While I love long, lazy Sunday brunches, it can get a bit repetitive in Hong Kong jumping from one Western joint to the next (after all, one can have only so much Eggs Benedict!). That’s why I was excited to learn about Taku’s new Sensei-tional Weekend Brunch, featuring unlimited amounts of the Soho restaurant’s signature dishes from tempura to sashimi to maki rolls, as well as free-flow beer and sake sangria. At just $308 per person, it’s an affordable option that offers a change in pace (and tastes) and it won’t break the bank! I popped on down with a friend last weekend to see if this trendy restaurant in Soho could become the first Japanese joint on my go-to brunch list.
Of course, we had to start off our meal with tall glasses of the sake sangria; made with red wine and infused with fresh fruit flavour, this drink can be addictive! Be careful to pace yourself as you can easily gulp down four or five of these before the meal is over, and yes, you will be feeling it. The sangria is a perfect alternative to sipping on sake, which is a little too potent for a morning-after meal!
We began with a delicate assortment of Japanese small dishes, including the token edamame, juicy tomatoes with a lovely sesame dressing and chilled tofu with bonito flakes and green onion. One of my favourite aspects of Japanese cuisine is its light and healthy quality, which means at a buffet brunch you can feel less guilty ordering more portions of tofu and edamame!
Sashimi on the brunch menu includes salmon, tuna, yellowtail, octopus and surf clams. I was definitely impressed by the high quality of the fish for an all-you-can-eat deal. We especially loved the surf clams with its mild ocean aroma and chewy white flesh. Everything else on the platter was up to par, and again we had no hesitation ordering multiple orders of salmon and surf clams!
Taku has a great selection of maki rolls, and the ones on the brunch menu cover a satisfying range of options. We sampled a bit of everything: Taku sashimi, soft shell crab, negitoro prawn tempura and sweet egg (there’s also a cucumber one if you’re a fan!). Our favourite of the bunch was the soft shell crab with its perfectly crispy fried batter rolled up in the sweet rice and fish roe. As I can easily spend $100 ordering this roll alone at a typical Japanese restaurant, I couldn’t help thinking what a great deal this brunch is, if just for unlimited portions of soft shell crab!
We then topped the prawn tempura roll and soft shell crab off with another helping of tempura. Taku definitely does this right, with a crisp light batter covering chunks of pumpkin, sweet potatoes and prawns. Their tempura section also includes a Kyoto fried chicken; unfortunately, we couldn’t stomach any more fried foods, but it’s definitely on the list for next time.
Next up were the grilled skewers, which included chicken wings, beef rib eye, button mushrooms and shishito peppers. The chicken wings were delectable with a slightly sweet crisp coating, while the rib eye was juicy and meaty. The blistered shishito peppers had just a hint of heat, but for the most part were pleasantly sweet and mild.
The final course of the brunch is your choice of soba noodles or udon (or both). The soba noodles came in a mild broth with cabbage, seaweed and kamaboko (or Japanese fish cake). I might have preferred the udon noodles with the broth and the soba noodles in a cold preparation instead, however, it was a light and pleasant end to the meal.
Dessert options include a fruit platter, green tea and sesame ice cream and yuzu sorbet. While I normally opt for green tea ice cream, the yuzu sorbet was surprisingly refreshing, with a bright, tart citrusy flavour. I’m not ashamed to admit I ordered multiple servings of this (the scoops are quite small, to be fair!).
All in all, I would definitely recommend Taku’s Sensei-tional brunch for those looking for an affordable all-you-can-eat-and-drink option in the heart of Soho. The space is on the small side so while it’s not suitable if you’re rolling with a group of twenty, if you’re dining with a few close friends, you can easy wile away the afternoon here on unlimited sushi, sashimi and sangria!
Taku, 35 Elgin Street, Soho, Central, 2545 9966, www.taku.com.hk