Updated: Sep 20, 2019
Word on the TOWN is that there's a restaurant tucked away in the bustling heart of Causeway Bay that serves up an innovative blend of cuisines based on prime ingredients sourced from Japan. Headed by chef Bryan Nagao, previously of Felix at The Peninsula Hong Kong and Kokage in Wan Chai, Town is the exciting venture by the Hawaii-born chef that reflects the myriad culinary influences throughout his career, from Asia and the United States to Europe.
Town has been around for some time, but I never tried it till now. Kicking myself, because my experience there the other night just blew me away. What impressed me most was the way Chef Bryan managed to create his own, unique style of cuisine by infusing Pan-Pacific flavours into modern European dishes laced with Spanish, Italian and Japanese influences. You'd think that all would be too overwhelming, but the result was quite the contrary -- balanced, understated and tasteful in both aesthetic and concept. A definite must-try for those who want to see typical Hawaiian foods like spam reinterpreted in a totally refined way, e.g in a homemade agnolotti with juicy carabineros and grilled pineapple. Other highlights of the night were the uni tagliolini with lardo, and suckling pig cooked in the traditional Hawaiian Kalua style!
We had the tasting menu, priced at HK$600 per person for 4 courses, HK$700 for 5 courses, and a few other dishes on top of what was offered on this menu. For an additional HK$278, you can also enjoy a 4-glass wine pairing, which I definitely recommend after experiencing Town's fine selection of wines. All subject to 10% service charge.
Look at those colours! This was the beautiful Sicilian Red Prawn Carpaccio with black truffle caviar, yuzu, celery, crunchy croutons, and sweet yamamomo.
Hamachi, trout eggs, melon, cucumber, coastal greens. It tastes how it looks - bright and colourful.
One of the appetisers on the tasting menu was this Wagyu Tartare with high quality Japanese sea urchin (definitely noticeable for its lack of fishy aftertaste and smooth, melting texture), crispy taro, truffle soil and green goddess sauce made with avocado.
The refreshing Beetroot "Cooked for Days" with creamy burrata, karasumi (bottarg), endive and rhubarb.
Raved over this dish. Chawanmushi is a traditional Japanese appetiser made with steamed egg to produce a soft, irresistibly velvety custard texture. This is Chef Bryan's levelled-up chawanmushi with pieces of Boston lobster ceviche, uni, and shaved white mushrooms.
Tempura Shrimps! Loved the crunchy texture of the shrimps with their flavourful coating of spicy aioli and candied walnuts.
Wagyu Ox-Tail with tofu espuma and shaved duck foie gras. Such an interesting combo of flavours and textures.
This was divine. The Bone Marrow Oil with short rib marmalade is served with black truffle shavings and a delicious warm Hawaiian sweetbread to dip.
Here it is - the Spam Agnolotti with red carabinero and grilled pineapple. An experiment by Chef Bryan Nagao that paid off well. I love spam on its own, and never dreamt I would have it in pasta. The savoury was balanced by the smoky sweetness of the grilled pineapple.
One of the meat options on the tasting menu is this Suckling Pig cooked kalua style. The entire suckling pig is marinated whole and steamed overnight with sake, orange juice, toasted juniper berries, and more. The meat is juicy and flavourful, the skin crisp, and is served with bracken kagiwarabi and kohlrabi puree.
The black squid ink "Udon" actually had the delicious, bouncy texture of homemade udon. It worked really well with the smoked eel and karasumi (bottarga, or salted cured fish roe).
The super uni pasta -- my new favourite version of it in Hong Kong! The Iberico ham strips were a nice touch, as was the layer of lardo (cured fat from the back of a pig). It added a new dimension of flavour to the pasta, and worked perfectly with the homemade al dente tagliolini and pile of fresh Japanese uni on top.
The Yuzu Souffle at Town is by far my favourite dessert in the city. I'm not a huge dessert person, but this impossibly light, fluffy baked dish gave me LIFE.
A lovely theatrical masterpiece to wrap up our meal - the melting chocolate dome (note: not part of the tasting menu). Mexican Hot Chocolate Milk was poured over the once solid chocolate exterior, which gave way to a refreshing passion fruit sorbet with passion fruit seeds underneath.
Restaurant Details - Town by Bryan Nagao
Tel - 2568 8708
Address - Cubus, 10/F, Hoi Ping Rd, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
Opening Hours - Lunch: 1230pm-2pm, Dinner: 6:30pm-10:30pm
Instagram - @townhk