Kicho, a new 'tori kappo' 16-course omakase
Stepping into Kicho felt like I was going out for dinner while on vacation in Japan. Though mere steps from one of the busiest streets in Central, the atmosphere was transporting. The cozy 800 square foot space is anchored by a counter carved from imported Japanese wood. And on the evening we visited, our host and the two couples sitting closest to us were all Japanese — merily chatting back and forth with Executive Chef Chikashi Yoshida and his team. With its attention to detail and respectful service, the restaurant is an excellent example of Japanese hospitality.
Kicho first launched in Tokyo’s Ebisu and Ginza districts, and is the only restaurant in Hong Kong to serve the famed Kuro Satsuma chicken from Kagoshima. We’re told Chef Yoshida handpicked this breed for its umami taste, high fat content, and fine muscle fibre. This means it’s not only delicious off the restaurant’s bintochan charcoal grill but able to be served as sashimi.
On offer is a 16-course ‘comb to claw’ omakase-style menu ($1,000) — we couldn’t wait to try it. Here is a look at the dishes.
Minced chicken ball in chicken stock soup
Charcoal seared breast meat Tataki sprinkled with Karasumi (dried mullet roe) and Tosa vinegar
Liver patty Monaka
Yakitoria-Sasami (breast) topped with salmon roe
Slow cooked Tosaka (comb) in crab meat sauce
Eggplant Dengaku with a special chicken miso
Yuzu palate cleanser
Yakitori-Tsukune served with egg yolk
Seasonal vegetables with parmigiano reggiano cheese
Kicho’s special chicken soup ramen
Alternatively, guests can top-up $100 to have a Truffle Soboro Don (with minced chicken and truffle shavings)
Ice cream of the day (wasabi on our day!) and homemade pudding
This meal at Kicho was easily the best meal I’ve experienced this year. It’s inventive, precise, uses the highest-quality ingredients, and is served by a stellar team who understand hospitality. I almost never eat organs but actually enjoyed what was served at Kicho — in fact, I had seconds of the heart and liver! They tasted incredibly fresh and clean.
Every dish was good, though my friend and I had a fun time playing ‘My favourite dish from last night was…’ over WhatsApp the next morning, and each listed over half the menu. So everything is very good, most things are absolutely delicious. And as for the mains, I think it really depends on your mood — whether you want simplicity or richness after fourteen courses. The ramen comes with a chicken broth that is otherworldly while the minced-chicken truffle is a flavour bomb.
While pricey, the value-for-money is high. One note is that there are two seatings for dinner each night — starting at 6pm or 8:30pm. Given our current 10pm restrictions, the meal — especially the later seating — might feel a bit rushed. That said, if you want to try Kicho, get your booking in asap! I checked reservations and they are booked out for all the dates I tried. In addition to the counter seats, there is a VIP room which seats up to 6 people ($8,000 minimum spend) which is not crazy by Hong Kong standards and may be an option worth pursuing.
For those interested in sake and wine, we’re told pairings will soon be offered. The restaurant has secured sake labels that are exclusive to Hong Kong, such as Yama no Kotobuki Munakata, born of a pesticide-free production project that respects the local environment in Fukuoka Prefecture, and Kidoizumi AFS from Chiba, which reflects the traditional style of earthy, one-stage-fermentation sakes.
And for wagyu lovers, Kicho has a wagyu-focused sister restaurant — located right beside Kicho — called Ushidoki that will be opening shortly. Given how this meal at Kicho went, I think we’re in for a treat when it opens. Hope I’ll be able to get a table :)
Shop 2A, 1/F, Manning House, 38-48 Queen’s Road Central, Hong Kong, 2633 8933
*By invitation for Foodie