Ronin | Restaurant | Japanese-inspired | Hong Kong Restaurants, Wine, Travel, Opinions

Ronin Heart
Restaurants and bars
Hong Kong
Open: Dinner Mon - Sat
Price: Moderate

Reviewed By

Sue Dyson and Roger McShane
Phone Number: 2547 5263
Address: 8 On Wo Lane
Sheung Wan
Country: Hong Kong

Ronin is a Japanese-inspired restaurant in Hong Kong that serves excellent food, very good sake and a staggering array of Japanese whisky.
You approach the restaurant down a steep lane below Gough Street but you won't find a sign announcing that you have arrived. Instead you will see an unmarked door that you slide to the right to open.
You will be greeted warmly and the staff will quickly seat you at the bar on the left side if you have booked and on the right side if you have optimistically turned up without a reservation.
Drinks will be quickly arranged although the list of cocktails is tempting and these may take a little longer.
We were very impressed by the sake offerings even though we were unfamiliar with the producers. However the staff provided helpful suggestions when we indicated our preference is for unpasteurised, unfined and unfiltered sake. They were able to match sake that met our requirements to the dishes we ordered.
The dishes that we chose were:
The first bracket consisted of three different fish served as sashimi. We chose mackerel (smoked mackerel) because we love the intense, strong flavour of this fish. Memorable examples of this fish in various forms include a stunning tartare of mackerel at Le Bernadin in New York where it was surrounded by a lovely egg and caper vinaigrette and a totally different approach at L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon in Paris where it was served as the hero of a tart where it was paired with Parmesan. We also chose black cod as we thought it would provide a contrast to the mackerel. And then there was geoduck. This amazing clam has been central in meals that we have eaten on the islands off Hong Kong such as Cheung Chau Island and Lamma Island. We have also enjoyed it in various guises at Nashino, a Japanese restaurant in the Seattle suburbs. We still fondly remember a dish of braised geoduck with mushrooms! Here is was simply presented with Kizami Wasabi which was wasabi leaves that had been marinated in soy sauce.
We need to explain why we ordered the next few dishes because it might seem that our meal got out of balance. Our meal was in January which is when sea urchin roe (uni in Japan) is at its best. Coming from Tasmania where sea urchin abounds we never tire of this delicacy. We therefore ordered three dishes where this delicate yet intense roe was featured.
And that is why a dish of flower crab topped with uni came next. The rich crab meat was served in the shell and then generous tongues of intense, sweet uni were layered over the crab. A rich, intense dish that was a delight.
This was immediately followed by Uni Panko where the uni was placed on a mound of panko (Japanese breadcrumbs that had been flavoured with seaweed). In turn, the uni had been topped with yuzu rind and juice and we were urged to mix them all together so that the flavours integrated. It became a delightful melding of texture, creaminess and intense flavour.
These two dishes were followed by yet another which saw uni topping a green package of cuttlefish tempura which was a visual as well as taste sensation.
Next came the dish that sounded the simplest. It was a single sardine (iwashi ) flattened on the plate and served with a sauce made from ume dashi and mitsuba. The flavour of the fish was extraordinary and the sauce was so good we had to ask for spoons to scrape up the last morsels.
The next dish was shrimp and scallop in a wasabi leaf tempura. A mix of minced shrimp and scallop had been wrapped in wasabi leaf and then dipped in tempura batter and deep fried. This dish had visual appeal and contrasting textures to enhance our enjoyment of the dish.
We have already mentioned the advantage that travelling to this part of the world in January gives in relation to super-fresh uni. However, there is another dish that becomes popular at this time as well. On many Japanese menus you will find dishes based on shirako, the sperm sack of cod and similar fish. In this case we ordered smoked shirako, enhanced with yuba and a garlic and miso gratin which provided an appealing crunch contrasting with the softness of the shirako.
We finished with a dish that could almost be put in the comfort dish category. Small nuggets of Unagi (eel) were served on a dish of deeply-flavoured rice. This was a great finish to a meal that certainly will be one that we remember for a long time.
Some of the dishes we were served are shown below.

Three expressions of sashimi at Ronin

The Geoduck is on the small plate, then clockwise is the mackerel and then the sea bass

Crab and uni served in a crab shell

Uni served on cuttlefish tempura

The stunning sardine dish!

Lovely, flavoursome rice topped with unagi

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