach arrives at it’s prime. Round of your 6 or 8 course meal with a pick from Haku’s selection of Or Tea? and call it a night.
No matter what you’re looking for, you’ll find the same care and attention to detail in all dishes, whether the ingredients include meat, seafood or plant-based products. While the vegetarian tasting menu is available exclusively for dinner, the menu can also be arranged for lunch.
Haku, Shop OT G04B, Ground Floor, Ocean Terminal, Habour City, Tsim Sha Tsui, 21159965, www.haku.com.hk
All images courtesy of Haku